Carolina Yellowhammers

Location: R.A. Fountain

from our promo for this concert

[Fountain, NC] The Carolina Yellowhammers play traditional bluegrass and bluegrass gospel at Fountain General Store this coming Saturday night.

“This is one of the best bluegrass bands you’ll ever see, anywhere,” said Alex Albright, Fountain General Store proprietor.

The Yellowhammers are an occasional band comprised of four of the best bluegrass pickers in East Carolina. They perform twice a year for Fountain audiences at the general store that’s become one of the premier bluegrass venues in the Southeast. “These guys all have other musical projects,” said Albright, “but they do this one for fun and for their love of bluegrass.”

Fronted by guitarist Lightnin’ Wells, who sings lead, the Yellowhammers also include Lane Hollis on fiddle and banjo; John Booker on bass; and Frankie Harrison on mandolin. Hollis and Booker also sing lead and harmony. Harrison is generally regarded as the fastest mandolin picker in East Carolina.

Wells, who lives in Fountain, is best known as a bluesman who performs throughout the U.S. and Europe. Hollis, from Greenville, fronts his own family bluegrass band, the Hollis Family. Booker, of Ayden, and Harrison, of Williamston, both play in other regional bluegrass bands. 

Wells, Hollis, and Booker were all members of the Hometown Boys, the Greenville-based bluegrass band of the early 1970s.

The Yellowhammers take their name as homage to both a train and a bird. “Yellowhammer” is another name for the Northern Flicker, whose hammering sound was likened to that made by the East Carolina Railway’s passenger train that used to run from Tarboro through Fountain all the way to Hookerton. And in furthering a bluegrass tradition of bands taking names based on their hometown states, theirs conjures up that of the legendary early 20th century old-time band known as the Georgia Yellowhammers.  

Tags: bluegrass gospel, tradtional bluegrass