The New Reeltime Travelers are an old-time supergroup that includes founding members of the Reeltime Travelers Roy Andrade and Thomas Sneed along with the classic voice of Carol Elizabeth Jones and multi-instrumentalist Ben Winship. Their music is a celebration of their combined experiences performing and searching out traditional American music. The sound they create together is diverse, accomplished, playful, and very present day. The band continues the process of taking something old and making it new, or adding something new in an old way, which was part of the recipe of the wildly popular first incarnation of Reeltime Travelers (1998-2006).
The original Reeltime Travelers formed in Johnson City, Tennessee in 1998 just as old-time music was beginning to receive a wave of due acknowledgement and increased global attention. They quickly became one of the most widely heard old-time bands of all time, selling 60,000 CDs independently and touring nationally. Highlights of their success included the Down From the Mountain tour (which highlighted music from Oh Brother Where Art Thou), the Great High Mountain Tour, The Grand Ole Opry and working with T-Bone Burnett on the soundtrack to Cold Mountain.
New Reeltime Travelers have managed to capture that energy and creativity while adding a few new spices to the sonic stew – drawing on the experience each musician has had performing, teaching and unearthing old-time music. As friends justify our passions, the coming together of these musicians is a jubilant expression of their collective journey in traditional music.
• Roy Andrade plays banjo with NRT and is an influential player and teacher. He is a member of the faculty in Bluegrass, Old Time and Country Music Studies at East Tennessee State University, where he works with the old-time music portion of the program. He was lucky to spend many hours with the late Doc Watson and recently produced a book set of home recordings from the Doc Watson family.
• Carol Elizabeth Jones sings with a purity of the mountain region she grew up in. She has played rhythm guitar and added her voice to numerous wonderful old-time ensembles including Garrison Keillor’s Hopeful Gospel Quartet and Hazel Dickens. She also writes spellbinding songs in the Appalachian mountain style.
• Ben Winship is a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, producer and recording engineer. His talents have graced many stages throughout the U.S. and Europe, but especially in his rocky mountain home, where his performances over the decades with Loose Ties, Kane’s River and Growling Old Men have been a major contribution to the growth and popularity of bluegrass and stringband music in the Rocky Mountains.
• Thomas Sneed has sung and played his mandolin in remote foreign corners of the world: everywhere from the Himalayas to Alaska to the Grand Old Opry. His passion for chasing old songs and stories culminated in a friendship with National Heritage Fellowship Award winning fiddler Ralph Blizard.
Fiddle players that work with New Reeltime Travelers are Betse Ellis (the Wilders) and Brittney Haas (Crooked Still, Darol Anger); bass players include Sharon Gilchrist (Tony Rice/Peter Rowan) and Eric Thorin (Matt Flinner Trio, Open Road).