Rumpke Mountain Boys bring ‘Infamous Trashgrass’ to Boone

By Derek Halsey (

Article Published: Dec. 12, 2013 | Modified: Dec. 14, 2013
Rumpke Mountain Boys bring ‘Infamous Trashgrass’ to Boone

The Rumpke Mountain Boys hail from the Queen City.

No, they are not from Charlotte but instead are from the other Queen City — Cincinnati, Ohio.

The Rumpke Mountain Boys, who are new to the High Country and will be playing at Murphy’s Restaurant & Pub on Friday, Dec. 13, are one of the premier progressive bluegrass bands in the Midwest. The group is named after the highest point in Hamilton County, where Cincinnati is located.

Oddly enough, with the elevation of the area averaging around 500 feet, the tallest piece of ground there is the massive Rumpke Garbage Dump, hence the tongue-in-cheek name.

The members of the Rumpke Mountain Boys include Ben Gurley on mandolin, Jason Wolf on banjo, Adam Copeland on guitar and J.D. Westmoreland on bass. Their latest album is called “Moon.”

The Rumpke Mountain Boys represent a continuation of the newgrass scene that was spawned in the early 1970s. This open-minded approach to bluegrass music puts the group in the same category as Yonder Mountain String Band, the Infamous Stringdusters, Larry Keel and Natural Bridge and Greensky Bluegrass. At any time, the Rumpke Mountain Boys can play songs ranging from grassed up Pink Floyd fare to an old Charlie Poole number to their numerous original tunes.

“We try to keep our influences as wide as possible,” Gurley said. “There is a song that we do, called ‘Road Regrets,’ written by Dan Mangan, who is this guy that I have never heard another song by. He’s a Canadian songwriter. Then, of course, our influences go all of the way down to the Grateful Dead, where I studied their smallest details. Wolf and Adam are huge John Hartford fanatics, and they have delved into the deeper parts of his repertoire. J.D. is into everything, from Motown soul all of the way to original bluegrass and old-time music.”

Gurley and crew are having a great time traveling around the country and performing, especially at festivals in the warmer times of the year, as well as newer venues for the band, like Murphy’s. The Rumpke Mountain Boys are hoping to follow the success of groups like Yonder Mountain, which have taken it to the next level.

“I love it, man,” Gurley said about touring. “I couldn’t ask for more. It’s all I ever wanted to do. I’d love to play for (the crowds that Yonder Mountain draws) every night. In fact, looking back, it is pretty crazy, because I walk into a Yonder Mountain show now, and it is amazing. I remember seeing them at the Southgate House in Cincinnati, and the capacity there was 350 people or so. Then, years later, I went to see them, and they had sold out the Madison Theater (in northern Kentucky), which holds several thousand people. I was like, ‘Wow. Man, that is the potential. That is what we can work for.’ I’d love to be at that point some day.”

And the High Country can help them get there. The Rumpke Mountain Boys’ Dec. 13 show starts at 10:30 p.m. at Murphy’s, located at 747 W. King St. in downtown Boone. Cover costs $5. For more information, visit

Additional Images

The Rumpke Mountain Boys feature Ben Gurley on mandolin, Jason Wolf on banjo, Adam Copeland on guitar and J.D. Westmoreland on bass.
Photos submitted

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