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Charlotte Folk Society second-Friday Gatherings take place in the beautiful listening room of the Great Aunt Stella Center (926 Elizabeth Avenue, Uptown Charlotte), except where noted. Gatherings are family-friendly and free; donations are appreciated and essential to presenting this series in the Stella Center. The front doors open at 7 PM; concerts begin at 7:30 PM and last about one hour. Come at 6 PM to enjoy pre-concert jamming. Refreshments, a song circle, a slow old-time jam, a songwriters' workshop, and the Charlotte Appalachian Dulcimer Club follow the concert. Spontaneous jams are welcomed in the sanctuary. Accessible entry and an elevator are available through the ground floor door on the parking lot side of the Great Aunt Stella Center. A volunteer is available to help guests needing assistance into the building.
Strictly Strings came together through fiddle classes in the Watauga County JAM (Junior Appalachian Musicians) Program in Boone, NC, and has blossomed into an exciting multi-faceted band, enjoying the genres of old-time, bluegrass, Irish, and swing, all topped off with fresh harmony vocals. Strictly Strings is Kathleen Burnett on fiddle and vocals; Anissa Burnett on bass, fiddle, and vocals; Willow Dillon on fiddle, cello, banjo, and vocals; and Caleb Coatney on mandolin, guitar, and banjo. As the senior member of the group, Cecil Gurganus holds down the rhythm guitar and vocals, and drives the van. The band has an impressive resume, having played at the 2016 National Folk Festival, the North Carolina Arts Council 50thAnniversary Celebration in Raleigh, MerleFest 2017, the 2017 Wayne Henderson Festival, as well as again at the National Folklife Festival in Greensboro and the IBMA in Raleigh in September. Strictly Strings captured the title of Senior Champion Old-Time Band at Fiddler's Grove this year and Caleb Coatney went home as the Senior Champion Hot Licks Master Jammer. Kathleen and Anissa Burnett won the Twin Fiddle Contest. Sample music from their CD, High On a Mountain, at
The Glorifying Vines Sisters are a thriving musical institution. Based in Eastern North Carolina, they've been tearing up the road for decades and tearing up every church they visit. But they don't confine themselves to churches; they're comfortable playing secular venues, too. Four sisters—Dorothy, Alice, Mattie, and Audrey—along with Johnny Ray Daniels form the vocal core of the group. Johnny Ray also plays lead guitar. Other family members and close associates fill in on drums, bass, and keyboards. Their music is steeped in the traditions of quartet gospel—a style that came into its own in the 1930s with groups like the Soul Stirrers and the Dixie Hummingbirds. They have shared the stage with many of the biggest names in the genre, including the Mighty Clouds of Joy and the Swanee Quintet. But while the Vines Sisters can wreck the house with the best of them, they also bring a distinctive sweetness and a mellow funkiness to their music. Singing gospel is their form of self-fulfillment. Even as they've raised their families, their music has continued to flow with passion and determination to uplift audiences wherever they go. Along the way, they've recorded four albums. The Vines are on the Music Maker Relief Foundation roster of performers.
Come for an evening of exceptional bluegrass by Wyatt Rice & Richard Bennett! The pair are considered two of the greatest flatpicking guitarists performing today. Fans of acoustic guitar are well acquainted with the name of Wyatt Rice. An original member of the Tony Rice Unit, Wyatt has been a fixture in that group over the years. He has also played lead and rhythm guitar with his own band, Wyatt Rice and Santa Cruz, and with The Ronnie Bowman Committee. As well as performing, Wyatt records and produces well-known artists in his own studio, Rice Recording. Continuing his contributions as a teacher, he is currently a member of the faculty at East Tennessee State University. A stalwart of the bluegrass community, Richard Bennett has made significant contributions to both bluegrass and acoustic music. He has worked with some of the most esteemed acts in bluegrass and country/folk music, including J. D. Crowe & The New South and Bobby Osborne & the Bluegrass Express. He performed on three albums with Jimmy Gaudreau and Mike Aldridge and toured with them as Aldridge/Bennett/Gaudreau. Richard filled in for Tony Rice in the Tony Rice Unit and The Bluegrass Album Band in the mid-to-late ’90s. Tina Fields rounds out the group on upright bass.
The Trailblazers is a young North Carolina band creating a lot of excitement among bluegrass fans. Band members include Jonah Horton (mandolin), Daniel Thrailkill (guitar, vocals, songwriting), Will Thrailkill (bass, vocals), and Alex Edwards (banjo, vocals). The band has opened for award-winning performers such as Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder (McGlohon Theatre) and for Blue Highway (Neighborhood Theatre). The Trailblazers won the 2017 Merlefest Band Contest and performed on the Watson Stage. They captured first place in the 2016 Galax Fiddlers Convention Band Championship and won second place in the 2017 SPBGMA International Band Championship in Nashville. Their debut album, A Place To Call My Own, was released in September 2016.
