The Freight Hoppers ride again

The Freight Hoppers - David Bass, Isaac Deal, Thomas Bailey, Frank LeeJim Roe of Roe Entertainment, based in Owensboro, Kentucky, has announced the addition of Rounder Recording artists, The Freight Hoppers, an old time string band, to his already exciting roster of bluegrass bands.

Those patient fans who had the pleasure of seeing the fabled Freight Hoppers perform from 1992 to 2002 will certainly know what a sight and sound it is to witness the infectious groove of fiddle and banjo combination driven by David Bass and Frank Lee. These guys set a new benchmark on the circuit back in the mid 1990s. When the band took a break, many wondered if that hallmark sound would be heard again.

Now, Lee and Bass are back and have brought in Thomas Bailey on guitar and vocals and Isaac Deal on upright bass and vocals. With the two original members reunited and joined by Bailey, whose undistilled powerhouse baritone vocal range enriches the sound, and Deal, whose ardent high lead and tenor voice holds the line and traverses the music’s authentic spirit, a string band has been created to rival the best that ever kicked up dust. During the 1990s, The Freight Hoppers became the most popular modern day old time music string band in the world. The Freight Hoppers recorded two critically acclaimed albums that climbed into the Top 20 of Billboard’s Americana music charts: ‘Where’d You Come From, Where’d You Go?’ (released in 1996) and ‘Waiting on the Gravy Train’ (1998). They toured extensively in the U.S., Canada and Europe, appeared on Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion, and elevated the popularity of old time music all over the world. With performances at concerts and festivals and radio airplay, they shook up the music landscape and created a new audience of traditional music fans.

Their music turned people on and their trail blazed the way for other successful string bands to follow their lead. The reshaped band will elaborate on their trademark sound by drawing upon their personal musical rapport to make a sonic hue that refracts their inspirations and love of Southern American, gospel, blues, punk and, folk music. A new album on Rounder Records is already in production and eagerly awaited.

And so a new chapter begins as The Freight Hoppers ride again.

Jim Roe has this to say about the band …….

“The Freight Hoppers have such a good reputation on and off the stage. I can tell they really have made a lot of friends and fans over the years. I mention their name and people genuinely get very excited that they are together performing again.

You have to love their energy. Their old time sound is different from the other acts on my roster which will help me get into places I haven’t booked before and I believe I can help them get into festivals they didn’t get a chance to play the first time around.”

In addition toThe Freight Hoppers, Roe Entertainment represents The SteelDrivers, Lonesome River Band, Danny Paisley and the Southern Grass and Michael Cleveland and Flamekeeper.

Here’s a YouTube clip of them performing The Train That Carried My Girl From Town.

Share this:

About the Author

Richard Thompson

Richard F. Thompson is a long-standing free-lance writer specialising in bluegrass music topics. A two-time Editor of British Bluegrass News, he has been seriously interested in bluegrass music since about 1970. As well as contributing to that magazine, he has, in the past 30 plus years, had articles published by Country Music World, International Country Music News, Country Music People, Bluegrass Unlimited, MoonShiner (the Japanese bluegrass music journal) and Bluegrass Europe. He wrote the annotated series I'm On My Way Back To Old Kentucky, a daily memorial to Bill Monroe that culminated with an acknowledgement of what would have been his 100th birthday, on September 13, 2011.