This DVD catches a set by the Bing Brothers playing on March 14, 2015 for the Celtic Appalachia Celebration presented by the Irish Arts Center in New York City. Mick Maloney introduces the band. Mike Bing is on mandolin and Tim Bing is on banjo along with their fiddling cohort, Jake Krack. Rounding out the band are Bob Lieving playing guitar and Tim Corbett on bass.
The Bing Brothers are long-time stalwarts on the West Virginia old-time music scene. When their fiddling brother Dave left, they searched for fiddlers over the years and have had some of the best the region had to offer. It is not easy to find someone who has the drive to keep up with these fellows. Krack is one of the hottest fiddlers in the state having won Galax at least 5 times and dominated at many contests throughout the South. His fiddling here runs the gambit from supportive to tearing the roof off of the tunes.
Tim and Mike handle the vocals with Bob Lieging adding his tenor to the duets and trios. They do a fine job on “My Home’s Across The Blue Ridge Mountains,” “Handsome Molly,” and the old Carter Family standby “Rambling Boy.” Krack’s fiddling features a lot of the “double-back” bowing favored by some fiddlers in the region. His best performance by far is on the medley of “Grumbling Old Man, Growling Old Woman”/“Elzic’s Farewell”/“Gravel Walk” where he crosses many divides French Canadian, West Virginian and Irish roots. They do a great job on “Last Chance,” a banjo tune usually played in the key of F, but moved up to G where they put a jazzy spin on the old piece. Their approach is unusual as they feature instrumental breaks like a bluegrass band, but Tim Bing’s banjo style is not your prosaic old-time playing. It’s a highly melodic, hard-driving clawhammer style. The band uses dynamics well to get their music across.
Each song is proceeded with some of Mike Bing’s “Aw shucks, we’re just backwoods hillbillies” emcee work. Believe it if you like. The Brothers Bing have been around forty-plus years and they continue to enjoy playing and bringing real honest-to-goodness music from their home state to the world. (Mike Bing, 4407 Frost Rd., Marlinton, WV 24954.)RCB