“The Modock Rounders are keeping hot the fires of red-hot West Virginia stringbands.”
- Dave Lavander, The Herald Dispatch
High-energy stringband music from the mountains of West Virginia!
What started as two friends learning fiddle and banjo tunes at all-night jam sessions, has grown into a multi-generational, old-time powerhouse. Jesse Pearson (fiddle), Cody Jordan (guitar/vocals), and Kim Johnson (banjo) are the Modock Rounders, a traditional stringband from West Virginia's Kanawha Valley that is steeped in the Mountain State's musical heritage.
Jesse is an award-winning fiddle and banjo player from Point Pleasant, WV, who first learned to play from re-issues of classic recordings and albums by The New Lost City Ramblers until he and Cody were exposed to local masters like Bobby Taylor, Franklin George, Lester McCumbers, and John Morris. After meeting Terry Vaughn and Kim Johnson, he became heavily influenced by the playing of Wilson Douglas, who Terry and Kim both spent many years learning from. Jesse's fiddling is focused on the traditions of Central West Virginia, Eastern Kentucky, and South-west Virginia.
Cody, also from Point Pleasant, has been playing the guitar since before he and Jesse met in middle school and although neither of them grew up with old-time music, Cody now belts out traditional ballads and songs as if he has been singing them his whole life. Being influenced by folks like the Stanley Brothers and Ginny Hawker & Tracy Schwarz, Cody sings and plays with a conviction that is all too rare in modern music. In addition to singing and playing guitar, Cody is an award-winning fiddle and banjo player and has spent time learning and playing with many local WV masters.
Kim was born in Clendenin, WV, and began playing clawhammer banjo in the 1970s when she was captivated by the fiddling of Wilson Douglas during the Vandalia Gathering in Charleston, WV. Wilson took her under his wing and taught her everything he knew about old-time music. Kim has since had the honor of playing with and knowing some of the most highly influential West Virginia fiddlers of the last 40 years including Lester McCumbers, Frank George, Ernie Carpenter, John Morris and Bobby Taylor. She met the boys in 2014 and has been playing with them ever since! Kim is a true American treasure and the Rounder's connection to a past generation of musicians that live on through her hiliarious storytelling and lively banjo playing.
Over the last several years, The Modock Rounders have been a mainstay at festivals and square dances all over West Virginia, Eastern Kentucky, and Southern Ohio with their energizing and authentic old-time sound. They have performed at festivals and venues around the U.S. including the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes in Port Townsend, WA and the Floyd Country Store in Floyd, VA.
They are perennial favorites at both the West Virginia State Folk Festival in Glenville, WV and the Vandalia Gathering in Charleston, WV where they continue to carry on the area’s musical traditions to delighted audiences and dancers alike.
The Rounders are also competent workshop leaders in the rich fiddle, banjo, & song traditions of Central West Virginia. Through stories, tune history, and their own connections to the music, they take great joy in passing on their region’s heritage to anyone willing to listen.