OLD-TIME & BLUEGRASS MUSIC
BY MASTER MUSICIANS MIKE COMPTON AND JOE NEWBERRY
The Charlotte Folk Society is excited to present Mike Compton and Joe Newberry in a Gathering concert of bluegrass and old-time music at 7:30 PM on Friday, October 9th. Please join us at the Great Aunt Stella Center, 926 Elizabeth Avenue. Free parking is available adjacent to the Stella Center. Doors open at 7 PM.
Folk Society Gatherings are family-friendly, open to the public, and free. Donations, which support the series in part, are appreciated. The hour-long concert will be followed by refreshments, a song circle, slow and fast jams, and the Charlotte Appalachian Dulcimer Club meeting.
Traditional music veterans Mike Compton and Joe Newberry love to play together -- and it shows. Joe invited Mike to join him in performing at a Charlotte house concert earlier this year, and the evening was magical! Although they live far apart, their music makes them seem like they are next-door neighbors.
Mandolinist extraordinaire Mike Compton was born in 1956 in Meridian, Mississippi, hometown of Jimmie Rodgers. He was exposed to music at an early age and received his first mandolin at the age of fifteen. Mike moved to Nashville in 1977 and for the next several years played with legendary North Carolina banjoist Hubert Davis and the Season Travelers.
In 1985 he was recruited for the Nashville Bluegrass Band and during his initial stint in the group (1985-1989), he appeared on the four albums that first brought the band to prominence. After a year of working in the Catskill Mountains, Mike returned to Nashville and began playing with John Hartford in the Hartford String Band, a fertile association that continued until John's death in 2001.
In the fall of 2000, after a tour of the Southwest with David Grier, Mike was offered his mandolin slot with Nashville Bluegrass Band and he didn't hesitate to rejoin. The band has won two Grammy Awards, two "Entertainer of the Year" honors from the International Bluegrass Music Association, and four IBMA Vocal Group of the Year titles. A perennial MerleFest favorite; their Sunday morning gospel set with Doc Watson is not to be missed.
A prolific composer, Mike has made a powerful mark in the old-time and bluegrass music worlds. His resume includes more than 75 recordings with a virtual "Who's Who" of old-time and bluegrass musicians. Among his credits are the O, Brother, Where Art Thou soundtrack, the Songcatcher soundtrack, and the Down From the Mountain CD that followed O, Brother. This year has seen Mike Compton touring with Elvis Costello in support of the rock legend's Secret, Profane, and Sugar Cane CD, produced by T-Bone Burnett and featuring performances by Compton, Stuart Duncan, and Jerry Douglas.
The multiple Grammy Award-winner treasures his memories of a friendship with his mentor, Bill Monroe. John Hartford once said that Mike Compton knows more about Bill Monroe-style mandolin than the "Father of Bluegrass" himself. To learn more, visit Mike's website here.
Joe Newberry is a favorite with Charlotte Folk Society audiences. During the past five years, he has performed on our stages solo and with Julee Glaub, Big Medicine, and Mike Craver, Bill Hicks, and Jim Watson, founding members of the legendary Red Clay Ramblers. His powerful banjo playing has won contests around the country, including first place at the Appalachian String Band Music Festival in Clifftop, West Virginia. Joe is also a fine guitarist, fiddler, singer, and songwriter. His 2005 solo project, Two Hands, drew well-deserved critical acclaim and serves as a showcase of his multiple talents. Joe's songwriting is characterized by the same clean, elegant style as his banjo playing. A number of his songs have been recorded by fellow musicians. Most recently, the Gibson Brothers included two of Joe's compositions, Jericho and I Know Whose Tears, on their 2009 recording, Ring the Bell.
Joe grew up in Boone County, Missouri in a family that loved to sing -- old Ozark songs, sacred songs, and popular songs of the day. His mother's family loved dancing, singing, and fiddling. He took up the guitar as a teenager and learned fiddle tunes from great Missouri fiddlers like Taylor McBaine, Pete McMahan, and Jake Hockemeyer. Younger musicians Cathy Barton, Lee Ruth, and Dave Para also influenced his music; Para introduced him to clawhammer-style banjo.
Joe came to North Carolina in 1982 and found an incredible old-time music scene in Chatham County, with players such as Red Clay Ramblers Bill Hicks and Tommy Thompson. With Rob Golan and Jamey Tippens, Joe first played in the New Chatham Rabbits, a square dance band. Later, he formed the Piedmont Hepcats with Allin Cottrell, Susie Crate, and Ted Ehrhard and they won the band contest at Fiddlers Grove more than once.
Joe began playing with Jim Collier, LaNelle Davis, and Margaret Martin in the early '90s as the Tar Heel Hot Shots. Later, he formed Big Medicine with Jim Collier, Kenny Jackson, and LaNelle Davis. The name is a tribute to the transcendent nature of their collective music making and was affirmed by their winning first place in the 2002 Traditional Band Contest at Clifftop. LaNelle Davis stepped down from the band in 2004 and Bobb Head joined the group. Big Medicine released their third CD, Pine to Pine, and performed on Prairie Home Companion in May.
Joe first performed on banjo with Mike Craver, Bill Hicks, and Jim Watson at the Carter Fold in June 2003. Ever since, he and the three original Red Clay Ramblers have played to enthusiastic audiences as often as busy individual schedules permit.
When not working as a writer and editor, Joe does solo and studio work, and plays and teaches at festivals and workshops here and abroad. Sample Joe's recordings here and enjoy video performances on YouTube.
Our Gatherings are made possible, in part, with funding from the Arts & Science Council and the North Carolina Arts Council, an agency of the Department of Cultural Resources, and the National Endowment for the Arts, which believes that a great nation deserves great art.
Free surface parking is available adjacent to the Stella Center. The arm of the nearby parking deck goes up for the weekend at 8 PM. So, you can grab a ticket on the way into the parking deck but you will not have to pay on the way out if you leave after 8 PM. A GoogleEarth picture showing how to get from the Elizabeth Ave entrance to the parking deck is here.