Born and raised in Romney, West Virginia, multi instrumentalist, Ben Townsend has studied Appalachian traditional music extensively. With banjo mentors such as Riley Baugus and Ron Mullennex, and Fiddle mentors the likes of Dave Bing, Joe Herrmann and Earl White, Townsend has studied a variety of old-time traditions ranging from the archaic, haunting fiddle of his home to the Round Peak music of North Carolina and Virginia to the Bluegrass of East Kentucky and Ohio.
As a member of The Fox Hunt, Old Sledge, The Iron Leg Boys, The Hackensaw Boys, and now as a member of the Hillbilly Gypsies, Ben Townsend has traveled across the country and around the world spreading his unique take on West Virginia regional old-time music. He has shared the stage with acts varying from Ralph Stanley to the Henry Girls of County Donegal, Ireland to the Taiko drummers of Yamagata Prefecture, Japan and the rowdy Aussies at the Yarra Junction Fiddler’s Convention in Victoria, Australia
He is also a devoted teacher of the music of his region and works both privately and as a featured teacher at music festivals and camps. He has been involved in the Augusta Heritage Festival in Elkins, West Virginia as a staff musician and teacher and has also worked as an instructor at The Allegheny Echoes Festival in Marlinton, West Virginia, Common Ground on the Hill at McDaniel College in Maryland and The Upper Potomac Fiddle Festival in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia just to name a few.
Townsend’s most recent project, 2 Guys Named Ben is a video series based on footage collected by Townsend and long time friend Ben Guzman on a cycle tour from Romney, West Virginia to Los Angeles, California, The series features interviews with traditional musicians and folk artists throughout Appalachia, across Texas, New Mexico and Arizona and is complimented by a Grammy nominated Album, Deep End Sessions, Vol 3: Ben Townsend and Friends.
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