Ramblin' on: Local music icon takes the stage at Fridays
If humility is a virtue, local bluegrass icon Jamie Dyer is swimming in it. Before even considering answering any questions about his long-running Americana band, the Hogwaller Ramblers, he enthusiastically peppers a reporter with questions of his own. Arguably one of the most interesting people in town– ask him a question on any local topic and don't be surprised to get a deep, poignant, or satire-spewed response– Dyer and his Ramblers have been a fixture in the local music scene for decades.
"I am the luckiest musician in the world," Dyer says. "I get to write songs and play my songs, unmolested and undisturbed."
Whether or not luck had anything to do with it, Dyer jumped into the music scene twenty years ago, playing on the Downtown Mall with a group of friends. While the band's membership has fluctuated throughout the years, Dyer's passion for making down-home Americana has not. The Ramblers' current lineup includes a variety of musical backgrounds and influences – including a classically-trained violinist and a country-blues guitarist – which all mesh to create something Dyer is only willing to call simply "American music."
Dyer's vision for the band has never wavered: it's always been about good friends making good music, and nothing more. Cross-country tours and high-profile record labels don't interest him. Similarly, if you ask him about his legendary stature in the local music scene– Dyer has been involved in local music since before the Dave Matthews Band hit it big– he brushes it aside. "My only motivation has been that I want to play music with my friends," Dyer says.
When they're not at Fridays After Five, the Hogs have a long-running Sunday night residency at Fellini's and a new afternoon gig at Maya in the works. After Fridays, the band will play at the Bristol Rhythm and Roots Festival in September and the Crozet Music Festival in October. In between, Dyer promises he'll be "playing in my living room most every night." Possibly forever.