BEHIND THE MUSIC
The members of Zach Top & Modern Tradition have always been musically gifted. From a young age, they were singing, performing, and playing a variety of instruments. Throughout the course of their musical career, Zach Top & Modern Tradition has won over the hearts of music lovers from all walks of life; performing at a variety of venues from the Pacific North West to the South, all the while working on new music. Learn more by exploring the site, and feel free to get in touch with any of your comments and questions.
Zach Top was born and raised on a farm in eastern Washington, growing up with dreams of being the next George Strait. He has been singing since before he could talk and started playing the guitar before he turned five.
By the time Zach turned seven, he and his three siblings formed a family bluegrass band called Topstring. For ten years, the group played a regular circuit of festivals and grange halls around the pacific northwest, opening for acts like Cedar Hill, James King, and Balsam Range.
Zach moved to Boulder, CO when he turned 18, but joined the Seattle-based band North Country shortly after. He has traveled back and forth for the past 3 years to play all over the states with North Country, and to help create the bands second record, Lonely Tonight, in 2017.
Zach further busied his musical life when he also joined the band Modern Tradition and with them won the SPBGMA International Band Competition in 2017. Modern Tradition has also made appearances on various stages at IBMA for the last couple of years. This momentum led Zach to an endorsement deal with Preston Thompson guitars, and he is the proud and grateful owner of a Thompson D-MA.
Zach currently makes his home just outside of Denver, Colorado, working in construction and further pursuing his musical passion and aspirations to make music for a living.
Maddie Denton is a third generation fiddle player from Murfreesboro, Tennessee who began playing at the age of five. She is the 2016 Grand Master Fiddle Champion, the first Tennessee-born contestant to ever win, plus the 2009 National Oldtime Junior Fiddle Champion. Since 2008, Maddie has won fourteen state championship titles spread over the states of Alabama, Kentucky, Indiana, Georgia, and Tennessee. She is an accomplished tenor guitar player and frequently backs up her fellow competitors. Maddie also plays mandolin, banjo, and standard guitar.
Aside from music, Maddie is a recent graduate of Middle Tennessee State University with a degree in Organismal Biology and Ecology and a minor in music. While at MTSU, she played NCAA Division I golf for four years and helped the Lady Raiders win back-to-back Conference USA Championships. She now teaches biology at Siegel High School where she is also the assistant girl's basketball coach.
Wyatt Harman makes his home in Florissant, MO. Currently attending Missouri Baptist College in St. Louis, MO, Wyatt has chosen a major in criminal justice and a minor in history. Although having literally grown up in bluegrass music, Wyatt didn't begin to play bass until he was fifteen. Since then Wyatt has been the bass player for his family band, "Bull Harman and Bull's Eye." Wyatt has the distinguished honor of being named SPBGMA Midwest Bass Player of the Year in 2016, 2017 and 2018. Wyatt founded "Mashtag" as an opportunity to represent college age students at the IBMA Convention each year. In 2017, the members of “Mashtag” decided to enter the band contest at SPBGMA International Bluegrass Championship in Nashville, TN, and won 1st place, thus birthing Modern Tradition. Wyatt also performs with a band from the Missouri Area called "That Dalton Gang" as well as continuing to play with his family in "Bull Harman & Bull's Eye." We look forward to his future endeavors in bluegrass, with Modern Tradition.
Zion Napier hails from a small Midwest town in Indiana called Scipio. As the oldest of four brothers, he found himself picking and singing his whole life. He grew up playing guitar, fiddle, and mandolin in family bluegrass-gospel groups. Outside of the bluegrass world, playing violin and bass in high school orchestra helped Zion to dive deeper into music gaining a love and appreciation for classical music. Some of Zion’s biggest musical influences are Josh Williams, Adam Steffey, Jesse Brock, and Dan Tyminski. Zion says, “I am honored to have been asked to join Mashtag on the mandolin and I look forward to continue making new music as Modern Tradition." As well as playing with Modern Tradition, Zion also plays mandolin with The Caleb Daugherty Band and The New Balance. Zion would like to thank God first of all for blessing him with the ability and talent to pick with such amazing musicians. Zion goes on to say, "I would also like to personally thank my wife Kimberly and my daughter Abigail, all of my family, The Harman family, The Wasson Family, and Eric Jarboe. Without all of your support I would not be where I am today! God bless you all!"
Calib Smith is a southern Indiana native, making his home in Elizabethtown, Indiana. Surrounded by music within his own family, the intrigue of the banjo caught his eye at the young age of ten years old. By the age of twelve he was playing in his family’s band, and in church on a regular basis. Two short years later he began playing in a local band with his older brother, and current member of Modern Tradition, Zion Napier. After that he went on to play in several local bands and even taught music locally for a number of years. Calib is no stranger to the stage. In the year 2016 he toured with the band Blue Mafia appearing on several stages across the Midwest and East Coast. His authoritative and driving banjo style is a tailored fit for Modern Tradition. We are glad to have him on board!