quiltbf Photograph by Mark Alexander

Russ and Barb Childers have been singing and playing music together as BEAR FOOT since 1983, when they appeared together in an off-Broadway production called “Close Harmonies” celebrating Appalachian poetry, music, and dance. They arrived at the musical present by different paths – Russ through years of playing music with various groups such as Company Comin’ and the Cincinnati Dancing Pigs – and Barb through dance. She was a founding member of an Appalachian clogdance trio called The Dancin’ Fools and editor of a clogdance newsletter called The Footnoter. Together they have conducted children’s workshops in games, dance, and song; have participated in school programs on Appalachian music and dance; have taken part in storytelling programs, and have taught clogdancing workshops. Russ’s ancestors settled in the Appalachian mountains in the early 1800s, while Barb’s family stayed in New England and later the Ohio Valley. However, one of her Scots relatives strayed into eastern Kentucky, and that’s where she figures the love of mountain music comes from! Both of the Childers spent their childhoods listening to their parents tell stories… and singing… and dancing. And now it’s time to pass it on… BEAR FOOT asks you to join them as they whisk you away to another time and another place. With Russ on banjo or fiddle and Barb on guitar, washboard, spoons, paperbags, and even feet, share the music, stories, games, songs, and dances of the Appalachian Mountains as it was in the time before television. Imagine…!

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Barb and Russ Childers - Bear Foot

Click this link to hear a sample home recording of Bear Foot performing McMichen’s Reel - A Skillet Lickers tune played by Bear Foot (Russ and Barb Childers) at the 2001 Breakin’ Up Winter Festival in Lebanon TN. and recorded by on vintage cylinder recording equipment by Martin Fisher. Russ, fiddle; Barb, banjo uke

BarbRussT Photograph by Mark Alexander

scarybf Photograph by Rick Helmes