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Band Members


Nancy & Bill Sluys

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Nancy Sluys has been playing traditional music since 1973 when she acquired a mandolin and started attending bluegrass festivals. In 1974 she happened upon the Galax Fiddler’s Convention in Virginia and discovered the haunting sounds of old time music. Taking up the clawhammer banjo she quickly mastered it and returned year after year to Galax eventually winning first place in 1995,2002 and 2004. She has also won prizes at most of the major fiddlers conventions in the south including 2nd at Clifftop and 1st at Elk Creek, Fries & Mount Airy. While living in Florida she met her husband to be, Bill Sluys and started the Horsehair and Catgut String band. The only old time band in South Florida, at the time. Horsehair & Catgut played from 1979 to 1983. Nancy alternated on banjo and fiddle in the band while Bill brought up the bottom end on the washtub bass. While traveling to Virginia in the early 80s Bill whipped the bass competition at both the Mountain City and Independence fiddler’s conventions winning first place and beating out all the upright bass players with his washtub. In 1983 Nancy & Bill were married and soon moved to Greenville North Carolina where they joined the Too Wet to Plow String Band with fiddler Earl White. They played many concerts and dances in Eastern North Carolina and were the house band for the Green Grass Cloggers home team. In 1985 Bill and Nancy moved to the musically rich area of Mount Airy, NC and soon after formed the Pilot Mountain Bobcats with Nancy playing fiddle, Jacki Spector on banjo, Allin Cottrill on guitar and Bill playing an aluminum upright bass. The Bobcats have become well known in the area for their hard driving traditional style and danceable rhythm. From 2000-2003, in addition to the Bobcats, Nancy and Bill were members of the progressive old time band, Man Alive! with Joe Thrift and David Long. Nancy took up the banjo duties with Bill on the bass. Nancy & Bill continue to play with the Pilot Mountain Bobcats. Bill has recently opened Minglewood Recording Studio and is currently working a new Bobcat recording as well as recording for other bands. Nancy also recorded a project in the studio called Best of Friends Volume One featuring a combination of musicians accompanying her clawhammer banjo playing. Nancy Sluys’ Discography ** “The Pilot Mountain Bobcats” - Tape – Bobville Productions #BC94 Recorded 1994
** ”A tribute to the Appaliachian Stringband Music Festival” - Compilation appearing with The Pilot Mountain Bobcats - CD & Tape Chubby Dragon - 1994
** ”Galax 59th Annual Old Fiddlers Convention” - Compilation appearing with The Pilot Mountain Bobcats
“Galax 60th Annual Old Fiddler’s Convention” – Compilation. Nancy on Clawhammer Banjo
** ”Galax 61st Annual Old Fiddlers Convention” - Compilation appearing with The Pilot Mountain Bobcats
** ”Galax 68th Annual Old Fiddlers Convention” - Compilation appearing with The Pilot Mountain Bobcats
** “Dance by the Light of the Moon” The Pilot Mountain Bobcats. Yodel-Ay-Hee # 026 recorded in 1999
“Two Traditions” Nancy guest stars on this progressive CD produced by percussionist Jim Roberts and also featuring the Horseflies. Recorded in 1997 & 1999
“Dandy Tunes & Banjo Friends” With fiddler Jerry Correll. Nancy guests on clawhammer banjo. Heritage Records HRC#1290 Recorded in 2000
**“Ever What You Want” Man Alive! Yodel-Ay-Hee #035 Recorded in 2001
“Les Pick” Wayne Henderson. Nancy is a guest banjo player. Hay Holler #HH-CD-1357 Recorded in 2002
** “Lady of the Lake” The Pilot Mountain Bobcats. Yodel-ay-Hee To be released in the spring of 2005
** With Bill Sluys


Allin Cottrell

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Allin Cottrell was born and raised in Scotland, but moved to North Carolina in 1983. He teaches economics at Wake Forest University, but can often be found playing old-time backup guitar or blues guitar (and, when the opportunity arises, Cajun accordion). Allin first heard, and fell in love with, old-time string-band music via County Records re-releases of the classic recordings from the 1920s and '30s, when these became available in Scotland around the mid-1970s. Shortly afterwards, he was inspired to learn guitar. After moving to NC, he was for many years guitarist with the Piedmont Hepcats (Ted Ehrhart, fiddle; Joe Newberry, banjo; Susie Crate, bass), a band which won a bunch of prizes at the Fiddlers' Grove festival and elsewhere. After moving to Winston-Salem in 1989 he joined the Pilot Mountain Bobcats. The Bobcats have played countless dances, fiddlers' conventions and radio shows in North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia, and have garnered many prizes over the years. Allin and his fiddlin' wife, Nancy Crooks, have appeared at various events in NC (including WPAQ, Mount Airy) as the Camel City Sheiks (sometimes including banjo players extraordinaire Todd Woerner or Tom Mylet). The Sheiks play string-band rags, blues, and "obscure" music from Mississippi and Alabama


Jacki Spector

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Jackie Spector has been playing music since the age of three when she first sat down in front of a piano. At 14 she took up the guitar and got her first banjo in 1972, and was hooked on Old-Time music from that point on. She has performed with various dance bands through the years, including her present band, the Pilot Mountain Bobcats from Mt. Airy, North Carolina, who she has played with since 1989. She particularly likes the role of old-time banjo for accompaniment of fiddle tunes and in the dance band. She has been teaching music in one form or the other for over 30 years.