Larry Sigmon was born in Callaway, Virginia on September 2nd, 1947. His father, Lewis Eldridge Sigmon, was a banjo player and fiddle player. Larry started off on the harmonica at a young age, easily picking up tunes. Then he moved on to the guitar, learning to play by backing up his father. He finally took up the banjo around age 15, which later became his main instrument. He was known for his good driving, dance rhythm and full sound on the banjo. His first band was with the Sugar Hill Ramblers, a six-piece group that played for a lot of dances, performing old time tunes to old country numbers. The band played together for six years. Then Larry went on to play with Carl Scott and then Richard Bowman for a year.
In the late 80s, Larry met Barbara Poole at a fiddlers’ convention. Impressed with her bass playing style, they began performing together in 1989. They backed each other up in contests, winning countless ribbons in the banjo, bass and folk song competitions. Then, they began performing out at festivals, dances and other concert venues. Their “unique sound” with just the banjo, bass and Larry’s distinct singing attracted a lot of attention and gained them quite a following. Their shows always drew big crowds, and they were a favorite among flatfooters because of their strong rhythm dance beat. Dancers would follow them wherever they played and the floors would always be full. Larry & Barbara drew upon a wide variety of repertoire of old time and bluegrass songs from Charlie Poole to Wade Mainer to Jimmy Martin to Stringbean or Bill Monroe, whilst putting their own spin on the songs with Larry’s strong vocals, and Barbara’s double-slap bass. Throughout their 18 year career, they performed at such places as the Carter Family Fold, the Grand Ole Opry, Lebanon Banjo Gathering, and bluegrass and mountain music festivals all throughout Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky, West Virginia, Georgia, Florida, and Tennessee. Larry & Barbara were one of the most popular bands in the Blue Ridge Mountains throughout the 90s-2000s. They played together until Barbara passed away in 2008 after a long battle with cancer. Larry hasn’t performed out much since then. He keeps busy on his farm in Callaway with his wife, Linda.
Larry Sigmon & Barbara Poole recorded 7 albums together, which got a lot of airplay on the radio with numbers like “Frankie and Johnny”, “Girl from Tennessee”, “Run Little Rabbit Run”, “Seven Cent Cotton”, “Stray Dog Joe”, and “Pretty Little Widow”. Their cds are available through Larry or Linda Sigmon (email firstname.lastname@example.org or call # 540-483-0791) or at County Sales.
Special thanks to Larry & Linda Sigmon for doing the interview and providing photos and video clips through the years. And thanks to Chris Testerman and Jackson Cunningham for assisting in filming, and Chris Testerman for taking some of the photos below. Also, thanks to Thornton and Emily Spencer for help during the editing process, and to Jojo Godfrey for assistance with photos.