The Freight Hoppers
The Freight Hoppers have been presenting Old Time String Band music for more than 20 years. The band started presenting their energetic take on fiddle band music 4 times a day, 7 days a week at the Great Smoky Mountains Railway shortly after forming back in 1992. This afforded the group plenty of paid rehearsal time to hone a sound that has proven entertaining and distinctively theirs. Their repertoire includes music that was first recorded in the late 1920s and early 1930s, and spans geographically from Mississippi to West Virginia. The Freight Hoppers play hard driving old time music with an emotional, raw excitement that keeps one foot planted in the past and the other in the present. Of course that’s only when they keep their feet still, for this is high energy dance music of an older day played like there's no tomorrow. Finding their passion from a love of stringband music of the 1920s and 1930s, The Freight Hoppers have been entertaining crowds of fans at festivals and music halls alike as they travel around the country, and beyond. The heart of the band is held together by the fiddle and banjo combo of Merritt Smith and Frank Lee, while the rhythm section of Allie Burbrink on guitar and Andrea Smith on string bass hold down the ensemble. Based out of the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina, The Freight Hoppers draw from a deep source of rural southern music for their inspiration, and are proud to present music that is still very much alive and meaningful to today's world.
The band gained national attention when they were featured on Garrison Keillor's A Prairie Home Companion on National Public Radio in 1996, winning second place in the show's Talent from Towns Under 2000 contest. They recorded two albums on Rounder Records: "Where'd you come from, Where'd you go?" (1996)  and "Waiting on the Gravy Train" (1998). The Freight Hoppers reformed in 2007 after a five-year hiatus during which fiddler David Bass underwent heart transplant surgery.
The Freight Hoppers 3rd album was 'Mile Marker', released in 2010. Current musicians include Merritt Smith, fiddle- Frank Lee, banjo and vocals- Allie Burbrink, guitar and vocals, Andrea Smith, upright bass.
- The Freight Hoppers: Where'd You Come From Where'd You Go? (Rounder Records, 1996)
- The Freight Hoppers: Waiting on the Gravy Train (Rounder Records, 1998)
- Mile Marker (BTR Records, 2010)
- Allmusic.com: Biography
- FiddleAid Benefit for David Bass's heart transplant described on The Old-Time Herald website
- Freighthoppers page on Stringband.com
- David Bass wins Second place in the Old-time fiddlers contest at the 2005 Galax Fiddler's Convention
- Review of Where'd You Come From Where'd You Go? by Arthur Berman
- Article about Freighthoppers reforming and signing with Roe Records
- YouTube video of Bass playing with the Forge Mountain Diggers
- YouTube video of Bass playing with the Forge Mountain Diggers at Watermelon Park Fest in Berryville, VA
- YouTube video of Bass playing Backstep Cindy with the Forge Mountain Diggers
- YouTube video of Bass playing fiddle with the Freighthoppers
- YouTube video of Bass playing Sally Ann with the Freighthoppers at the Free State Music Festival in Lawrence, KS