* WNCW 88.7 FM and Creative Loafing are media sponsors of this event.
This event is made possible
in part through an Arts & Science Council Special Projects Grant.
The Charlotte Folk Society marks its 25th anniversary, looking back on a quarter century of promoting enjoyment and preservation of traditional and contemporary folk music, dance, crafts, and lore in the piedmont Carolinas. To celebrate, we have invited a couple dozen of our favorite roots music bands to play -- some grew out of the Folk Society and others are favorites we've presented through the year; all are excellent. Our 25th Anniversary Concert will be presented in the format of a Tosco Music Party, complete with audience sing-a-longs. These 25+ acts reflect the variety of traditions we present and want to pass on. They include:
Darin Aldridge and Brooke Justice. Darin Aldridge is a native of Cherryville who has been singing and picking on something since early childhood. Darin's first band at age 16 was a bluegrass gospel band called the Straight and Narrow. After high school, Darin toured with The Country Gentlemen for seven years. Darin's current solo project, "Call it a Day," is on Pinecastle records. For the last two years, Darin has toured with The Circuit Riders and taught music in his home studio and at The Gaston School of Arts. He is also a producer, songwriter, and does many recording studio sessions. In 2006, Darin joined up with award-winning vocalist Brooke Justice, 23, of Gaston County, who has been singing since age 5 and also performs with the bluegrass band "PureHeart."
Ramona Moore Big Eagle is an oral historian and Legend Keeper of the Tuscarora Nation. She is the founder and president of the Storytellers Guild of Charlotte and an award-winning teacher at Community School of the Arts. Ramona travels the U.S. and Canada as a cultural educator and storyteller. She has brought American Indian culture and history to life through her storytelling since 1979. She is also a longtime CFS member and serves on the board.
Buffalo Creek Stringband plays regularly in the community under the CFS banner. The Concord band's sound is somewhere between the organic funk of oldtime and the soulful sophistication of bluegrass. Buffalo Creek Stringband is fronted by great female harmony vocals from Joy Moser and Annie Griffey, backed by Alabama state fiddle champ Jackie Burgess and Scott Dixon on banjo. Think early Hazel and Alice with a heavy dose of Carter Family, Ola Belle Reed and Kitty Wells. Their CD "Weary Woman Blues" includes a healthy mix of vintage Carter-Country, Appalachian fiddle tunes, Vern-grass, and Hillbilly blues. Find out more about them on their MySpace page.
The Burford Brothers have appeared with artists such as Robin and Linda Williams, Doc Watson, and other nationally known performers. They have been featured on TV, public radio, and on the John Boy and Billy show and in countless venues throughout the Southeast, including fiddlers' conventions, festivals, and concerts. The brothers hail from Oblivion County, S.C., where their daddy, Pappy Burford, was a local law enforcement officer who moonlighted as a bootlegger. Pappy passed his love for music on to his six children -- Bubba, Barney, Buford, Bobby, Bertha Ann, and Benny. All of the boys (and their charming sister) have extinguished, uh . . . distinguished themselves. At one time or another, all of their pictures have prominently graced the walls of the Oblivion County post office. Their music is a mix of traditional songs and contemporary tunes learned from the radio, fellow inmates and sundry other musicians.
Carolina Gator Gumbo. This award-winning group began exploring the unique Cajun and Creole culture of Southwest Louisiana in the early '90s. They have sought and studied Cajun/Creole music, dance and culture with masters at various settings including jams, festivals and workshops in Louisiana, North Carolina, Georgia and West Virginia. The group includes several Folk Society members and has appeared on our stages many times. Dave Conlin plays drums, rubboard and triangle; Don Cowan guitar, Tom Eure fiddle, mandolin, dobro and vocals; Carole Outwater bass, vocals and autoharp, and Jean Prewitt button accordion and vocals. www.carolinagatorgumbo.com.
Bob Child, Native American Flute. Bob not only performs and records his flute music, but he also makes the flutes that he performs with "Ugly Boy Flutes." Bob is a member of the Carolinas Flute Circle and invites any and all interested in this beautiful instrument to pick up more information at his table in the lobby or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Bob is in his 18th year as a TV meteorologist, now with News 14 Carolina broadcasting in the Triad and Charlotte. Having started out as childhood sweethearts in a Georgia elementary school, Bob and his wife Martha now live near Matthews, where she teaches at McKee Elementary.
Circuit Riders. This collection of award-winning musicians from across the Carolinas has joined forces to create a bluegrass supergroup. Greg Luck on guitar and fiddle, Greg Corbett on banjo, Darin Aldridge on mandolin, Billy Gee on bass, Jaret Carter on Dobro. The Circuit Riders new CD on Pinecastle Records is "Let The Ride Begin." The band's seasoned sound and vocals reflect the years of experience contributed by each of its five members, who have played with bands including the Country Gentlemen, Acoustic Syndicate, Redwing, Lost & Found, Lynn Morris Band, Bluegrass Cardinals, J.D. Crowe and the New South, and IIIrd Tyme Out. www.thecircuitriders.com.