CFS Annual Holiday Potluck & Jams Venue: To be determined. This event is open to the public and is an evening of shared food, fellowship, and an opportunity to sing songs of the season and/or join an old-time, bluegrass, or Celtic jam. Guests are asked to bring a dish to share or make monetary donations to offset expenses.
The Annual Young Talent Showcase shines a spotlight on talented young musicians, through college age. Each year we feature our Swannanoa Gathering Youth Scholarship winners from the previous year. In 2018, we will recognize Ruth Shumway, Olivia Prevost, and Emily Lord. Last year, some 60 musicians, all told, participated in this event.
Andrew Finn Magill is a thirty-year-old fiddler, violinist, and composer. By age sixteen, he was a two-time finalist at the All-Ireland Championships. He has toured the United States, Europe, Africa, and Brazil and performed with many Irish and Scottish luminaries, including Open the Door for Three, John Doyle, Cillian Vallely, The Paul McKenna Band, and "Gaelic Americana" singer Kyle Carey. In 2016, he released two discs, Roots and Branches, as part of a project that features many of the artists with whom he has collaborated over the last ten years. Finn has served as an instructor in Irish fiddle at the Swannanoa Gathering for eight years and taught at a dozen other fiddle camps around the U.S. In 2016, he signed with the Salto Agency to tour his original Brazilian choro music, cultivated after two years of living in Rio de Janeiro. In 2017, he will record and launch his first recording project of Brazilian music. He keeps a busy schedule touring all over the world with violin duo Violino no Choro, Scottish singer Paul McKenna, his choro quartet, O Finno, Atlas' Cillian King, and many others.
Harpeth Rising perform Chamberfolk: Three classically trained women playing original music, as intricately arranged as a string quartet, lyrically rooted in the singer/songwriter tradition, and wrapped in three-part vocal harmonies reminiscent of both Appalachia and Medieval Europe. Building from the tonal depth of the cello, layer in the shimmering sounds of a violin, and the strikingly natural addition of banjo to create a sound at once familiar and impossible to categorize. Unapologetic genre-benders, Harpeth Rising fuses Folk, Newgrass, Rock, and Classical into something organically unique.
Internationally acclaimed singer/songwriter Si Kahn and Joe Jencks, a member of Brother Sun, a trio renowned for their vocal harmonies, will perform together to launch a CD recorded by Joe Jencks, The Forgotten: Unknown Songs from the Pen of Si Kahn. Jencks selected 15 songs for this album from 100 or so songs written by Si Kahn, but never recorded. Si Kahn rarely performs in his Queen City hometown. He is a long-time Folk Society supporter and member and we are honored to have him play in concert on our stage. In 2011, we presented Si with a CFS Folk Heritage Award. The inscription reads, "To Si Kahn: Singer and song-maker, grassroots organizer, giving voice to the voiceless, claiming dignity, justice and hope, carrying on from Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger. Thank you for bringing fresh inspiration to the tradition of singing for a better world."
Back by popular demand, the CFS Members Showcase highlights talented Charlotte Folk Society member musicians.
Joe Newberry and April Verch are masters of their traditions. Tunes, ballads, step dancing, and original songs by way of Canada and the Ozarks ring like silver and shine like gold. With beautiful harmony singing, breathtaking instrumentals, and exquisite dancing, these two hit the stage in perfect rhythm, making audiences remember why this music existed in the first place. April Verch is an award-winning fiddler, singer, stepdancer, and songwriter who grew up steeped in the traditions of the Ottawa Valley in Canada. Touring since 2000, she has literally taken her music around the world and performed it to great acclaim. Joe Newberry is a Missouri native and North Carolina transplant who has played music most of his life. A frequent guest on Garrison Keillor's A Prairie Home Companion, Joe performs in a duo with Mike Compton, and also performs with guitarist Jon Shain. Another special side project pairs Joe with old-time music legends Bill Hicks, Mike Craver, and Jim Watson. He was recently a featured singer on the Transatlantic Sessions tour of the United Kingdom with fiddler Aly Bain and Dobro master Jerry Douglas, along with an all-star band and fellow singers Rhiannon Giddens, the Milk Carton Kids, Carla Dillon, and Karen Matheson.
The Charlotte Folk Society is supported, in part, with funding by the Arts & Science Council (ASC).
This project was supported by the N.C. Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.