Back Step Cindy
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Back Step Cindy

Columbia, Maryland, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2017 | SELF

Columbia, Maryland, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2017
Band Folk Traditional




"Don't You Remember the Time by Back Step Cindy"

I have really enjoyed reviewing CDs on my weekly Old Time Music Hour for our local radio station WSOV in Millheim, PA. Most of the CDs have been from musicians I’ve never played with or even met. Back Step Cindy is an exception, as I’ve jammed with many of the members at Clifftop and the Brandywine Revival Festival.
Back Step Cindy consists of Sandy Hofferth on fiddle, Howard Zane on banjo, Joe Langley on guitar and vocals and Art Abrams on bass. They are joined by the dancing feet of Kim Forry and Jan Scopel on a few tracks.
According to Sandy, the tunes are culled from their dance repertoire and personal favorites. “Don’t You Remember the Time” consists of 22 tunes, many of which are medleys—for a real total of 28 tunes! The CD jacket lists the source as well as the fiddle and banjo tunings. So this CD has duel appeal for non-musicians who just love well played old time, and for player’s looking for new cool tunes to play.
Their new CD is a great mix of waltz, fiddle, and dance tunes, with some vocals by Joe. Rare tunes are included in the mix. The Battle of Cedar Creek with Howard on fretless banjo was recorded previously by Howard and Sandy on their “Match Made in Heaven” CD. Howard learned the tune in the late 1940’s from his “Uncle Bob” Pressley whose father had been a regimental banjo player during the Civil War. How cool is that! Howard is the only source for this tune, and as far as I know, only Howard, Back Step Cindy and the band I play with, The Gnarled Knuckles String Band, have recorded it.
Back Step Cindy has the ability to present old traditional tunes in the way they were intended to be played and to take new tunes and blend in that old feeling. An example of that is demonstrated with the tune Squirrel Heads and Gravy. Other tunes, like the Point Mountain Waltz, in the way they play it, gives listeners the feeling that this is a very old tune, but then upon reading the credits find out the tune was written by William or “Blackie” Cool from Webster County WV in 1986.
I feel that the band’s ability to effectively mix old and new come from their proficiency on each of their instruments and their dedication to the knowledge, form, structure and history of old-time. “Don’t You Remember the Time” is a polished production by a band that lives old-time and is a CD I’m sure you’ll enjoy. You can hear my review with some tunes from the CD on my Old Time Music Hour #26.
A link to all shows of the Old Time Music Hour can be found at ( TOTRH is a weekly program dedicated to providing the finest traditional and progressive old-time. Hosted by Bill Smedley from Jersey Shore Pa. Bill is a member of the Gnarled Knuckles String Band and has played 5-string for over 38 years. He has studied with some of the masters of the old-time, including, Tommy Thompson, Mac Benford, Richie Stearns and Riley Baugus. His knowledge of the history of the music along with his passion for collecting, recording and playing rare tunes combines to make the Old Time Music Hour very special program on WSOV, the Internet and in the world of old-time music.

by Bill Smedley - Banjo Newsletter


Back Step Cindy, Don't You Remember the Time, Red Bird 1004, 2018.

The New Southern Cowtippers, Old Bell Cow, Red Bird 1003, 2006.

Thunderhill, A Match Made in Heaven, no number, 2002.

The Culture Vultures, Strange Modern World, Red Bird, 1002, 1998

The Sprouts of Grass, I Like Mountain Music, Red Bird 1001, 1988



Back Step Cindy:   Our Maryland Legacy

Back Step Cindy is the name of a fiddle tune that is commonly played in the Round Peak area of northern North Carolina and the western mountainous region of southern Virginia, an area with a rich home-grown community-oriented musical tradition.  

Back Step Cindy includes Sandy Hofferth (fiddle), Howard Zane (banjo), and Joe Langley (guitar).  We carry on the legacy of those who moved from southern states in the 40s and 50s and settled in the Maryland to live, work, and play early country music.  We learned the music from the first generation and continue playing and teaching it in the Baltimore and Washington DC area.

Our Musicians

Sandy has won ribbons at numerous fiddle conventions over the years, including the Carroll County, MD, Farm Museum, the Friendsville, MD, Fiddlers contest, and the Appalachian String Band music festival in Clifftop, WV. She has performed at such diverse locations as the Carter Fold in Hiltons, VA, and RFK stadium. In 2007 she taught beginning fiddle at the Augusta Heritage October Old-time Week. Howard plays thumb-lead style, clawhammer, and regular “knock down” style banjo, the way he learned from “Uncle Bob,” whose father had been a regimental banjoist for a unit from Alabama during the Civil War. He and Sandy also led the New Southern CowtippersJoe is a dance band’s ideal guitar player, with a strong, steady, and powerful rhythm. He dances regularly in the DC/Baltimore area, has played for many dances, and is a regular in old time jams throughout the area. Most recently he played with the AP and the Banty Roosters.  

Our Music

Our repertoire of old time country and traditional music is extensive.  Besides the many traditional tunes and songs, on our most recent CD:  Don’t you remember the time, Back Step Cindy plays three tunes learned from Maryland musicians: “Grey-haired Dancing Girl” from a musician known only as Jumahl; “Let’s all Dance Together,” a newly crafted tune by guitarist Joe Langley; and the “Stambaugh Waltz” by musician and songwriter Craig Johnson, a long-time Takoma Park resident who died in 2009.  Back Step Cindy plays other tunes and songs by Maryland musicians, such as the “Waldorf Reel” by ethnomusicologist Guthrie (Gus) T. Meade, a long-time Maryland resident who died in 1991.  More on our music and dance can be found on our web page,


Band Members