By Michael Howlett Staff Writer
October 11, 2013
Pike City, a bluegrass group composed of a trio of Carroll County teens, has just released its first CD, entitled “Ready to Go.” Since recording the CD, the group of Karissa Hayden and brothers Zeb and Tony Hicks have added a fourth member, fiddler Becca Miller, 16.
The group won a 38-hour recording contract during a Voice of the Blue Ridge competition in March at the Rex Theatre in Galax. They used up all their time in recording the CD, but both Hicks brothers agreed it was well worth it.
“It took longer than we expected, but most importantly, we’re glad to get in a recording studio and get that experience,” said Tony.
“There were a lot of nerves going in, but when we got there it was actually a lot of fun,” added Zeb.
Tony describes the group’s sound as “new grass.” It’s got a newer sound than bluegrass,” he said.
Both brothers began playing back in 2009; however, Zeb, 17, said the banjo didn’t come as easily to him as the guitar did to Tony, 15.
“For me, learning to play the banjo took a lot of work, but for Tony playing the guitar just comes naturally,” he said.
Zeb, who also sings, is the spokesperson of the group. He was awarded a scholarship by the Houstonfest Committee this year.
Tony plays both rhythm and lead guitar in addition to singing. Last year, he took first place in the Galax Fiddlers Convention and was awarded the Jesse Level Trophy for Outstanding Guitarist. This year he has been awarded scholarships from the Houstonfest Committee as well as the Wayne C. Henderson Foundation.
Karissa, 17, plays the standup bass and is the group’s lead singer. She had first-place finishes two straight years at the Alleghany Fiddlers Convention and last year was asked to perform at the Fiddle and the Plow with Willard Gayheart and Scott Freeman, who were celebrating their business becoming an official Crooked Road Affiliated Venue. She received a Houstonfest scholarship earlier this year.
Karissa, whose first instrument was the piano, played in a group prior to joining Pike City. Although she didn’t originally like bluegrass music, she said “I love bluegrass now.”
All three teens devote time to helping others. Zeb is a counselor at Mt. View Bible Camp, while Tony and Karissa volunteer each year at a camp for people with special needs and participate in the Special Olympics.
Becca, 16, plays the fiddle and sings.