September’s Beans and Banjos will feature the father-and-son duo American Roots. Fred and Jon Benfield play guitar and sing everything from The Carter Family to W.C. Handy to Hoagy Carmicheal.
They’ve performed at venues all around the region, including the Floyd Country Store and Blacksburg’s Steppin’ Out festival. They’ve become very popular regulars at Beans and Banjos.
The Steppin’ Out online directory describes American Roots’ set list as “Appalachian ballads, blues, swing, early country and ‘folkgrass.’”
An ecology professor at Virginia Tech, Fred Benfield told a writer for Virginia Tech’s website, “My favorite part of performing is the communication that occurs between us during gigs. We’ve played together for so long that we just somehow know where the other is going on tunes without saying anything or even looking at each other.”
They’ve performed together for at least a quarter-century. Fort Vause will open the musical portion of the evening.
Fort Vause features George Smith, who played banjo in the Appalachian Music Masters concert series and on recordings with Jack Hinshelwood and Buddy Pendleton; Jeff Wilcke, a doctor of veterinary medicine and rhythm guitar who also plays mandolin; Tim Thornton, who plays bass for the band, and the newest member of the band, virtuoso guitarist Steven Paul. When Paul’s not playing with Fort Vause, he’s been known to lead a gypsy jazz band and an eclectic electric…