The Empty Bottle String Band / Bio

The Empty Bottle String Band originally formed to play a one-time stint at a local farmers market, but have already reached new heights in popularity all over the Southeast US. They specialize in playing toe-tapping, highly danceable traditional Appalachian music and are known for their upbeat fiddle tunes and feel-good music. Their impressive stage presence is coupled with a delightfully self-effacing strength and confidence in their music. Their sound is inventive, while still staying close to the old time string band tradition of the 1930's.

The Empty Bottle String Band is composed of Tyler Hughes on clawhammer banjo and vocals, Ryan Nickerson on fiddle and mandolin, Kristal Harman on guitar and vocals, Stephanie Jeter on autoharp, bass, vocals. They have appeared regionally at Bristol's Rhythm & Roots Reunion, Seedtime on the Cumberland, the Blue Plum Festival, the nationally broadcast tv show Song of the Mountains on PBS, the WDVX Blue Plate Special, among other local festivals, venues, and dances in the Southeast.

Recent reviews of the EBSB:
"The Empty Bottle String Band was an exceptional ensemble. They were fun, joyful, exuded a delightfully self-effacing strength and confidence in their music - and they backed it up in force." --The Johnson City Folk Festival, Nov 2013

"In a nod to the Kentucky location and the heritage of the Gallery that is part of the John Jacob Niles Center for American Music, the Empty Bottle String Band dusted off their twisty-crooked Magoffin County John Salyer fiddle tunes as well as the band’s driving string pyrotechnics and laser-focused vocal harmonies. The program changed with the moment, eschewing formula—there was autoharp, there was clogging, there was a diverse parade of love and murder songs, and even a wonderful little bit of outhouse country humor. There was a terrific blend of sound, but I was struck particularly by Tyler’s banjo lines that were inventive without being untraditional and a sound that had pop and snap without an overbearing Mastertone quality. The standing-room-only audience at the Niles Gallery was obviously enthralled by the Bottles. It was just the right way to close out the “Appalachia in the Bluegrass” concert series at the University of Kentucky." --Dr. Ron Pen, Director, John Jacob Niles Center for American Music at the University of Kentucky

"Great Voices, excellent chops and an engaging presentation!! Bravo! Bravo! The Empty Bottle String Band is a Stand Out!" --Tim Roth, Festival Media

General Info

Band Members
Tyler Hughes, banjo/banjo ukelele; Kristal Harman, guitar; Stephanie Jeter, autoharp/bass; Alex Moore/Jeff Elkins, bass; Ryan Nickerson, fiddle
Artist Name
The Empty Bottle String Band
Profile Page
Active Since
Folk / Old-Time

Contact Info

Johnson City, TN
Stephanie Jeter