Here’s a tune from Franklin County’s Original Dry Hill Draggers called “Dry Hill”. This tune was composed by fiddler Carl ‘Hot Licks’ Scott who still lives in the area. He was one of the original fiddlers with this hard driving band along with Murph Shively. The band was headed up by banjo player Jimmy Boyd who developed and played the rhythmic style heard here. The Draggers burst on to the fiddler’s convention scene in the mid 1980’s, giving local groups who were judges favorites like the New River Ramblers a “run for the money”. This tune and the band are named for an area in the western part of Franklin County near Floyd County that’s on The Crooked Road Music Trail.
The Draggers were an institution of local old-time music and flatfoot dancing for over 30 years. The “sound” was picked up and carried forth into the 21st century by Jimmy’s son Jamie on banjo, along with young fiddler Chris Prillaman who grew up around the numerous community dances and social events that the band and its members were a part of.
Jimmy’s other son, Stacy, grew up with the band and its community as well becoming the most solid bass player for old-time dance tunes that I know. The original guitar player was Roy Hamrick who passed away at a young age but was featured singer on the group’s early LP’s. Roy’s son Jason also grew up in the community and became one of the best true ‘country’ singers I know, providing solid guitar back-up for the band’s old-time dance repertoire as well their slower country music for two steps and waltzes.
At the Galax Fiddlers convention which is always held in early August, the Draggers always seem to have a set up of dance boards and tarps with a regular jams of friends and family that draw huge crowds of spectators and many of the best flatfoot dancers in the region.
The band is defunct now, but the flatfoot dancing tradition that they helped to keep alive still thrives in the Blue Ridge especially around Floyd every Friday night and Sunday afternoon at the Floyd Country Store. The fiddlers conventions like Mt Airy, Elk Creek, and Galax seem to still have a healthy amount of flatfoot dancers that seek out good dance music.
Check this tune out.