Black Twig Pickers work in the same classic template of the Appalachian string bands of the early 20th century, reproducing and reinterpreting the timeless traditional mountain catalog on banjo, guitar, fiddle, and washboard. Formed in the late '90s, the core of the band (they often work with guests sitting in) is Mike Gangloff (vocals, guitar, fiddle), Isak Howell (guitar, harmonica), and Nate Bowell (washboard, banjo, percussion), all of whom share a love of the old-time mountain folk and blues. The group has released several independent albums, usually recorded in living rooms or on back porches, including North Folk Flyer (2001 on VHF Records), Big Banjo Blues (2002 on Klang Records), Soon One Morning (2003 on VHF), Midnight Has Come and Gone (2005 on VHF), Hobo Handshake (2008 on VHF), Glory in the Meeting House (recorded with Charlie Parr and released by House of Mercy Recordings in 2010), Ironto Special (2010 on Thrill Jockey Records), Whompyjawed (2012 on Thrill Jockey), and Rough Carpenters (2013 on Thrill Jockey), among others.
The group teamed with guitarist Steve Gunn for a live-in-studio date in late 2014. Seasonal Hire included four original tunes and one traditional piece, with Gunn and the group's Gangloff and Sally Anne Morgan all taking turns on lead vocals and songwriting. It was released by Thrill Jockey in early 2015. ~ Steve Leggett