Since his first mandolin lesson, Strickland has gone on to win prestigious awards such as 1st place mandolin in 2004 and 2008 at the Old Fiddlers' Convention held in Galax, VA. 1st place in the 2005 Merle Watson Mandolin Championship held at MerleFest, as well as the "Best All Around Performer" award at the 2004 Galax Old Fiddlers' Convention. Strickland has also won numerous other blue ribbons from fiddler's conventions he has attended since childhood.
In the fall of 2004, Spencer began an apprenticeship through the Virginia Folklife Program with guitar and mandolin builder, Gerald Anderson. The apprenticeship, in turn, led to a partnership business known as Anderson & Strickland String Instruments.
Together, Gerald Anderson and Spencer Strickland made up the performing act "Anderson-Strickland". The two friends still perform together occasionally to this day.
Today, Spencer works for himself under the name of "Strickland String Instruments", and has built over 40 guitars, 10 mandolins, and assisted Gerald Anderson in the making of over 100 instruments.
In August of 2009, Spencer began playing professionally for the award winning Kenny & Amanda Smith Band, and toured the roads for over two years as the band's mandolin player.
To date, Strickland has opened his case to perform as far from his SW Virginia home as Scotland, Ireland, Canada, England, Wales, and many other venues across the United States.
In March of 2013, Spencer joined “The Church Sisters”, playing mandolin, rhythm guitar, fiddle, and harmony vocals.
“ I would highly recommend Spencer; if you’re looking for a guitar or mandolin with that good ole southwest Virginia sound sought after by so many, he’s right up there with Gerald Anderson and Wayne Henderson.”
by Chris Testerman