Who are the Reed Island Rounders??
The Rounders' configuration has taken a new direction over the past few years.
Kirk Sutphin has since joined forces with Betty & Billy. Blending their styles, and expanding their repertoire has proved fun & fulfilling. Still a strong trio, they enjoy adding a bass for dances, and maybe even a mandolin. Please check our home page for performance updates, and like us on facebook.
Kirk Sutphin ~ Betty Vornbrock ~ Billy Cornette
banjo/fiddle                 fiddle/vocals                 guitar/vocals
of the

            The Reed Island Rounders have long been known for not being your typical string band. Drawing from the lonesome hollers of West Virginia, the lively traditions of Kentucky’s fiddlers, their local Blue Ridge Mountains styles, and now the North Carolina sounds from Round Peak to the Piedmont, they weave archaic with sophisticated, soulful with foot-stomping, romantic with down-to-earth. The resulting tapestry is alive with texture and color, making for an invigorated dance hall, or a lively and enlightening concert.

            Each a veteran of festivals, music camps, and dance circuits, Betty, Billy & Kirk choose the tunes and songs they love the best, adding a bass for dances, and bringing a unique variety of sounds to each venue.
Betty Vornbrock’s fiddle bow brings energy to dance tunes, emotion to waltzes and listening tunes, and imagination to her twin fiddle harmonies with Kirk.
Billy Cornette keeps his rock solid beat and fanciful bass runs on guitar, and is the vocal lead. Kirk Sutphin, adept in different banjo styles, frails or fingerpicks, complementing each number. His fiddling evokes his Round Peak roots, as well.

Reed Island Rounders’ listeners and dancers will be treated to driving dance beats, tasteful twin fiddling, fun songs, and maybe some music history thrown in!


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Kirk Sutphin plays in several other duets and groups, so you may catch the Rounders with the talented James Ruchala on banjo, fiddle, and/or mandolin. And our dance band bass Rounders might be Sandy Grover Mason, Hilary Dirlam, or Jack Spence. Betty & Billy enjoy the variety and challenges of working up new old tunes with all!



    The Reed Island Rounders have been playing together since 1993, when Betty & Billy formed a band to compete at local fiddlers’ conventions. They have been joined by various banjoists over the years, and now Kirk Sutphin has added his banjo and fiddle talents to the band. They have found a mutual love for the Old-Time music of West Virginia, Kentucky, North Carolina and SW Virginia, where Betty & Billy make their home.

    The band is known for their variety of music. From the foot-stomping dance tunes of the Blue Ridge to romantic waltzes, and beyond to dark and lonesome mountain tunes or a chilling ballad, they evoke the soul of Appalachian life. Equally at home in a dance hall or a concert stage, they will perform as a duo, trio, or add a stand-up bass for a dance.

    The Rounders perform regionally and even internationally for concerts, square dances, contradances, festivals and workshops, and for private engagements. In 1996, ‘99 & 2003 they performed and taught workshops for the “Friends of Appalachian Old Time Music and Dance ” festival, in Gainsborough, England, as well as a tour of concerts and pub gigs across Ireland. In 2004 the Rounders were honored to be included in the Chicago Folk Festival, and Shepherd College’s Appalachian Heritage Festival in West Virginia. The Blue Ridge Parkway Music Center often includes the Rounders in their lineup. The Rounders were proud to place fifth in the Traditional Band division in 2002 ’s Appalachian String Band Festival, ‘Clifftop ’, WV.

   Betty and Kirk both teach classes and workshops in old-time fiddle and banjo, respectively, and sometimes a joint workshop of how the two instruments play with each other. Both have taught at the Augusta Heritage Workshops in Elkins, WV, and Mars Hill College Blue Ridge Old-TIme Music Week. Betty has enjoyed teaching fiddle at the Cowan Creek Mountain Music School, in KY in 2011 & 12, and the band was on the roster for the 2011 Berea College Celebration of Traditional Music. 0Billy also teaches beginning back-up guitar workshops, including Mars Hill in 2011.

   The band has appeared on area radio programs, such as WPAQ Mount Airy, NC, and WBRF Galax, VA, as well as the internationally syndicated “WoodSongs Old Time Radio Hour ”, via “World Radio ”. Other live broadcasts include “Back to the Blue Ridge ”, on WVTF Roanoke,VA., and Pittsburgh’s “Saturday Light Brigade ” on WYEP, and the Floyd Radio Hour. 

   In 1996 they recorded "Wolves in the Wood", a compilation of 21 tunes on CD & cassette. Diane released "There Are No Rules!" (1997) Diane Jones & Hubie King, a critically acclaimed CD of old-time banjo tunes and songs. "Side by Side" (2000) is a twin fiddling recording of Betty with Kentucky master fiddler J.P. Fraley, playing gorgeous waltzes, 2-steps and some of JP's originals. The Rounders' "Goin' Back" (2002) features the trio with Diane Jones on banjo, adding her voice on the old ballads and songs, and offering a great blend of fiddle tunes and banjo/fiddle duets. Their newest recording, "Hand Me Downs", with Diane Jones, was released in the fall of 2006.

Kirk Sutphin has many CDs to his credit, and the Rounders with Kirk, or a duet of Betty & Billy, have appeared on two recent recordings from Old Blue Records.


