|To celebrate Rounder's
release of the Fuzzy Mountain LPs on CD, MerleFest invited the Fuzzy Mountain
String Band for a reunion performance April 29, 1995. Recording members
Blanton Owen, Malcolm Owen, Vickie Owen, Bill Hicks, and Sharon Sandomirsky
were joined on the banjo by Jake Owen, son of Malcolm and Vickie.
Jake, an infant when the band recorded the LPs, can be seen in his mom's
lap on the cover of both the CD and the spring '95 issue of the Old
Time Herald shown below.
The pictures on this
page have a big story behind them. The photographer, Hiro Kase, learned
to play drop thumb clawhammer banjo style in 1973, at the same time he
obtained the Hollow Rock and Fuzzy Mountain String Band LPs. Hiro's
friend switched from mandolin to fiddle, and they figured in 10 years,
they'd be able to play tunes like the Fuzzies. In 1995, when the
spring issue of the
Old Time Herald announced the Fuzzy Mountain
reunion at MerleFest, Hiro immediately made plans to attend. You
might think this story fits many an old-time musician. But -- Hiro
lives in Japan. He made it to MerleFest in '95 to take these pictures,
and he himself performed at MerleFest in 2001. Hiro and Bill Hicks
ran into each other at Mt. Airy in 2004, and when Bill heard about these
pics, he asked Hiro to send them for our website. Thank you, Hiro!