The Hillbilly Gypsies
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The Hillbilly Gypsies

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""One Foot in the Gravy" CD review"

By Michelle Wolford

If they gave prizes for the most in-your-face opening tune on a CD, The Hillbilly Gypsies would be among the top finishers. I almost drove off the road when I heard the start of “One Foot in the Gravy.” The group’s jump into “Crow Black Chicken” is like snorting a double espresso. The hoedown starts abruptly and doesn’t slow down for a good long time – for 19 songs in fact.
With countless shining examples of the players’ picking prowess and I defy you to keep your toes still while you listen to it.
The Hillbilly Gypsies and I have at least one thing in common – we’re Hazel Dickens fans. Their rendition of Dickens’ “West Virginia, My Home” offers a more than capable lead by Jamie Lynn Buckner and quality harmonies. Buckner completes her homage to Dickens with “Mama’s Hand.” The songs are stalwarts of the extensive Dickens catalog and Buckner wins a place in my heart for her versions of them.
In fact, all the songs are good choices for the group. Every instrument and voice gets a chance to shine and does.
With three lead vocalists – Trae and Jamie Lynn Buckner, and Jason Teel – the Gypsies keep things interesting. And their harmonies are worth the price of admission.
It’s rare for a CD to capture the energy and joy of a live show, but kudos to the Gypsies. This old-time string band does it in spades.
- The Dominion Post

"Young Blood, old style, new flavor"

By Jennifer Roush

FAIRMONT - With Appalachian instruments, three and four-part harmonies and even overalls, the Hillbilly Gypsies are your grandfather’s bluegrass – but with a young, fresh feel.
The five-piece band, in their 20’s and 30’s, find that a love for West Virginia heritage and music has no age, and that just about anyone with a pulse is taking notice of their homegrown, Appalachian, old-tie music with a hard driving bluegrass sound.
Inspired by the original Grand Ole Opry and bluegrass greats like Ralph Stanley, the group keeps it real and likes to also keep it light-hearted.
They feel like the audience can easily pick up on the sound and relate to them.

”There’s a lot of bluegrass bands, and they try to stick to a certain type of tradition with the suits and hats, a more refined look.” said Trae Buckner, who plays guitar, banjo, harmonica, and sings lead vocals. “We’ve kept a more natural approach. I feel we are who we are. We have a lot of fun. We kind of look like we stepped out of the crowd and on to the stage.”
Buckner, of Fairmont, sings alongside his wife Jamie. Both of them got much of their musical taste from their grandfathers who played old-time bluegrass.
“In a way that surprises people (that we’re young and playing bluegrass), but in another way, it kind of opens them up to give it a chance, “said Buckner. “We have a diverse kind of following from old to young kids. We try to target as many types of people as we can. We just about play as many types of gigs as there are.”
A majority of the band members can trade off on different instruments, and frequently do that on stage. The other members are David Asti, three finger banjo, guitar, and mandolin; Jason Teel, bass fiddle, guitar, clawhammer banjo, lead and harmony vocals; and Ty Jaquay, fiddle and sometimes bass vocals.
Their new album is called “One Foot in the Gravy,” which they produced on their own label in their own studio.
“Wherever the road leads us is what we do,“ Buckner said. “That’s probably where the name Gypsies fits in there. We like to hit the road.”
- Times West Virginian

"Meet The Hillbilly Gypsies"

By Tom Crozier

The Hillbilly Gypsies have made a profession out of the culture and work ethic of the state they know and love.

Comprised of husband and wife Trae and Jamie Lynn Buckner, 29 and 26 respectively, Dave Asti, 28, Ty Jaquay, 25, and Jason Teel, 32.

When the Buckners attended The Good Life Music Festival in 1999, they probably didn’t expect much more than a fun weekend at Rich’s Farms. Little did they know that before the weekend was over, their unformed band would find its name.
“Grass Combustion, who our bass player Teel was playing for at the time, got to headline the festival after 3 or 4 years of playing at noon, “ Trae Buckner said.
“I always thought they deserved the last slot when the party was in full swing, and they finally got it. So there everyone is – dancing in this field to bluegrass music – and an old-timer came wandering over and said ‘Man, ya’ll ain’t nothin’ but a bunch of hillbilly gypsies.’

”Then he said, ‘Well, I’m done. Don’t step on me, ‘ and passed out on the lawn.”
A more fitting name couldn’t have been bestowed on the unassuming and comical group, who incorporate aspects of traditional bluegrass and Appalachian music into a romping, party vibe that spectators love.
The band’s stories and humor, mixed between songs, highlight the love the band has for the culture they so openly embrace.
The band interacts with a fluidity made necessary by the two compression microphones they gather around on stage, which Trae Buckner, guitarist and banjo player, credits as helping to create the “old-timey sound.”
With little exception, a Hillbilly Gypsies show involves the showmanship and crowd response of an act polished over five years of diligent practice and dedication. Asti and Trae Buckner switch guitar and banjo duties during different songs an all members contribute to vocals.
Songs such as “Old Joe Clark” and “Foggy Mountain Breakdown” get a great fan reaction at the Country Inn.
“We just like to bring a high energy sound to the youngsters,“ said Buckner.
“They have a lot of natural talent that comes out in all of their songs,” said Bonnie Eaton, 21, of Morgantown. “It reminds me of my home in Kentucky.”
- The Dominion Post - Morgantown WV

"- Ron Kodish"

”You brought the kind of energy I am looking for in my festival. I can’t think of any other group that would bring any more life to our stage than The Hillbilly Gypsies.” - Smoked Country Jam Bluegrass Festival

"- Matthew Trout"

“In their first ever appearance at the Domain, The Hillbilly Gypsies rattled the one hundred year old floors and caused a mass foot stomping, knee slapping epidemic. If you have not experienced the Gypsies, you need to; you will thank me for it.” - The Digital Domain Review

"- Vince Welnick"

”High energy fun… A real West Virginia experience” - The Grateful Dead


Old Time Sessions (2003)
Live at the Domain (2004)
One Foot in the Gravy (2006)



The Hillbilly Gypsies are a West Virginia native string band who specialize in playing their own homegrown style of Appalachian old time music, mixed with a hard drivin' bluegrass sound. In addition to their original material, The Hillbilly Gypsies play an eclectic mix of traditional and quite often, not-so-traditional bluegrass standards and catchy old fiddle tunes.

The Hillbilly Gypsies are best appreciated jamming at a live show. They perform in the old fashioned style, around one or two vintage style large diaphragm microphones. This "Old Timey" approach adds the high energy barn party atmosphere to their show. Watching the whole band work around the mics is like taking a trip back in time. It'll sure make you want to get up and dance!

Just like their music, they play a varied array of venues throughout the year, ranging from motorcycle rallies to coffee shops to outdoor music festivals.

Formed in 2001 from a chance meeting in Morgantown WV, The Hillbilly Gypsies have been pickin’and grinnin’ ever since. More than just a bluegrass band, The Hillbilly Gypsies are a close knit family, mindful of tradition yet bold explorers of new styles of music.