30 November 2017

Orrin Star and Thornton Spencer

The BIB learns with regret of the deaths of two noted American musicians, Orrin Star (62) and Thornton Lee Spencer (82). Orrin Star, from New Jersey, was a multi-instrumentalist who won the 1976 National Flatpicking Championship at Winfield, KS, and was also a talented music teacher and entertainer. BIB readers with long memories may recall his touring Ireland over ten years ago.

Thornton Spencer, from Grayson County, Virginia, was best known as an old-time fiddler, mentored by the celebrated fiddler and fiddle-maker Albert Hash, founder of the Whitetop Mountain Band, which Thornton and his wife Emily kept going after Albert Hash died in 1983. Among other tours abroad, the Whitetop Mountain Band toured Ireland in the autumn of 2014; though Thornton did not come over on that occasion, their shows were great fun and highly memorable. More details and performance videos are on Bluegrass Today, in John Lawless's feature on Orrin Star, and Richard Thompson's on Thornton Spencer.

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At 10:33 am, Blogger Unknown said...

Orrin Star was a superb flatpicker, regrettably grossly under-rated, and under-recorded. His performance at Kilworth was memorable not only for his picking and singing, but also his wry sense humour.


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