The WBT Briarhoppers and the Smithsonian!

On July 26 and 28, 2012, there will be two events involving the WBT Briarhoppers at the McCelvey Center, York, SC! 

As stated on the Cultural and Heritage Museum website ( ) "(t)he McCelvey Center will explore America’s roots music as it hosts the local showing of New Harmonies: Celebrating American Roots Music, a Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition. New Harmonies will be on view beginning June 16, 2012 and continuing through July, 2012."

On July 26, Tom Warlick will discuss the Briarhoppers history with photos, audio, and music, and will discuss the writing of "The WBT Briarhoppers - Eight Decades of a Bluegrass Band Made for Radio."  This begins at 7PM and is free to the public.  Books, t-shirts, etc., will be on sale.

On the July 28 New Harmonies' finale, "An Evening with the WBT Briarhoppers," the band will take to the stage and perform an old-time radio show similar to "Briarhopper Time" that ran on WBT from 1934 to 1951.  Acclaimed guitarist/banjoist/singer Donnie Little will be performing with the WBT Briarhoppers.  The show starts at 7PM.  Tickets available at the door | $12 CHM Members, $15 non-members.

For more information, contact Michael Scoggins at or 803.684.3948 ext. 3.

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The Legendary Briarhoppers!

In 1934, a potential advertiser called WBT's Charles Crutchfield to ask if the station had a hillbilly band to help advertise its products. Telling a fib, Crutch said "Yes," which led to the birth of the Briarhoppers. The name comes from WBT announcer Bill Bivens who, during a hunting trip with Crutch, was startled by a rabbit jumping out of a thicket, and Bill yelled, "Look at that briarhopper!" At that moment, Crutch found the name for his hillbilly band.

The original band members were Johnny McAllister, Big Bill Davis, Don White, Thorpe Westerfield, Clarence Etters, and Jane Bartlett. The last original 1934 Briarhopper, Don White, died in 2003. Billie Burton Daniel, who joined the group in 1936, is happy and well in Wilmington, NC. Since that time, The Briarhoppers' fans are/were Bill Monroe, Doc Watson, Earl Scruggs (who filled in on banjo a few times), Curly Seckler, Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, and many other entertainment stars.

In keeping with the tradition, the band kept going through the years by adding new musicians to those who left the station or who died. Today, Alana Flowers and Tom Warlick head the band with their stage show including the old Briarhopper songs, new songs, and the original scripted commercials of Peruna, Kolor-Bak, Zymole Trokeys, and Radio Girl Perfume! Enjoy this site and learn about the Briarhoppers' storied past and the bright future that is ahead. Don't turn that dial...Hit's Briarhopper Time!