NEW CD!! "Hand me Downs" (2006) 'Old Time Appalachian String Band Music' ~ Reed Island Rounders; Burning Wolf - 004

“Goin' Back”
(2002)  Wonderful collection of OLD SONGS & TUNES from West Virginia! Reed Island Rounders, Burning Wolf - 003


"Thirty of Diane's Favorites, 2005" is an instructional DVD for intermediate banjo players, featuring 30 tunes, played at a moderate speed

...the Rounders’ Bios...

Betty Vornbrock is an accomplished fiddler in several different traditional styles. Besides the music of the Appalachian Mountains (her first love), she has studied Shetland, Scottish & Irish fiddling, Western Swing and even Eastern European dance music. She has also recorded with Western Swing guitarist Bill Necessary, and singer-songwriters Tim Henderson and Bill Ramsel. Betty has co-produced a twin-fiddle album, “Side by Side”, with Kentucky fiddler J.P. Fraley, with whom she has won top twin-fiddle honors at Fiddler's Grove Festival for their haunting and beautiful harmonies.

     Betty teaches private fiddle lessons, as well as workshop formats during festivals and for the prestigious Augusta Heritage Workshops' "Old-Time" theme weeks. Spanning 1997-2000 she acted as co-teacher & facilitator for J.P. Fraley's "Dream Retreat", an intensive weekend workshop with J.P., held at his home in Kentucky twice a year, and in Georgia and PA.

     For the most part her Old-Time influences include West Virginia fiddlers Wilson Douglas, Melvin Wine, John Johnson, Sarah Singleton, Clark Kessinger and Burl and Edn Hammons; Kentucky fiddlers JP Fraley, Ed Haley, W.M. Stepp, and Snake Chapman; and, more locally to the Blue Ridge, Ralph Blizard, Tommy Jarrell, and Henry Reed.

     Originally from Iowa, Betty settled in W.Va. in the early '70's, and migrated to Austin, Texas by the '80's, where she held office with the Austin Friends of Traditional Music, helping to organize festivals and concerts. While in Austin she was a member of several bands: Swallow's Tale (O-T & Irish), the Hotfooters and Yellow Cat (O-T string bands), Companions (banjo-fiddle duet with Luke Faust), and Sillocks & Tatties (Shetland). Also while there she learned to call square dances and did so for four years at AFTM's regular dance. She returned to the mountains in 1987, and enjoys being part of the area’s vibrant musical heritage.

     Betty has had much good luck at contests, as well. Among the many honors are: First Place Prizes: Mount Airy Fiddler's Convention 1995, Carolina's Homecoming 1994, Ed Haley Memorial OT Fiddle Contest 1996, ’98 & 2000, WV State Folk Festival in Glenville 1990 & '96, Fiddler's Grove 1990 & 2004; Second Place prizes at Mount Airy, as well as having placed in the top ten at the famous Galax Fiddler's Convention on several occasions. The Rounders have also earned ribbons in the band divisions.



Billy Cornette has been a great fan of folk & traditional music most of his life. Born in Kentucky to a family of fiddlers and musicians, he was exposed to a variety of country musicians & early Bluegrass greats. While attending the university in the early '60's, his interest in folk music led him to the guitar. After moving to Virginia in 1989, he decided to connect back to some of these roots by teaching himself fiddle and renewing his interest in guitar. He & Betty met in 1990 at a local jam session, and he's concentrated on playing back-up guitar to her fiddling ever since. He & Betty married in 1995. They grow Christmas trees on their farm north of Hillsville, in Carroll County, Va., where Betty also runs her custom sewing business, "Autumn Wind".

     Billy assists Betty with her workshops, has been a staff musician at Augusta as guitar player, and often joined J.P. Fraley in performance. He also teaches old-time guitar workshops. When not tending his trees, he enjoys learning new tunes on the banjo, as well as experimenting with building tackhead and gourd banjos.

     The Rounders’ first recording, “Wolves in the Wood ”, featured Andy Buckman on banjo, who relocated in 1998. Diane Jones joined the Rounders a year or so later, and adds her ballads to the mix, along with her unique banjo sound. She and Betty have blended a mutual love of the early mountain fiddle and banjo sounds into haunting duets and lively dance tempos. The band’s CDs, “Goin’ Back ” & “Hand Me Downs ”, reflect the current textures of this vocal  & instrumental blend.




Recordings include:
"Hand me Downs" (2006) 'Old Time Appalachian String Band Music' ~ Reed Island Rounders; Burning Wolf - 004
“Goin' Back” (2002) 'Old-Time Tunes & Songs from West Virginia' ~ Reed Island Rounders; Burning Wolf - 003   review
"Side by Side"  (2000) Betty Vornbrock & J.P. Fraley, ‘Twin Fiddle waltzes, 2-steps, and other favorites’; Burning Wolf - 002
"Wolves in the Wood" (1996) Reed Island Rounders, ‘Dance tunes, dark tunes, and waltzes’; Burning Wolf - 001 (now available on cassette only)   review
"There Are No Rules!" (1997) Diane Jones & Hubie King, critically acclaimed CD of old-time banjo tunes and songs.   review
Diane Jones' Banjo DVD
"Thirty of Diane's Favorites, 2005" is an instructional DVD for intermediate banjo players, featuring 30 tunes, played at a moderate speed
Diane appears as guest banjo with renowned fiddler Dave Bing on his CD "Friends and Family", (1995)


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click here for reviews of "Wolves" and "Goin' Back"

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