The Corn Hog Association, named for a Depression-era government relief program, performs an eclectic mix of Americana and Irish music. Performing originals as well as covering everything from old-time and more recent Irish songs, the early country tunes of the Carter Family through the songs of Merle Haggard and Gram Parsons, the CHA offers a fresh glimpse into the roots and history of American music.

The Corn Hog Association is:

Forrest Burtnette: Forrest started playing guitar in 4th grade. He was inspired to start by watching the Hee-Haw TV show with his family. After his parents bought him a guitar from Woolco, and practicing a couple years, he was ready to join a band. He joined Baby Blue, a bluegrass group formed by his teacher (and her husband). They played at church functions and festivals in and around Virginia. In high school, Forrest got interested in many other styles of music, and played in rock bands for the next 15 years. After majoring in music at James Madison University, he moved to New York City to form his first professional rock band, Bicycle. The band was written about in the New York Times Magazine, People magazine, and appeared on CNN Headline News for their mode of touring (by bicycle). Forrest has also played in Wisher, an original, Charlottesville-based band. In 2003 he helped form Sun Domingo, originally started in Charlottesville, now based in Miami and touring nationally. Forrest retired from heavy touring with Sun Domingo in 2006 and has recently gotten married and started a family. Forrest is an avid songwriter and has posted many of his songs on  

Eric Franzen

Matt Montgomery: Matt learned to play his grandfather's 1930s Kay Kraft guitar while in graduate school at the University of Virginia, when he should have been writing a dissertation or something. He was the beneficiary of a great deal of patience on the part of members of the Charlottesville-based traditional Irish band Derry Air (now King Golden Banshee), who inexplicably allowed him to be in their band before he knew how to play a lick and permitted him to add his clueless brand of rudimentary rhythm guitar to their repertoire of otherwise competently performed airs, reels, jigs, and drinking songs. After several years and a few lessons, Matt was able to figure out the Carter scratch and something that sometimes sounds like passable harmony, at which point he decided to stop butchering traditional Irish music and start butchering traditional American music instead. Over the past 15 years or so Matt thinks (hopes?) he has gotten better, and enjoys playing a song every night for his young son Benjamin, who doesn't cry as often as he used to.

Megan Montgomery: An Idaho native inexplicably born a hundred years late, Megan provides vocals and plays fiddle and piano. And the carillon, though it is difficult to set up bell towers in coffee shops. She loves old cemeteries and the relatives buried in them, old photos, old houses, and old Fred (the fiddle), who belonged to her great-grandfather. Megan would like to remind everyone that no old buildings or grain elevators should ever be torn down.

Chris Reilly: Chris started playing guitar with several grade school friends, and the group taught each other chords and songs. Later, they were forced to play guitar for folk mass which is a questionable venue for a first public appearance. Although she had only played the guitar before joining the band, she began playing the bass for the Corn Hog Association since someone had to and discovered that it was her new favorite instrument. It was either that or the drums, which probably wouldn’t have worked out as well. Like Ferris Bueller, Chris never had a single lesson.

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