The Blue Ridge Music Trails salutes Billy Constable, the master bluegrass musician from Spruce Pine, North Carolina who passed away on August 22, 2015 at the age of fifty-six. Billy grew up in a very musical family – the Wiseman family of Avery County – and began his professional career early touring with bluegrass great Charlie Moore. Accomplished on banjo, guitar, mandolin, and violin, Billy performed and toured with many bands over the years, including the Doug Dillard Band, The Constables, Acoustic Forum, Max Creek, Hypnotic Clambake, Big Daddy Bluegrass, The Larry Keel Experience, Leftover Salmon, and the String Cheese Incident.
Billy's approach to the banjo was firmly rooted in Appalachian string music, but it could be deceptively eclectic. His influences began at home and with his family, but Billy's repertoire was vast, and he was comfortable in most musical situations.
Here’s a video of a young Billy Constable tearing it up on guitar at a festival in 1979. Billy appears in the video at 1:51 after solos by Doug Dillard and Byron Berline.