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Locals win first place at fiddlers’ convention

The band Jakes From State Farm won first place at the 84th Galax Fiddlers Convention. Pictured, from left, Jordan Roberson, Aaron Foster, Adam Larkey, Josh Meade, Michael Perkins and Troy Boone.(Contributed photo)

By Richard Rourk

A group of Unicoi County natives recently brought another bluegrass award home.

Troy Boone and Adam Larkey, along with Aaron “Frosty” Foster, Jordan Roberson, Josh Meade and Michael Perkins, who make up the bluegrass group, “Jakes From State Farm,” took first place over more than 127 other bluegrass artists at the 84th Annual Galax Old Time Fiddlers’ Convention held Aug. 4-11.

According to Boone, winning at the Virginia competition was memorable.

“Winning Galax was very special,” Boone said. “We have placed in various configurations in years prior, but never expected to win first place. It was a very surreal moment.”

Jakes From State Farm almost missed the opportunity to claim first place, as the group decided to sign up for the competition last minute. “We decided to enter in order to get our camping money back and to have a good time,” Boone said. “If you compete in any competition you are refunded your camping fee for the week, so we really just had planned on having fun and then ending the week with some campsite jamming.”

Meade, who plays the banjo for the group, was the band member that pushed the band to compete.

“It was very ironic, because about 10 minutes before we decided to get in line to compete, we almost decided to just stay at the campsite and hang out, but Josh forced us to the line because he wanted to at least get his money back,” Boone said. “We are glad he did.”

Although the band members have other projects, they share a unique bond that has strengthened over time.

“I met Josh Meade and Aaron Foster in my early days at East Tennessee State University’s Bluegrass, Old-Time, and Country music program, and I started picking with Adam Larkey when I was probably 11 years old and had the pleasure of playing with The Larkey’s several times over the years,” Boone said. “I came to know Jordan Roberson (resophonic guitar) and Michael Perkins (upright bass) through Josh at the fiddlers’ convention.”

According to Boone, the group was able to pick up where they left off whenever they get together.

“I was welcomed to their camp in 2014 and have been camping with them ever since. Every year we get together throughout the year, but usually don’t play music until Galax fiddlers’ convention rolls around,” Boone said.

As for the band name, Boone explains that the band formed during the same time the popular commercial was in rotation on television.

“The band name was created three years ago when we needed a band name,” Boone said. “Josh was apparently watching TV and saw an infamous commercial, the rest was history.”

Although the band has a humorous name, they are serious about their craft and the artists that shaped them.

“At our roots, our influence started with first-generation bluegrass artists such as Bill Monroe and his Bluegrass Boys, Flatt and Scruggs, and The Stanley Brothers,” Boone said. “We all listen to other genres of music and I think that brings some unique sound to our configuration.” According to Boone, there are many artists who inspire the band. “Primary influences include The Bluegrass Album Band, J.D. Crowe and The New South, Alison Krauss and Union Station and several others,” Boone said.

The band would like to say thanks to everyone who has supported them throughout the years.

“We all have a wall of wonderful family support and a great network of friends,” Boone said. “Special thanks to Bluechip Picks, Peterson Tuners, D’Addario Strings, Wal-Mart, Duke’s Mayonnaise and Oscar Mayer Bologna.”

For more information on the band and for future dates, please follow Jakes From State Farm on Facebook and other social media outlets.