Formed June 1978, in Blacksburg, VA.
award-winning quartet based in Roanoke/Blacksburg, Virginia, No Strings
Attached® actually features hundreds of strings playing music described
as "eclectic, jazz on acoustic instruments and world beat."
Much like Clark Kent appears ordinary for the most part, only to become
Superman after visiting a convenient phone booth, No Strings is
superficially a traditional string band focusing on instrumental arrangements,
but they consistently stretch the boundaries of string music beyond
traditional concepts. The Washington Post accurately described them
as "one of the more adventurous string ensembles today."
While their recordings feature traditional acoustic music, they also
incorporate material by Dave Brubeck, Thelonious Monk, Sonny Rollins,
the Chieftains, and Bill Spence, as well as their own originals. The
eclectic brand of music they play and their exciting stage personae
--think Cirque du Soleil and you're close-- has allowed them to open
for such artists as Mary Wilson and the Supremes, Bela Fleck and the
Flecktones, Nickel Creek, Doc Watson, Stephen Bennett, Tommy Emmanuel, the Dixie Chicks, Turtle Island String Quartet, John Hartford,
and John McCutcheon. They have played in European venues such as Cardiff Harbour Festival, (Wales), the Pontardarwe Festival (Wales), the Cork Dulcimer Festival (Ireland),
Folk Club Zuriche (Switzerland) and in U.S. venues ranging from the Kennedy Center
for the Performing Arts and CBS TV's Morning News program to major festivals
such as the Walnut Valley Festival (Kansas) and the Pacific Rim International Music Festival in Los Angeles,
California. They wrote and performed the original theme song for the PRI radio
show World Cafe. On stage, they typically dance the tango with their
instruments, parody old rock and roll bands, clog while playing old-time
tunes, and sometimes use the slinky (yes, the old toy) as a percussion
instrument. The band members don't cite strong folk music influences.
Bassist Rusty May returned to the band after the death of Bob Thomas. Rusty
was the original bassist for the group and brings his years of playing for
with various bands from all genres of music.
Wes Chappell is the other vocalist and the multi-instrumentalist of
the group. His background is rock and roll, but he plays in a variety
of styles. Jimmy Crawford brings his fingerpicking guitar skills to the band.
His talents not only involve music but film making as well with an award winning
documentary film that was picked up by PBS. He's currently working on a documentary on peanut farming in southeastern Virginia.
Randy Marchany, who plays the hammer
dulcimer and keyboards, was trained as a classical pianist. So, given
their varied backgrounds, perhaps the band's selection of material isn't
all that unusual. This variety of styles is one of the cornerstones
of their appeal. Some of the awards the band has received for its albums include nominations for the NAIRD INDIE awards for "Best Album - String Music Category" in 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1990 and 1992. Their 5th album, "Take 5" won the Indie award for Best Album in 1988.
Source: MusicHound Folk: The Essential Album Guide
Jim Crawford, guitar,(2009-present)
Rusty May, bass, (2012-present)
Wes Chappell, hammer dulcimer, mandolin, mandola, guitar, pennywhistle,
Randy Marchany, hammer dulcimer, synthesizer, piano, percussion (1980-present)
Bob Thomas (1984-2011)
Pete Hastings (1980-2009)
Suzy Gorsline (1980-87)
Rytas Vilgalys (1980-83)
Rusty May (1980-84).