Trish Kilby Fore grew up in the Lansing community of Ashe County where she heard traditional music since when she was a child. Although one of her grandfathers and a great-grandfather had been musicians in the area, Trish never got to hear them play. After injuring her knee playing softball, her grandparents took her to a local jam session where she heard a number of old-time and bluegrass musicians from the area, such as Dean Sturgill, Dee-Dee Price, and Larry Pennington. “Those were my earliest influences,” she says.
When Trish wanted to play the banjo, she took some lessons with Emily and Thornton Spencer and also got help from Dean Sturgill. She attended fiddler’s conventions and met other musicians from the region such as Enoch Rutherford, and Bill and Janice Birchfield of the Roan Mountain Hilltoppers. She also met Harold Hausenfluck who introduced Trish to many recordings of older musicians from the region and to nuances of clawhammer banjo.
Trish joined her first band, the Fox Creek Ramblers, in 1994. Since then she has been playing in groups for square dances, performances, and in fiddler’s convention competitions. With the Farmer’s Daughters, she took a trip to Germany and France for a tour playing old time music. She has performed with other groups that include the Virginia Whistle Pigs, the Grayson County River Rats, the Glade Valley Spring Chickens, Trish Kilby and Donavan Cain Duo, the Blue Ridge Mountain Ramblers, the Mount Rogers Ramblers, the Blue Ridge Catbirds, and most recently, the Old-Time Pals with Tim Donley, Steve Kilby, and Erin Creed. Trish typically plays banjo in a hard driving clawhammer style, and she also plays guitar.
Trish has performed with some of Surry County’s finest oldtime musicians, such as Benton Flippen and the Smokey Valley Boys, and Kirk Sutphin and Friends. She has been a teacher with the Junior Appalachian Musicians (JAM) program, and she has taught workshops on clawhammer banjo at Appalshop in Whitesburg, Kentucky. Trish is a proponent of oldtime music, particularly that of northwest North Carolina and southwest Virginia. “I really like carrying on a tradition that’s been going on for many generations,” she says. She has given presentations on the music of the region for Blue Ridge, Fleetwood, Shoals, and Westfield elementary schools in Ashe and Surry counties.
Trish has recorded with the Farmer’s Daughters, Blue Ridge Mountain Ramblers and Mount Rogers Ramblers. She is also included on a track on the Unbroken Tradition: Music from the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area CD produced by the North Carolina Arts Council.
Trish and her husband, Kevin Fore, also an award-winning banjo player in the Round Peak style, recently moved from Lowgap, NC just over the mountain to Galax, VA, near the Blue Ridge Music Center.