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Riley Baugus is an American old-time guitarist, banjo player, fiddler, singer and instrument builder from North Carolina.

Background and Career

Baugus grew up in the Regular Baptist tradition, which gave him a solid foundation in unaccompanied singing. He began playing the fiddle at age 10 and grew up with the fiddler Kirk Sutphin. As a youth, he also had the opportunity to study with such eminent old-time musicians from Surry County, North Carolina and Grayson County, Virginia, including Tommy Jarrell, Robert Sykes, Dix Freeman, Verlin Clifton, and Paul Sutphin. He is influenced particularly by the Round Peak style of Surry County, North Carolina.

Baugus worked as a welder and blacksmith for 18 years before becoming a professional musician. He has performed throughout the United States, as well as in Canada, Ireland, Scotland, and England. He has played with several old-time string bands, including The Farmer's Daughters, The Konnarock Critters, The Red Hots, Backstep, and the Old Hollow Stringband. He tours regularly with Dirk Powell and Tim O'Brien, and frequently performs and tours with the dancer Ira Bernstein, with the duo show Appalachian Roots. He often performs as a guest musician with the Dirk Powell Band and the North Carolina folk band Polecat Creek. He sang on the soundtrack to the 2003 film Cold Mountain. He has recorded with Robert Plant, Alison Krauss, Willie Nelson, Dirk Powell, and Martha Scanlan. He has taught banjo at the Augusta Heritage Center's Old Time Week in Elkins, West Virginia.

He lives in Walkertown, North Carolina.