Billy Constable

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Billy Constable
Origin Spruce Pine, North Carolina, USA
Genres Appalachian music, Bluegrass, Cajun, country, jazz, klezmer, polka, reggae, rock, zydeco
Occupation(s) Bluegrass artist
Instruments Banjo, guitar, fiddle, mandolin
Associated acts Sassagrass, the Constables, Charlie Moore, Josh Graves, The Dillards, Vassar Clements, Hypnotic Clambake, Leftover Salmon, Larry Keel, String Cheese Incident, Kenny Baker, Foggy Mountain Boys, Big Daddy Bluegrass Band, Acoustic Forum, Max Creek, Sam Bush

Billy Constable is an Appalachian musician from Spruce Pine, North Carolina, best known for his three-finger-picking banjo technique and his vigorous acoustic guitar leads. He comes from a rich musical background and from a young age started performing with bluegrass greats, including Charlie Moore, Josh Graves, the Doug Dillard Band, Kenny Baker and Vassar Clements.[1][2] Constable has remained a key player in the Appalachian and bluegrass music scenes for several decades.

Constable began to suffer powerful seizures in 2011, caused by a brain tumor. He underwent treatment and the tumor was surgically removed later in the year.[2] He is recovering from the medical procedures and has started playing music again.[3]


Constable grew up playing music as a part of the Wiseman family from western North Carolina. He began his professional career playing guitar with his mother's husband, the accomplished bluegrass musician Charlie Moore. As a teenager, he found work touring with Doug Dillard. He later moved to California to play with family band the Constables.[1]

Despite his equable bluegrass roots, Constable proved himself to be a versatile musician as the years went on. He has worked repeatedly in more electric and psychedelic settings with Jam bands Leftover Salmon and String Cheese Incident. During his tenure with Hypnotic Clambake, he was found playing everything from polkas to reggae to Bulgarian music. The Blueridge National Heritage Area states on their website that Constable's banjo playing "can be deceptively eclectic. His influences begin at home and with his family, but Billy's repertoire is vast, and he is comfortable in most musical situations."[1]

In recent years, Constable has played regularly with mandolinist Mark Schimick, the Big Daddy Bluegrass Band, and guitarist Larry Keel. He can often be found performing around Boone or Asheville, not far from where he grew up in western North Carolina. He continues to play an active role in the music scene around many parts of Appalachia.[1][2][4]


  1. ^ a b c d "Billy Constable: Bluegrass Musician", Blueridge National Heritage Area, retrieved 15 May 2012 
  2. ^ a b c Chandler, Travers (21 October 2011). "A Call to help for Billy Constable". Bluegrass Today. Retrieved 3 June 2012. 
  3. ^ Billy Constable (official website), retrieved 4 June 2012  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ Crews, Eric (20 May 2010). "Mark Schimick & Billy Constable Bring Fast-Pickin' to Murphy’s Friday". High Country Press. Retrieved 4 June 2012. 

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