Charlotte, NC345 N College St
30 August, 2014It was a great show!
6 MusiciansEvent talent
1200 SeatsDon't miss it!
Hit's Briarhopper Time!Sit an enjoy the legedary WBT Briarhoppers as they perform blue grass music. Some venues have food available.
Get ready for a foot stompin good time!
BreakThere will a short break. Grab a bite to eat at the event, people watch or take the opportunity to meet our the band members.
Want to rub elbows with the Briarhoppers? This is your chance!
Along the WavesOur WBT Radio history is relived through blue grass music and realistic radio commentary.
Some musicians have available CD's, gear and used equipment at every show.
The BandEach event brings together top talent and famous names into a band setting performing hits your sure to recoginize.
Listen to some the best Blue Grass Music the East Coast has to offer!
80th Aniversary Bash
If you have heard of the WBT Briarhoppers you know we've been around a long time.
Over the years our Blue Grass music has foots stompin, hips a flying, hands a clapping at our legendary music!
Know someone else that may wish to attend? Spread the word, we love the company!
Hot Off the Press
The legacy continues!
The Legendary Briarhoppers
Event photos to the right were from the last show.
- Each event is packed with Blue Grass hits!
- Featuring the show stopper Ellie Briarhopper
- Merchandise always available
Blue Grass History
Hit's Briarhopper Time!
Featuring Blue Grass music for the masses.
Keep checking back on BriarHoppers.com for the next show information.
Event photos to the right show a good time.
- Each event is packed with Blue Grass lovers.
- Rich legacy talent
- Packed crowds
- Merchandise always available
Don't miss a thing!
Subscribe to keep up to date with the BriarHoppers, our music and news.
Taking the stage at the next event.
A special thanks to our sponsors.
Our Legendary History
by Tom Warlick (Briarhopper Histornian and Bass man)
In 1934, a potential advertiser called WBT's Charles Crutchfield to ask if the station had a hillbilly band to help advertise its products. Telling a fib, Crutch said "Yes," which led to the birth of the Briarhoppers. The name comes from WBT announcer Bill Bivens who, during a hunting trip with Crutch, was startled by a rabbit jumping out of a thicket, and Bill yelled, "Look at that briarhopper!" At that moment, Crutch found the name for his hillbilly band.
The original band members were Johnny McAllister, Big Bill Davis, Don White, Thorpe Westerfield, Clarence Etters, and Jane Bartlett. The last original 1934 Briarhopper, Don White, died in 2003.
Homer Drye joined the band in 1936 along with Billie Burton Daniel. In 1938 Roy Rogers asked Homer "Briarhopper" Drye to join his band and leave the Briarhoppers. Homer declined the invitation to remain with the Briarhoppers.
Homer Drye left in 1940 and landed in Raleigh and WPTF where he formed the Dixie Dudes, the Homer A. Briarhopper Band, and the Daybreak Gang which performed mornings on WRAL TV. Homer also founded the popular Briarhopper Club near Raleigh.
Billie Burton Daniel, who joined the group in 1936, is happy and well in Wilmington, NC. Since that time, The Briarhoppers' fans are/were Bill Monroe, Doc Watson, Earl Scruggs (who filled in on banjo a few times), Curly Seckler, Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, and many other entertainment stars.
In keeping with the tradition, the band kept going through the years by adding new musicians to those who left the station or who died. Today, Tom Warlick, Alana Flowers, Hannah Flowers, Dillon Flowers, Donnie Little, and Little Ellie Flowers keep the band alive, with their stage show including the old Briarhopper songs, new songs, and the original scripted commercials of Peruna, Kolor-Bak, Zymole Trokeys, and Radio Girl Perfume! Enjoy this site and learn about the Briarhoppers' storied past and the bright future that is ahead. Don't turn that dial...Hit's Briarhopper Time!
One of the most popular Briarhopper songs was "I Am Just As I Am" recorded at Decca in Charlotte on February 15, 1937. "Mr. McKinley" was recorded on July 9, 1938 at Decca in Charlotte. Recording notes mention Homer for the first song, but mentions Homer Brierhopper on vocals and guitar, Big Bill Davis on fiddle, and Johnny McAllister on guitar on the second song. Billie Briarhopper Burton Daniel said she remembered when the three of them slipped off to do some recording in Charlotte. No doubt that the two songs had the same performers. Too cool to hear two of the really original BHoppers...Davis and McAllister. They had some zing, by granny! Go to the below site. "I Am Just As I Am" will appear. Play it. Then hit "next song" to hear "Mr. McKinley." Enjoy!
Homer "Briarhopper" Drye
Biography by: Eugene Chadbourne
"I Am Just What I Am" was the name of one of his popular solo recordings.
He was born Homer Lee Drye and used the professional name of Homer Drye until he became involved in the early '30s with the Briarhoppers, an old-time string band originally created for radio broadcasts on WBT out of Charlotte. He was just one of many, many old-time and country pickers and singers involved with this group, which was still a working entity in the new millennium. But Drye was one of two early members of this group that absconded with something other than a few WBT royalty checks, as in the group's name.
