TODAY’S FEATURED 2018 DANBY FESTIVAL BAND:
BEARTRACKS comes to us from upstate NY and is a crowd favorite back by popular request! The band began as a family trio in 2004 with siblings Tom and Julie and their cousin, legendary dobro player Junior Barber.
Tom plays rhythm guitar and splits the lead and harmony vocals with his sister, Julie. Tom grew up listening to traditional roots country and bluegrass. His most important musical influences were his mother and father. Some of his earliest memories of music were of them practicing with their band, Clem Hawkins and the Wagoneers. Tom was inducted into the New York State Country Music Hall of Fame in 1999 while playing with a band called The Upstate New Yorkers. According to Tom, the most important things in life are family, music, laughter and food…not necessarily in that order if he is really hungry!
Julie plays bass and splits the lead and harmony vocals with her brother, Tom. Her fondest memories are from the times spent around her grandfather’s table listening to the grown ups talking about old times, laughing and playing music with her family. This is where her passion for music developed. Julie began singing with her family’s band at 5 years old and she began playing the bass guitar at the age of 12. Julie’s love of performing shines through at every show. Wherever she travels, she can be found in shoe stores looking for that special pair of high-heeled boots!
The trio played bluegrass festivals and gained a solid fan base all across the Eastern US and Canada. When illness forced Barber to retire in June 2013, Tom and Julie searched for a musician that would fit the group well, both on a personal and professional level.
In July 2013, right here at the Danby festival, Tom & Julie found an extraordinary fiddler, Danby’s own Harry Ralph. Harry has been a permanent member of Beartracks ever since. Harry started playing fiddle at the age of 4. He’s competed in many local and national fiddle competitions, receiving top awards and recognition. He’s had the honor of playing beside B.B. King and has played in the opening act for The Charlie Daniel’s Band and Lonestar. Harry also plays the guitar, bass, and mandolin.
Dr. Steve Light joined the band on banjo & dobro in Sept 2016. Steve is a two-time Vermont state banjo champion. He’s played in various bands in the Northeast region since the 1970s. During the day, in his “real job”, Steve is a sociology professor at the State University of New York College at Plattsburgh. He’s been known to drive long distances to find coffee!
With their smooth family harmony, solid instrumentation, and entertaining sibling banter, Beartracks is traditional country & bluegrass at its best!
Click here to see their video, “The Old Man”!