The Kennedy Center

The Ebony Hillbillies


As one of the last black string bands in the U.S., the Ebony Hillbillies keep an important legacy alive with a rootsy, homegrown style that was a key element in the genesis of All American Music-Jazz, Blues, Bluegrass, Rockabilly, Rock and Roll and Country.

The band creates an untamed and joyful vibe under the leadership of Henrique Prince (violin, vocals) and Norris Bennett (banjo, mountain dulcimer, guitar, vocals), and includes members William”Salty Bill” Salter (acoustic bass, vocals), Newman Taylor Baker (washboard, percussion, vocals), and Gloria Thomas Gassaway (bones,vocals). Together, its members have maintained their grassroots credibility while inspiring heartstring tugs and toe-taps in fans of all types of music—pop, country, bluegrass, folk, rock, jazz, and beyond, with a musical repertoire that pays homage to the traditional and still looks towards the future.

The group has participated in many festivals throughout the U.S. and Canada including The High Mountain Hay Fever Bluegrass Festival in West Cliff Colorado; The Spoleto Festival in Charleston South Carolina; The Wintergrass Bluegrass Festival in Tacoma, WA.; and The Port Townsend Blues Festival in Port Townsend, WA.
The Ebony Hillbillies