About Us

Bio

Around a dozen years ago a group of musicians from the Galax, VA area formed a new band. This group The New Ballard’s Branch Bogtrotters took their name, in part from the original Bogtrotters of the 1930’s and also because band leader Dennis Hall lives on Ballard’s Branch. Rounding out the Bogtrotters lineup are: Eddie Bond on Fiddle, Dennis Hall on guitar, Josh Ellis with clawhammer banjo, Jesse Morris on Bass and Leon Frost on mandolin. Old time music is alive and well, and continues to attract fans of all ages. The New Ballard’s Branch Bogtrotter’s remian a leading force in carrying the traditional music of the Virginia/Carolina Blue Ridge into the new millenium.

Members of the Band

Eddie Bond – Fiddle
Eddie Bond’s four great grandfathers were old time banjo players.  He was raised by his grandmother who was a singer and guitar player.  His family on both sides is packed with musicians who played the traditional music of the blue ridge.  Eddie’s great uncle Leon Hill Had a band with Leak Caudill as fiddler.  Eddie began performing at age 3 dancing for quarters.  He has continued adding guitar, autoharp, fiddle and banjo to his instruments while absorbing fiddle tunes from all of the old timers who live in the Galax region.  Eddie is a native of Fries some 6 miles from Galax and the place where country music had its beginnings at the Washington Cotton Mill in 1923 to 1929.  

Dennis Hall – Guitar
Dennis Hall is a grand nephew of Uncle Eck Dunford the Droll voiced fiddler and spokesman for the original Bogtrotters, the Galax are dance band that was recorded by Alan Lomax in the 1930’s and left a trove of important recordings at the Library of Congress.  Uncle Eck was very conscious of his Ulster Irish background and his name, The Bogtrotters refers back to that heritage.  Dennis is noted among old time musicians for his unerring and rock-solid guitar time.  Dennis is a master carpenter, a builder of beautiful homes in the Galax area.   Dennis is an unflappable band leader.  A keeper of a rich score of older music that is historic.  

Jesse Morris – Bass
Jesse is a Bassist and the son of a Bassist.  His timing is so solid that he has been suspected of having an atomic clock implanted in his head.  Jesse comes from a musical family.  His father, Dale Morris has been a string band musician for many years, working in many Galax bands and is a respected scholar in the keeping of the music.  His father was the original bassist for the Bogtrotters.  Jesse teaches High School Agriculture classes.  

Josh Ellis – Banjo
Josh Ellis was a Clapton-Style Rock and Roll guitar player when he came to Galax, but like salt on the road to Damascus, he was felled by a bolt of old-time lightning wielded by Ray Chatfield and his well worn Vega Tuba-Phone.  Like the other Bogtrotters, Josh is passionate about timing.  As this is after all a dance music and if the timing is right, dancing becomes effortless.  Josh works closely with Eddie and the fiddle and banjo are the original Virginia string band created by slave musicians in the early colonial period.  So the Banjo and Fiddle have to be in total communication and Josh and Eddie hold to that ancient value.  Josh manages a wood flooring business in Galax and has helped construct many beautiful homes across the wide swath of South Western Virginia.  He guarantees that his floors are good for dancing.  

Leon Frost – Mandolin
Leon Frost is the irrepressible Mandolin player who bounces around the stage putting his Mandolin Chop lick and occasional burst of melody exactly where they belong for the propulsive drive of the Bogtrotters.  Leon joins in on the singing and he comes from a musical family.  No matter where you go in his family tree there is a musician and members of the Frost family were among the earliest pioneers to record Galax area music.  Leon is master carpenter and engineer who can build a lake or a fine log home and put it on a mountain top or beside a pristine stream.

Bio’s composed by: Joe Wilson