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Kyle Creed

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Kyle Creed grew up in the Camp Creek area of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Surrey County, NC, and the region gave its name to the string band he formed, the Camp Creek Boys, in the 1930s with Fred Cockerman, Paul Sutphin, Ronald Collins, Ernest East, Verlin Clifton, and Roscoe Russell. The Camp Creek Boys, who ended up recording three albums for the County and Mountain labels in the 1960s, expanded on the normal banjo/fiddle/guitar string band configuration by adding an additional guitar and mandolin, and the group's high-energy take on traditional Appalachian dance reels was highly influential during the old-time music revival of the 1960s. Creed was an outstanding clawhammer banjo player and his clean, bell-like tone and gentle syncopated style have been much imitated. He also built banjos, reportedly even selling them out of the trunk of his car, and original Kyle Creed banjos are now heavily sought by collectors, although, as many have noted, they sounded much better when it was Creed who was playing them. Creed eventually settled in the Galax, VA, area, known for both its banjo and fiddle players. He ran a store there and built a small recording studio next to it, and even ran his own record label for a time. Aside from his work with the Camp Creek Boys, Creed released occasional sides featuring his banjo and fiddle playing, including the delightful Liberty, which was issued on cassette by Bobby Patterson's Heritage Records in 1977 and has since become a much sought-after collector's item. Creed passed away in 1982. His influence on the old-time music community was immense, and traces of his distinctive banjo style can still be heard in the playing of any number of banjoists working in contemporary string bands. ~ Steve Leggett

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