Collage of indivual photos below.  

The Virginia Creepers love tunes and songs from Appalachia and beyond and have been playing old-time music in New Mexico for 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, 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. 

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. The Creepers hosted a weekly old-time jam at Tractor Brewing in Nob Hill for over 7 years, until the pandemic shutdowns. They continued the tradition with virtual jam-along sessions on Facebook Live, racking up over 50 of them before returning to the in-person jams in 2022. During the pandemic era they also finished a recording project that was started just before the COVID closures, and their long-awaited CD was released into the wild on March 17, 2022. (Promo blurbs here.)

Rick, playing guitar.  
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 since the early 1980s) 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 soon-to-be Creepers Steve, Peter, and Scott (see band history, link at bottom of page).
Jane, looking totally elegant in a fake black mustache.  

Jane Phillips: fiddle

Jane was an emergency bass player for the Creepers in past years, and has been fiddling with the boys since aught-ten, ignoring the legendary 'no girls' sign on the Creeper Clubhouse. Her past bands include Flagpole Salad, Hey!, Peanut Stringband, and the short-lived but memorable Ice Cold NuGrapes and Della Patchy & the Boss Keys. She likes crooked tunes, straight whiskey, and short walks on the beach.

Laurie, playing a mandola.  

Laurie Phillips: mandola

Laurence ("Laurie") Phillips has been playing mandola and mandolin with the Creepers since the turn of the century. Likes playing tunes he doesn’t know with people he knows and tunes he knows with people he doesn’t know. And combinations thereof. Won’t say no to a wee drop outside at night with the mandola and people playing tunes.

Marc, playing upright bass.  

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, wearing a big smile.  

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.

 

You can find some fascinating band history here.