Born into a well-known musical family from Patrick County Virginia, Richard was the youngest of 8 kids. His mom and dad played the autoharp, and his dad also played some clawhammer banjo.
The first fiddle he can remember hearing was Tommy Jarrell on the radio, and he thought, “Well, man, that really does sound good. I believe I could learn to play that, if I had a fiddle.” Turns out he lived 12 miles from Jarrell, so he started spending some time with him, picking up tunes and his style. Richard also learned from Ernest East, Benton Flippen, and Kyle Creed, before he became the champion old time fiddler he is today.
Over the years he has won both individual and band competitions at many fiddler’s conventions including Galax, Mt. Airy and Fiddler’s Grove. His band, The Slate Mountain Ramblers, have been a mainstay of the dance and festival culture in central and western North Carolina and southwest Virginia for three decades.