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Closing the gap

McCumber finds family, familiarity and freedom in music

Kort McCumber will be playing with his sister Beth Wilberger and Dan Rose as a trio called McCumberland Gap, at the Old Town Pub on Saturday night.
Courtesy Photo

— Kort McCumber thinks sibling rivalry can create great music. For two years, he toured with his sister Beth Wilberger in a Volkswagen bus.

“We squabbled like rats in a cage being in a van,” McCumber said. “Having that tension on stage and playing music for so long together made for great music. Nobody else can sing harmony and know my music as well as she does.”

At any given time, McCumber can be part of six different acts, but when he plays in McCumberland Gap, it is with his sister and bass player Dan Rose. The Front Range trio will play at Old Town Pub on Saturday night.



McCumberland Gap plays an original mix of Americana hootenanny, bluegrass, folk, roots and country, with a little bit of Irish music.

“Beth plays fiddle and sings harmony, and Dan plays upright bass and mandolin. I play guitar, bouzouki, mandolin and banjo,” McCumber said. “We’re only a trio, but we have a lot of instruments and a lot of sound.”



McCumber writes lyrics about personal experiences.

“I tried to write songs outside of my life but found that the most effective songs that touch people and connect to people are the ones that are really personal to me,” he said. “It’s all stuff about first-hand accounts of all my travels and heartbreak and love.”

McCumber is a songwriter, but he confesses some times are more productive than others.

“When I’m not writing, it’s time for me to experience things in life,” he said. “Then I’m gathering stories and don’t feel so pressured.”

McCumber’s sixth CD comes out this summer. It’s named after the street he lives on – Lickskillet Road.

“I live at the bottom of the steepest county road in the state,” he said. “Where my wife and I live with our four-legged furry kids.”


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