We started out as a family band from Nelson County, Va. Two of my brothers, Michael and Kenneth, have been playing together since they were kids. It all started when Michael got a guitar and Kenneth got a mandolin for Christmas. Soon after, my brothers started playing with other family members and friends.
In 2002, I got married and I asked them to play at my wedding. My brother Wendell joined in, a friend of the family, Carroll Turner helped on bass and Tom Hogge (then with the Courtney Hollow Band) helped on banjo. I joined them in a song to remember our dad who passed away in 1999. Our father was not one for flowers or poems, but instead a man who loved God, Bluegrass music and family. What better tribute than a family band preaching, praying and singing!
We practiced for months and once the wedding was over, we really didn’t want to stop! We continued to get together and make Bluegrass music, occasionally doing some benefits. When contacted to perform for a benefit, we realized we lacked a name. At this point, we were just family and friends who loved to get together, cut up, eat some homemade food, and play some music. However, thanks to a good friend of the family, and Michael’s very witty wife, the James River Cut-Ups were formed.
In the spring of 2010, we were so pleased to have Jered Gillispie join us. You HAVE to come out and hear him pick that banjo Stanley style!! He came into the band and it was the perfect fit.
In 2013, we added fiddle player Ellen Snyder. Since adding her, our sound just filled out.
Bass player Bill Collins joined us in the summer of 2015. Collins. Bill added the sound of a veteran bluegrass player. Unfortunately, Bill left in the Fall of 2016 due to a change in his job. We are fortunate to have some very talented people come and sit in with us on gigs so you never know who you will see!
We love to play the music and entertain. We are available for private parties, benefits, festivals and any other event where you want the sound of good, old fashioned, family Bluegrass.
-Kimberly Ponton Rhodes
Kimberly Ponton Rhodes
Music has been a part of every stage of my life. I started singing in my church when I was very young. At home, my brothers, cousins and friends were constantly getting together to play music. Back then, I was just the nagging little sister who begged to sing with them. As an adult, I hope they think the begging was worth it..
HELLO THERE FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS!!! This here is Jered Gillispie hailing from somewhere in the woods of Albemarle County. I’ve been pickin that ol' five string banjer for about 8 years now. I used to be influenced by Earl Scruggs picking style for just a short while when I first started picking.... Then I heard that lonesome sound of Ralph Stanley's banjo pickin. That is who I try to mimic my style of picking after now. Notice I said try. But any who, I really enjoy picking for the James River Cuts Ups. They’re a great bunch of folks. Whoever might be reading this. come on out to where we’re pickin and we'll do you a few numbers you might like! Until then HAVE A GOOD EVENING FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS!
I grew up in Roseland Virginia (Nelson County). Our family loves bluegrass and bluegrass gospel music. I would listen every chance I had to old bluegrass albums and eight track tapes. After begging for a long time, my dad got me a Martin guitar for Christmas when I was 15. Kenny, my younger brother, got a mandolin. We learned the basic chords and picked the rest up by ear. Every chance we got from working on the farm, we'd play our instruments and try to imitate that bluegrass sound and harmony. The only thing different today, is that Kenny now plays the guitar and I play mandolin. I thank God for my mom and dad (Lawrence & Addie Ponton) who encouraged us to play (Mom still encourages us today). Even though my dad is no longer with us in body, he is with us in spirit and his words of encouragement live on. I now make my home in Shipman Virginia (Nelson County) with my wife Julie and two stepsons John & Josh. When I am not practicing music, you can find me on the golf course.
Music has been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember. As Mike has stated, we grew up on bluegrass. We did a lot of camping when we were growing up and most of the time we camped at bluegrass festivals. I reside in Amherst County with my wife Cindy my son Scott and daughter Christie. My oldest daughter Mandi lives in Charlottesville.
James River Cutups
Pictured here is a good representation of what our uncle played when we were growing up.
Our bass player had to leave due to his job change. So you never know who you will catch up there sitting in with us.
We hope to have a permanent bass player soon.