Hiltons, VA -- Backstep performs old time stringband music in the “Round Peak style” native to Mount Airy, North Carolina. Known for its driving rhythms and prominent melodies, Round Peak music is just the thing to make you kick up your heels and dance. Back Step features Chester McMillian (a founding member of the band) on guitar and his son Nick McMillian on fiddle (he also plays banjo and bass). Saturday, July 26th, 2014, at 7:30 p.m., the Carter Family Fold in Hiltons, Virginia, will present a concert by the Back Step Old Time Band. Admission to the concert is $10 for adults, children 6 to 11 $1, under age 6 free.
Chester McMillian, one of the band’s founders, was born in Carroll County, Virginia, into a musical family and community. He has played traditional old time Round Peak style music since his childhood. By the time he was eleven or twelve years old, he was living in Surry County and taking an active part in the Round Peak music community. In 1962, Chester married into Dix Freeman’s family, and the two began playing a lot of music together. Chester played guitar with Tommy Jarrell for fifteen years, and he developed his guitar style specifically to play with Tommy. He also played and recorded with Dix Freeman, Kirk Sutphin, and Greg Hooven – with whom he founded Back Step.
Nick McMillian was raised in the Round Peak community surrounded by music. He is truly of the tradition, bringing a whole family history into his banjo, fiddle, and bass playing. He first learned to play banjo from his grandfather, Dix Freeman, whose style he can closely imitate. He also plays Round Peak style fiddle. Steeped in music from an early age, Nick made his first recording – Backstep – at age eleven. He has performed in public since the ripe old age of eight. He also recorded with the New Pilot Mountaineers on fiddle and banjo. Nick’s musical mentors include Fred Cockerham, his grandfather Dix Freeman, and his father, Chester McMillian.
Back Step has performed at the Fold in years past, and they have recently come back for several performances. Fans of groups like the Mountain Park Old Time Band and the Whitetop Mountain Band will love the the Back Step Old Time Band. Back Step has won first place in the old time band competition at the Mount Airy Fiddler’s Convention and the Fiddler’s Grove fiddler’s convention. The group was featured on Mike Seeger’s Old Time Banjo Styles instructional video featuring Kirk Sutphin on banjo.
Be sure to bring your dancing shoes, and be ready for a night of down home fun. Nothing gets you out of your seat and on the dance floor faster than a rousing old time band. Don’t miss the Back Step Old Time Band at the Carter Family Fold! For more information on the group, go to: www.myspace.com/backstepmusic.
Carter Family Memorial Music Center, Incorporated, is a nonprofit, rural arts organization established to preserve traditional, acoustic, mountain music. For further information on the center, go to http://www.carterfamilyfold.org. Shows from the Carter Family Fold can be accessed on the internet at http://www.carterfoldshow.com.
Carter Music Center is part of the Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail. You can visit the Crooked Road Music Trail site at http://thecrookedroad.org. Partial funding for programs at the center is provided by the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. For recorded information on shows coming up at the Fold, call 276-386-6054. The Fold is on Facebook – page Carter Fold – and Twitter – @carterfoldinfo. To speak to a Fold staff member, call 276-594-0676.