The Virginia Creepers love tunes and songs from Appalachia and beyond and have been playing old-time music in New Mexico for almost 30 years. Their repertoire includes weird, old, crooked tunes from exotic places like West Virginia and Kentucky, lively dance tunes that they play for squares and contras, and songs about hard times, trains, and whiskey, all ranging in age from the Civil War era and earlier to newer pieces in the old-time style. The band features Rick Olcott on guitar, Scott Mathis on mandolin, Laurie Phillips on mandola, Jane Phillips on fiddle, Marc Robert on bass and banjo, and Michel Robert on fiddle. All of them sing now and then. 

The band members have a combined total of well over 150 years of musical experience.  Based in Albuquerque, they play around NM and beyond for dances, parties, and festivals, and as soothing background music for the quiet and studious patrons of saloons and taverns.

 
           

Scott Mathis: mandolin
Scott started playing music in much the same way as most kids…band and orchestra in Junior High and High School (or Military School in his case). Sometime in 1966, he was invited to join a neighborhood rock band called “The Hereafter.” Later, after a road trip to Monterrey Pop, he helped form the infamous “Movin’ Henry Band” an innovative and edgy psychedelic band which lasted thru the 60’s. Settling down to raise a family, he didn’t return to play music until 1978, when a friend lent him a cheap mandolin. Bluegrass first, then Irish and finally Old-Time and Traditional music became his passions. Mandolin and the mandolin family of instruments are his instruments of choice.
He has played and recorded with some notable bands: Mr. Spray and the Tune Junkies, Goathaids, Bayou Seco, Virginia Creepers, Lost Woody, Soda Rock Ramblers and the Sandia Hots. His latest interest is playing the Guitarron with as many groups as will have him. Scott’s one word quote is “Buffet,” basically meaning “what a spread!”
 
           
 
Rick Olcott: guitar
Rick Olcott, a founding member of the Creepers, has been playing guitar since the waning days of the Folk Scare of the 60's. His earliest musical memories are of his mother singing "I Ride an Old Paint" and "St. James Infirmary" while she drove him to kindergarten. His mom was a fan of Mahalia Jackson, Billie Holiday and Josh White and these influences perhaps account for Rick's somewhat histrionic approach to the blues. His dad favored the Big Band sound. Gene Krupa's influence can still be heard in Rick's frequent breaking of strings. Both of Rick's parents were fans of the Kingston Trio, the Brothers Four and several other folk groups of the early and mid-60's. As soon as Rick and his brother could strum chords on their guitars, they were encouraged to play and sing loud and strong, even if they didn't know the tune too well. This tradition continues. Rick and his brother Bo (who has played guitar with the Fast Peso Stringband in Santa Fe, NM for the last twenty years) made several futile attempts to start a rock and roll band in their teen years, but they just couldn't get the right sound out of those nylon strings. In 1990, Rick stumbled into an old-time jam sponsored by the New Mexico Folk Music and Dance Society where he met Steve and Scott.
 
           
Laurie Phillips: mandolin, mandola
Laurence R. ("Laurie") Phillips has played mandolin and mandola with the Creepers since the turn of the century. He figured out chord structure and patterns on the piano at an early age and in the second half of the '60s began learning the guitar from tablature in a Beatles songbook. A few years later he acquired a Skillet Lickers record and began a pursuit of old-time music that continues to this day. Laurie began playing guitar with the Albuquerque Megaband in the early '80s and then took up the mandolin and mandola. Best music lesson so far: You don’t have to play exactly what the fiddler is playing. Current musical philosophy: The best jam is the one we're already in.
 
         
Jane Phillips: fiddle

Jane has been an emergency bass player for the Creepers in past years, and has been fiddling with the boys since aught-ten, ignoring the 'no girls' sign on the Creeper Clubhouse. She likes crooked tunes, straight whiskey, and short walks on the beach.

 
           
 

Marc Robert: bass, banjo

Marc can't decide what to do. He learned how to play the banjo from Wayne Shrubsall back in the 90's and had a fun run with the legendary Deming Fusiliers. He's playing guitar and tenor banjo with an Irish fiddler under the alias "Far From Home" and frailing banjo and guitar with Michel Robert (see below) sub nom "Littlefoot".  He somehow found himself playing bass and banjo for the Creepers along the way. He practices law to support his music habits; he suspects that he was recruited in order to have a lawyer on the team, just in case.

 

 
           
 
Michel Robert: fiddle
Michel Robert caught the old time bug early in life listening to his dad (Marc) and fiddler Rus Bradburd play tunes together. Started playing the violin with the middle school orchestra when he was 13. Played classical music all throughout high school making the New Mexico all state orchestra his junior and senior years. Learned old time fiddle from Rus over the same time period. Played with the Creepers at a local jam for a few years before joining the band.

 

 

Band history can be found here.