Kraut Creek Ramblers
Part of the APPlause! K-12 Performing Arts Series
The Kraut Creek Ramblers is the premier old-time string band of the Center for Appalachian Studies at Appalachian State University. With members hailing from Southwest Virginia and Western North Carolina, the Kraut Creek Ramblers play a range of traditional mountain music, from hard-driving fiddle tunes to two-step country classics from the Carter Family. Named after the waterway that runs through campus and is steeped in Boone history, the core members of the Kraut Creek Ramblers include faculty and staff at Appalachian State University: Julie Shepherd-Powell (banjo) and Alex Hooker (fiddle), professors of Appalachian Studies; Aaron Ratcliffe (fiddle, guitar, bass, vocals), professor in the Walker College of Business; and Trevor McKenzie (fiddle, guitar, vocals), archivist in the Special Collections at Belk Library. Other rotating members of the band include a variety of talented multi-instrumentalists- all students, faculty or staff at Appalachian State. Members of the Kraut Creek Ramblers have won multiple ribbons at fiddlers’ conventions all over the Southeast and are sought-after musicians for square dances, performances and competitions! Be prepared for foot stomping and hollering when you listen to the Kraut Creek Ramblers- you'll find it hard to stay in your seat!
Run time approximately 60 minutes
About the Kraut Creek Ramblers
Trevor McKenzie is a multi-instrumentalist and singer originally from southwest Virginia. The progeny of cattle farmers, he first gravitated to old-time music through an early interest in regional history and a keen desire to avoid doing manual labor. Though only mildly successful in the latter ambition, he gathered a respect for the communities, historical events, and stories which continue to build the canon of traditional music. Encouraged initially by family and church music, his formal musical training began at Jim Lloyd’s Barbershop in Rural Retreat, Virginia. In recent years he has continued to learn from and be humbled by skilled musicians from along the Appalachians and around the world. Trevor currently lives in western North Carolina where he performs as a sideman with several regional acts, including the Little Stony Nighthawks and the Laurel Creek String Band. On weekdays, he puts his historical knowledge and dusting skills to work in the archives of the W. L. Eury Appalachian Collection at Appalachian State University.
Aaron Ratcliffe hails from Big Stomp Mountain in Haywood County, NC where his family has lived for seven generations. He began as dancing as a youth at events such as the Waynesville Street Dances, Asheville’s Shindig on the Green, and The Mountain Dance and Folk Festival. Since 2005 he has called old-time square dances for public and private events across the Southeast, including the International Bluegrass Music Association Wide Open Bluegrass Festival in Raleigh, NC; The Rockbridge Mountain Music and Dance Festival; and The Appalachian State Fiddlers Convention in Boone, NC. He was an organizer for NC Squares, a monthly traditional old-time square dance in Chapel Hill/Durham, NC from 2007-2018. He danced with the Cane Creek Cloggers of Chapel Hill, NC from 2003–2011, performing and teaching dance workshops across the Southeast, including a 2006 showcase with the NC Symphony. As a solo dancer, he has performed at the NC Museum of Art in 2010, taught classes at Ninth Street Dance in Durham, NC, and won prizes for flatfoot dancing at fiddlers’ conventions in NC, TN, and VA. When he is not calling, he enjoys busting down on hot dance tunes on fiddle, banjo, guitar or mandolin with many groups across NC and VA, including The Little Stony Nighthawks and The Kraut Creek Ramblers. He now lives in Boone, NC and is a faculty member in The Walker College of Business at Appalachian State University.
Julie Shepherd-Powell is an award-winning flatfoot dancer and clawhammer style banjo player from North Carolina who has made Appalachian music and dance a lifelong study. Julie has taught old-time banjo and flatfooting all across the southern Appalachian Mountains, including at the Cowan Creek Mountain Music School, the Mountain Music School in Big Stone Gap, Virginia, after-school music programs in Kentucky and Virginia, and Warren Wilson College in western North Carolina. In addition to teaching banjo and flatfooting, she has called traditional mountain-style square dances anywhere from Knoxville to New York. She has performed with numerous string bands, including Kentucky-based bands Rich and the Po Folks and the Pine Mountain Railsplitters. Together with Todd Meade, she performs the hard-driving dance music of southwest Virginia in the string band the Four State Ramblers, making the fiddlers' convention circuit every summer. She is also a founding member and performer with Appalachian State's Kraut Creek Ramblers. Some of Julie's recent accolades include 2nd place flatfoot dance at the Grayson County Fiddlers Convention in 2017, and 6th place old time band (with the Four State Ramblers) in 2016 at the prestigious Galax Fiddlers Convention. In August 2018, Julie began an assistant professorship at Appalachian State University, teaching Appalachian Studies and Appalachian music to undergraduate and graduate students.
Originally from Lexington, NC, Alex Hooker’s musical career has spanned playing hardcore punk and rock as a kid to his love for playing traditional Appalachian music today. In his early 20s, he took up the mandolin, fiddle and banjo to join friends playing old-time and bluegrass music in and around Chapel Hill. A love of bluegrass and a curiosity about its history and origins led Alex back to Appalachian State to pursue an MA in Appalachian Studies. While pursuing his master’s degree, Alex learned the nuances of old-time music running around with the old-time group The Konnarock Critters. Their raucous and energetic jam sessions heavily influenced the style and tunes that Alex plays. He also studied banjo and fiddle with modern masters of old-time music, including Bruce Molsky, Paul Brown, Brad Leftwhich and Dirk Powell. Since 1999, Alex has taught hundreds of Appalachian State University students through his App Strings class offered by the Appalachian Studies program. He was also fortunate to apprentice and work for master luthier Alfred Michels, from whom he learned the art of building and repairing violins. Alex lives in the woods of Boone with his family and dogs, and serves as the Executive Director for Watauga County Habitat for Humanity.
Educator Series Workshop
Appalachian Culture, Dance and Music
Wednesday, October 23, 2019
4:00 - 8:00pm
Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts
Total of .4 CEUs with prior approval
For more information contact Christy Chenausky, email@example.com or 828-262-6084, ext. 109
- Study guide: Kraut Creek Ramblers (PDF 941K)