Povertyneck Hillbillies

About Povertyneck Hillbillies

Pittsburgh, PA, may not seem like much of a town for country music, but don't tell the Povertyneck Hillbillies that -- their rough and rowdy blend of country sound and rock & roll attitude was born and bred in Dawson, less than 40 miles from Pittsburgh, and fans in the Steel City have helped them become one of the fastest rising new acts in country. The band was formed in 2000, when fiddle player Chris Higbee met like-minded music fan Chris "Abby" Abbondanza, who had some experience as a singer. The two started talking about playing music, and through mutual friends a band came together, with the addition of David Guthrie on guitar, Dave Cramer on keyboards, Jeff Volek on bass and accordion, Bob "Crafty" Crafton on pedal steel, and Ryan Lucotch on drums. The band began playing local bars around their hometown of Dawson, but it was when the group started making their way into Pittsburgh that things really started to click. They became a potent attraction in Pittsburgh clubs and won some very valuable fans in the NFL's Pittsburgh Steelers; after playing for fans before several games, they were adopted as the official band of the Steelers, often performing the national anthem or entertaining at halftime, and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger appeared in the video for the group's song "Mr. Right Now." In 2005, the band's self-released debut recording (featuring the song "The Hillbilly Way") sold 2,100 copies in Pittsburgh in its first week in stores, and eventually moved 30,000 by the end of the year. The band's massive regional popularity and growing national reputation attracted the attention of independent Nashville label Rust Records, who signed the Povertyneck Hillbillies and released their self-titled debut album in the summer of 2006. The band began hitting the road to spread the word outside of Pennsylvania; by the end of 2006, Crafton had parted ways with the Hillbillies as the group blocked out plans for their second album. ~ Mark Deming

    Dawson, PA

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