Named in honor of the Stanley Brothers' "Five String Drag," Clemson, South Carolina-based alt-country unit 6 String Drag are led by singer/guitarist Kenny Roby, the onetime frontman of a punk group dubbed the Lubricators. Feeling trapped by the confines of hardcore, Roby disbanded the Lubricators in 1992 and, with bassist Rob Keller and multi-instrumentalist Ed Campbell, formed the Welfare Liners, a group devoted to covers of classic country, bluegrass, and honky tonk tunes. After a handful of shows, the Welfare Liners (minus Campbell) evolved into 6 String Drag, which in their original incarnation also included lead guitarist Glenn Cannon, drummer Ray Duffey, and pianist/trombonist David "Pops" Wright.
With Roby's original songs running the gamut from old-time country to straight-ahead rock, 6 String Drag soon entered the studio to record their self-titled 1994 debut LP, released by Fundamental Records. After the departures of Cannon and Wright, 6 String Drag — now including guitarist Scotty Miller, not to be confused with the similarly named leader of Game Theory or the singer and guitarist with the V-Roys — signed to Steve Earle's E Squared label and traveled to Nashville to record their 1997 album, High Hat, which was released to enthusiastic reviews. In the wake of its release, Miller left the band, and was replaced by new guitarist William Tonks.
6 String Drag broke up amicably in 1998, and Roby went on to a solo career, while Keller revived the name the Welfare Liners for a contemporary bluegrass band. The JAG Sessions, an archival collection of unreleased material recorded in 1996 and 1998, was released in 2014, and that same year Kenny Roby teamed up with Rob Keller, Ray Duffey, and Scotty Miller to play a 6 String Drag reunion show to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Raleigh, North Carolina's Schoolkids Records. Their appearance went over well and the group decided to play some more shows; the bandmembers soon opted to take the next step, and in February 2015 Royal Potato Family released 6 String Drag's first album of the 21st century, Roots Rock 'n' Roll, followed by a tour through the South and Midwest. A revamped lineup of 6 String Drag — Roby; Keller; Luis Rodriguez on guitar, keyboards, and trumpet; and Dan Davis on drums — was unveiled with the release of the band's 2018 album, Top of the World. ~ Jason Ankeny & Mark Deming