The Biscuit Burners

The Biscuit Burners are a bluegrass band from Weaverville, North Carolina (United States).


The Biscuit Burners were established in 2004 around the exceptional dobro playing of Billy Cardine. Originally from Northern Virginia, he had developed a regional following in Central Virginia, and was a dobro instructor of note. He appeared regularly with the Charlottesville bluegrass phenomenon Walker's Run, also performing in such "side projects" as Slamgate which he started with Zack Blatter, the bass player for Walker's Run. The two were roommates in a country home on Slamgate Road just outside Charlottesville. Mary Lucey, originally from Fredericksburg, Virginia, had also performed with Walker's Run.

They were quickly praised by Aerosmith's Joe Perry who gushed in a Associated Press interview July 2005:

The last (band) I heard that blew me away was The Biscuit Burners.

The core members of the original band were Billy Cardine (resophonic guitar), Dan Bletz (acoustic guitar), Mary Lucey (bass) and Shannon Whitworth (clawhammer banjo). (Billy Cardine and Mary Lucey were later to marry, and are now the parents of a baby boy). John Stickley was featured on mandolin on many occasions, but has since left the group. Shannon Whitworth was a major presence on the first three albums, both as songwriter and alternating lead vocalist with Mary Lucey. Her departure for a solo career led to significant changes in the band's performance repertoire. Wes Corbett toured with the band as banjoist in 2007, but did not become a permanent member. The three remaining members of the original quartet have been augmented by Odessa Jorgensen on fiddle. She is also a singer and songwriter who has made a strong contribution to the current album.


In 2006, The Biscuit Burners appeared in over 130 concerts nationwide including: Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago, Freight and Salvage in Berkeley, The Birchmere in Alexandria, Virginia, and Merlefest. Their appearance at the Bonnaroo festival in 2007 was depicted on The History Channel's "Our Generation".

They have appeared at the historic Ryman Auditorium with Vassar Clements and Rhonda Vincent.

The Biscuit Burners have appeared on BBC World's "Destination Music", National Public Radio's "Mountain Stage", XM's "Bluegrass Junction", and PBS' "Roadtrip Nation". They've also received coverage in such trade magazines as Singer & Musician, Bluegrass Unlimited, Dirty Linen, and American Songwriter

Distinctions and awards


“(The) music is intimate, elegant, warm, and intricate, played by musicians that are committed to acoustic instruments. The Biscuit Burners have found a voice that is haunting and totally their own.” - Reading Eagle, July 2007

"Honest music, deliberately crafted, stunningly presented... As the gentlemen churn the musical waters with speedy sixteenth-note runs, the ladies smooth the surface with vocals that are sometimes lifting, sometimes haunting, and always distinct." - Marquee Magazine, 2005

"The Biscuit Burners somehow sound relaxed even on fast numbers like 'Mountain Lily' or their up-tempo instrumental, 'Autry’s Peach Orchard,' and when they get into a slower ballad, their sound becomes downright hypnotic." - Chicago Tribune, December 2004

“They have a captivatingly unique sound that’s all their own, yet rich with heritage and culture. Their music is a breath of fresh air in this stale period of lifeless pop music culture.” – Singer & Musician Magazine, February 2006

“The result is a brand of bluegrass as clean and smooth as a mountain stream.” - American Songwriter, Nov / Dec 2005

"The Biscuit Burners call their product "fiery mountain music," and while these expert pickers can make tunes burn with white-lightning heat, their ballads are their real strength. If loneliness and heartbreak had a soundtrack, The Biscuit Burners would record it.

Odessa Jorgensen and Mary Lucey would sing, backed up by a plaintive guitar and Billy Cardine's soul-straining cries on the dobro.

At least in this regard, the band, which also includes Dan Bletz, might actually be more traditional than bluegrass itself.

Their sound is reminiscent of the turn-of-the-century blues and folk music of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and for good reason; the band has a great love of those hills and their history.

'It's just mountain music,' Lucey said, 'We're mainly influenced by the folk music and the nature around us.'" - ''The Free Lance-Star, June 7 2007


In early 2004 they began an Appalachian Roots Music Schools Program, where they present the heritage of mountain music along with its techniques and etiquette. The program is designed to give school children a sense of the richness of the American bluegrass tradition, how the music came to be what it is through changing times, and how it is a uniquely American contribution to the world music scene. They want the children of today to know the story of Appalachia. As the band states:

Our devotion towards roots music and our love of children inspired us to create a program that would trace the evolution of old time music into bluegrass and the story of the people behind it.



Articles, reviews, notices


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External links

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