He became Homer "Briarhopper" Drye after that, but despite the relatively high profile of the group, some of his recordings were issued under the name of Homer Brierhopper, while other recording companies further mutated the name to Horner Brierhopper. All of these variations are the same person; the only one who is not Homer Briarhopper is the early country artist Pappy Brierhopper, who was actually a chap named Johnny Macalester. His name is also spelled John McAllister in some Briarhopper research projects and it is assumed that Pappy Briarhopper was the real stage name he was trying for, record company typesetters notwithstanding.
The earliest studio photographs of the Briarhoppers display an extended Appalachian style string band, including a mandolinist whose instrument is almost bigger than he is, two fiddlers, a guitarist, an upright bassist, a banjoist, and a girl who seems to be holding a fife, although it could also be the sawed off barrel of a shotgun. Coming up with a complete list of Briarhoppers members was declared a statistical impossibility by the state of North Carolina and apparently figuring out who each of the musicians in the aforementioned picture is as well. Other members from this period include Clarence Etters, Jane Bartlett, Billie Burton, and Thorpe Westerfield.
Eventually, the lineup would become somewhat more consolidated behind the country duo of Whitey & Hogan, who wandered in from nearby Gastonia. These two players, Arval Hogan and Roy "Whitey" Grant, became closely associated with the Briarhoppers both in the early days and in a later reincarnation, and also had their own following as a duo. This was the course many early members of this group followed, including Drye, who began his recording career with various configurations of the Briarhoppers, then went on to cut some solo recordings for both Bluebird and Decca. His sides included tunes such as the inviting, fast-moving "Let's Ride That Plane" and the beautiful, "scentimental" "When the Roses Bloom." Making use of his broadcast experience, Homer Briarhopper spent his later years as the host of an early morning Raleigh television show, one of several charming if somewhat corny North Carolina performers of this ilk that also included Arthur "Boogie" Smith, Claude Casey, and Fred Kirby.
Stashing his bald head under a cowboy hat, the chubby and friendly Drye still sang and played guitar, but also served as an emcee, guiding members of the band and special guests through their featured spots. These shows, although less than appreciated at the time by the intelligentsia, are now considered to be an important part of the early country radio tradition in which just spinning records or reading news broadcasts was never considered entertaining enough and live bands were a regular feature.
Both Drye's show and the one hosted by Smith were shunted to the early mornings as a result of the major networks gobbling up more and more of their affiliates' time for their own programming. Thus Homer Briarhopper & the Daybreak Gang found itself playing to an audience of early risers and insomniacs. While old-time music scholars sometimes feel great pangs of guilt about such circumstances, it wasn't really that much different than the actual radio heyday when performers in towns such as Winston-Salem would stagger in to host shows beginning at six in the morning. The Daybreak Gang band was a sort of country repertory company playing classics, obscurities, current hits, and sometimes a gospel tune. The group also worked regularly at gigs around the area, a typical venue being a celebration marking the opening of a new mobile home lot. The group also worked regularly at gigs around the area, a typical venue being a celebration marking the opening of a new mobile home lot. In the '70s, the show was finally canceled. Veterans of this production include the fine alternative country performer Phil Lee, the drummer in this band at only 12 years old. Once off the air for good, Drye lived on another decade before passing away in the early '80s.
Drye performed with Eddy Arnold, Bill and Charlie Monroe, Roy Acuff, Loretta Lynn and Elvis Presley. Drye also frequented trips to Elvis's estate by invitation.
Drye was a singer, instrumentalist, television and radio star, disk jockey and night club operator. Drye retired in 1977. Homer passed away May 20, 1983.
During his tenure as a master entertainer in the Raleigh, NC, region, Homer "Briarhopper" Drye ruled the radio, TV, and live entertainment at his music club. From his childhood days on the Briarhopper radio show to his legendary status as a singer, picker, MC, recording artist, DJ, and friend to all of the Grand Ole Opry members and Elvis Presley, Homer was the Man in North Carolina's capital city.
Today the band is made of of 6 members...
Biography by: Eddie Drye
Born in Newberry, South Carolina in 1929, Richardson began playing music on a "Dollar Fiddle". At the age of sixteen Richardson convinced his father to purchase a second-hand steel guitar with no instructions on how to play it.
Richardson learned how to play the steel guitar and joined WAGA in Atlanta, Georgia. On May 23, 1949 Richardson joined the Briarhoppers. Richardson also performed on WBT's "Carolina Calling", which was heard cost-to-coast on CBS Radio.
Richardson and Author "Guitar Boogie" Smith on fiddle also recorded with the Johnson Family singers as part of the "Sunday Morning in Dixie" set.
Nat Richardson was a steel guitar player stayed close to the band even when he left the group.