Appalachian Road Show played in Raleigh Memorial Auditorium at the 2023 IBMA Bluegrass Music Awards Show. The band was nominated for the coveted Entertainer of the Year Award. The other nominees included Billy Strings, Molly Tuttle, Del McCoury and The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys. Billy Strings won that year, for the third time in a row.
As much as the band appreciates honors and awards banjo player Rob Abernathy says it’s about much more than that, “Appalachian music and its stories have been passed down to us, and we’re now passing our own interpretations of this to a new generation, while also shedding a reverent light on this culture,” says Rob Abernathy. He plays banjo in the band.
“We want to not only keep these traditions alive, but also honor the strong and dedicated individuals who made lives in the mountains over the past 200 years. Appalachian Road Show is meant to be more of a cultural experience rather than simply just a collection of songs. If we were to eventually be viewed as unofficial ambassadors of Appalachian culture, that would be an honor.”
The band is Rob Abernathy, banjo; Jim VanCleve, fiddle; Darrell Web, mandolin; and Zeb Snyder, guitar. Abernathy, VanCleve, and Webb were all born and raised in Appalachia. “I was 10 or 11 when I started singing in church,” says Abernathy, who grew up near the head of the Appalachian Trail in northern Georgia. His grandmother had a banjo, and despite being born with only one finger on his noting hand, he decided early on that he wanted to play that banjo and Appalachian music.
“There’s something universal in the music and its expressed themes,” says Abernathy. “There’s something for everyone.”