Rex McGee leads the acoustic instrumental band Kripplekrunk, a bluegrass, jazz, celtic influenced group. This mostly string ensemble started when multi-instrumentalist Rex convinced friends from his annual trips to the Galax Old Fiddler's Convention to do a jam session-styled studio recording featuring original instrumentals. Some of these original tunes go back to the 1980's when mandolin player Danny Knicely and guitarist John Garris pitched camp near Rex and produced a magnetic draw for the more adventurous players visiting this festival. Galax had a tradition as a nuclear core of Appalachian string band music, but a dedicated group of fans sprung up who were always ready to see what holy cow would get tipped over next. Sometimes perfectly good old-time and bluegrass tunes were transformed, other times popular music of the day was given bluegrass styled treatments.
Years passed before young Nate Leath fiddled his way into their company. As a middle schooler he was a fiddle champion of the festival, well before heading off to Berklee School of Music to develop his well rounded musical education. Dennis Lee had developed his chops for years and proved to be one of very few acoustic bass players capable of stepping outside easily labeled musical worlds. Bobby Martin sat down with the group in 2011 and brushed rhythm, ancient tone and sometimes pure energy from a cajón, a six sided, box-shaped percussion instrument originally from Peru. After the 2012 meeting at Galax the encouragement from fans spurred Rex to set up the recording session. The project would be a veritable sampler of stylistic sampler echoing bluegrass, old-time, new acoustic, celtic, cajon, R&B, southern rock, swing, jazz, and world music, sometimes all in one tune.
The CD could have been the end of the story, but many fans wanted more. Each of the individuals have other primary musical collaborations, yet they continue to unite for a few shows as Kripplekrunk each year, each show full of spontaneity and enthusiasm that road weary acts often lack. They've made unforgettable impressions at outdoor festivals, performing arts centers, and smaller house concert settings. Highlights since their inception in 2013 include the following press coverage and shows: