We have long enjoyed covering family bands here at Bluegrass Today. It is always fun watching young musicians interacting with each other, and with audiences from the stage, and often we see them grow and mature into seasoned young adult artists.
One thing we rarely see them do is stay together and continue performing as a family. There are so many pressures that make that difficult as children get older. New opportunities, new relationships, and college plans often interfere with touring opportunities, and parents get older too, and may not enjoy herding a group of young adult around as much as they did young children.
The Snyder Family Band was one such who delighted bluegrass and acoustic music fans for several years. It included Zeb Snyder on guitar, his younger sister, Samantha, on fiddle and vocals, and their dad, Bud, on bass. In just over six years the two young Snyders established themselves as forces to be reckoned with in bluegrass. Interestingly, they resisted all calls for them to expand from a trio into a full band, though even younger brother, Owen, did take the stage with them on banjo on occasion.
Here’s how they sounded early on when they first appeared on Song Of The Mountains.
They recorded several independent albums before signing with Mountain Home Music Company, for whom they produced two very well-received projects. Samantha was developing into a fine singer and an aggressive and powerful fiddler, while Zeb was showcased as a fiery flat picker as well as on banjo and mandolin.
The last time we covered them was in three years ago with a video of them cutting the song Far Away, which Samantha had written and which served as the first single from their The Life We Know record.
When Samantha started college in 2017, their touring slowed down a great deal, and these days Zeb is a member of Appalachian Road Show, one of the most popular acts in the business – at least when touring was allowed. So when we stumbled across a recent video Samantha had made at school, we reached out to see what was going on in her life.
She happily agreed to a quick interview to catch us up.
So where are you in school? Studying what?
I am a rising senior at High Point University in High Point, NC. I’m majoring in Mathematics and minoring in History. Can’t believe this is my last year – college has really flown by!
Are you envisioning a music career once you graduate?
I definitely envision myself playing music on at least a part-time basis once I graduate. I am already teaching fiddle part-time via Skype, and have really loved learning alongside my awesome students. I am still writing songs and am currently considering and developing different ways I can share them with an audience. There are some exciting possibilities that I can’t announce yet but I hope to pursue very soon!
I am also in the final editing stages of a fiction book that I have been writing for years called The Map of Griffyngrein, so my ideal picture of my post-graduate future involves a combination of music and authorship. I also hope to continue posting videos on my YouTube channel.
So you still have the fire for playing bluegrass, or are your tastes opening up a bit?
I will always love bluegrass! But, honestly, I’ve been interested in a wide range of musical genres for most of my life. I particularly love rock, in many of its different branches, which have influenced my style the most recently. But my sound will always be deeply rooted in the bluegrass, country, and folk traditions with which I was born and raised. Being in touch with where I come from definitely helps guide my stylistic choices as a musician.
Getting to perform at all at school?
Actually, without really intending to, I’ve kept my academic and musical lives quite separate throughout my time at college. My math major keeps me pretty busy!
So much talent, and so many ways to express it!
Here’s a look at the video that caught our attention recently, her acoustic cover of I’m Only Happy When It Rains, which had been a hit for alt-rockers Garbage all the way back in 1995.
Best of luck to Samantha Snyder, and we hope to hear much more from her in the coming years.