Sound Samples & Videos


During the time that he lived in Washington, DC, Paul Brown was my regular music buddy.  We played out occasionally as a duo, and we had a great time playing out as The Mostly Mountain Boys,with Paul (on fiddle, banjo, guitar & vocals), Terri McMurray (on banjo, banjo-uke & vocals), and me (on guitar & vocals).  


My newest band, The Sunny Mountain Serenaders, features two of Virginia's very finest old-time musicians, Mark Campbell and Mac Traynham.  Just so you know, Mark took 1st Place in fiddle at Clifftop in 2000, and Mac is a perennial ribbon-winner at festivals and conventions including Clifftop, Galax, and others.  Together, we play traditional songs and tunes from all over the Southeast, with an emphasis on the old Virginia repertoire.  Fiddle, banjo, guitar, harmonica, and plenty of singing!  Check out our CD, "Into Thin Hair"!

The Mostly Mountain Boys take Mt. Airy by storm!


"Lonesome Road Blues," played by Paul and John for a fundraiser at public radio station WAMU and


I've been buddies with Whitt Mead for many years, but in the last few years our musical partnership has really taken off.   We've been traveling – from Alaska to Florida and place in between – and collaborating on workshops and concerts.  Want us to play a gig in your neighborhood?  Give us a shout!  We love that old Kentucky repertoire, and we're really fond of tunes from the Midwest and from Mississippi.  Especially in those pesky flatted keys!


Whitt and John admire their latest wax cylinder recording! (Thanks to Martha Burns for the photo.)


Slide show: Brasstown, NC concert (photos by Walter Birdwell); trip to Alaska; interview for Art Rosenbaum's radio show. All in 2015!


"Mississippi Echoes," by Whitt Mead & John Schwab

Wax cylinder recording by Martin Fisher.

The Hoover Uprights, ca. 2005


The Mostly Mountain Boys play "Rockhouse Gambler" at the Santa Fe Bluegrass & Old-Time Music Festival.

The Hoover Uprights were together as a band from early 1993 until I moved to North Carolina in 2016.  We began as a quartet, with Bill Schmidt (fiddle and occasional banjo), Kate Brett (banjo), Kevin Enoch (banjo-uke, bass, and what-have-you), and me (guitar).  But it didn't take long before we made the acquaintance of harmonica player extraordinaire Dave Rice, and he became the Hoover Uprights' blower attachment right on the spot!

The Hoovers won 1st Place in the traditional band competition at Clifftop in 2001 and again in 2003.  Lightning struck twice....!

The Sunny Mountain Serenaders: John Schwab, Mark Campbell and Mac Traynham (l to r)

"Shoo Fly," from the Hoovers' Clifftop concert, 2004

"Twin Sisters," from the Clifftop 2004 CD

(Chubby Dragon)

"Boatin' Up Sandy," from the 2003 Clifftop

traditional band finals

"Irish Reel," from the 2003 Clifftop traditional band finals

"Rocky Mountain Goat," by Paul & John

"Lake Erie" (from John Sharp), by Paul & John

"Old-Time Step Back Cindy," by Paul & John.

"Lexington," by Paul & John.

"Walking in My Sleep," by

The Mostly Mountain Boys

"Shady Grove," by The Mostly Mountain Boys


"Old Cow Crossing the Road," from Bert Edwards. Played by Whitt Mead and John Schwab at the 2015 Georgia String Band Festival.

"Money in Both Pockets," played by The Sunny Mountain Serenaders for Gene Bowlen's "Concerts With a View" series.

"Reuben," played at Clifftop by The Sunny Mountain Serenaders plus Mike Resnick (mandolin). Featuring Reuben & Daisy!

© 2019 John M. Schwab