Community Singers is an intergenerational folk choir whose goal is to promote peace through music. It was founded by Carol Raedy, a onetime CFS president. They have fun singing together and expanding their musical horizons with songs from various styles and cultures. The main focus of the group is on the process of building community through music. They do this as they sing together and as they share their music at nursing homes, hospitals, festivals, etc. They welcome visitors and new members at any time and meet 7-8:30 p.m. on Tuesdays at a member's home in the Elizabeth area. Contact Christina Whitson at 704-713-9858 or a email@example.com. www.communitysongleaders.org.
Wayne Erbsen dates his involvement with roots music as a musician, teacher, author, publisher and recording artist to the early 1960s. Wayne relocated from California to Charlotte in 1972 and (among other things) taught banjo to Marilyn Price, who went on to found the Charlotte Folk Music Society. From Wayne's first book, "A Manual on How to Play the 5-String Banjo for the Complete Ignoramus!" was born Native Ground Books & Music, which now offers more than 25 books teaching everything from banjo, guitar, mandolin and fiddle to Southern folklore and historic cookery. Wayne has lived in Asheville for 30 years, where he runs Native Ground and teaches Appalachian music classes at Warren Wilson College and at his own Log Cabin Music Center. www.nativegroundmusic.com.
The Family Blend is a unique blended family musical group. Ashley DeBruhl, Morgan Wilder, Charles DeBruhl and Randy DeBruhl trace their musical heritage back for generations, including great uncles Wade and J.E. Mainer. Ashley has played fiddle for four years, studying two years with Jon Singleton, and has been singing all her life. Morgan has played mandolin for four years with Glen Alexander as her teacher. She also sings lead and harmony vocals. Charles DeBruhl plays bass and Randy DeBruhl plays guitar for the group and sings harmony. The Family Blend enjoys playing bluegrass, old time, gospel and country music for all types of audiences, including many appearances on Folk Society stages. Morgan is a Folk Society youth board member and won the Marilyn Meacham Price scholarship to the Swannanoa Gathering in 2005.
Debbie Gitlin (fiddle workshop) was born in Cleveland, Ohio. She began classical viola at the Cleveland Institute of Music when she was 8, and later attended Interlochen Arts Academy and studied with Lucien Joel of the Cleveland Orchestra. In 1980 she heard a recording of Tommy Jarrell playing "Cluck Old Hen" and immediately began attending fiddlers' conventions and visiting fiddlers across the United States. Gitlin has won more than 60 contest prizes at fiddlers' conventions throughout the country. She lives in Walkertown and teaches classical viola, violin, and fiddle at Jackson Music Studios in Winston-Salem.
Michael Reno Harrell is an award-winning songwriter and veteran storyteller and entertainer from the Southern Appalachian Mountains. Four decades of performing have taken him to over 40 states and several foreign countries. His recordings top the Americana Music Association charts year after year and his touring schedule stays full. Michael has recorded with some of the giants in the acoustic field including pals Sam Bush and Jerry Douglas. His storytelling has been described as "Andy Griffith with an edge" and "the Appalachian Mark Twain." Find out about his new release, "The River," at www.michaelreno.com.
Carson Hedberg Carson, 13, has played the Appalachian lap dulcimer for almost five years and is a regular on Folk Society stages, at Gathering concerts and at Festival in the Park. She plays solo, as well as in a duo with John Renwick. The eighth-grader at Piedmont Open/IB Middle School won the Marilyn Meacham Price Youth Scholarship this year and attended the Swannanoa Gathering's Dulcimer Week on July 8-14, where she took several intermediate classes.
J.C. Honeycutt. J.C. Honeycutt's father sang the children to sleep every night with Carter Family songs, cowboy ballads and sentimental "parlor songs" like "Over the Hills to the Poorhouse" and "Put My Little Shoes Away." Her mother sang gospel while doing her housework, and the radio was tuned to The Briarhoppers, Arthur Smith & the Crackerjacks, The Grand Ole Opry and the Renfro Valley Barn Dance, as well as big-band music, Bob & Ray (which, as a child, she thought was an actual news program) and "The Obituary Column of the Air." She credits this somewhat unusual mix of influences with helping to create her songwriting style, which she calls "unique" and others call "peculiar" or "That child ain't right." J.C. books the Folk Society Stage for Charlotte's Festival in the Park every year; she has also organized house concerts and songwriter showcases for both CFS and the local NSAI (Nashville Songwriters Association International) workshop. At the Swannanoa Gathering, she and her "Swanny Bottom Gang" close out the student open mic night at Contemporary Folk Week with a big "production number." JC has been a CFS member since around 1990 and is serving her second term on the CFS Board.
Steve Houser is a storyteller who attended the very first organizational meeting of the Folk Society and has served on our board. A native of rural North Carolina, Steve uses his teaching, counseling, environmental education skills, and his groundhog skin banjo to share stories of nature, Southern tales, legends and stories of his own family traditions to people of all ages. Steve is a CFS member and has been on our stage many times.
Kilocycle Kowboys. Jim Whitley on banjo, Darrel Gray on standup bass and Joe Cline on guitar have played together over 35 years and Glen Alexander has joined them on fiddle for at least 15. Jim and Darrel make up one half of the famous Chicken Hot Rod Band, popular in the '70s and now on a comeback and touring regularly. Joe is a longtime host of "This Old Porch" on WNCW. Fiddle champ Alexander says, "I have always enjoyed playing with these guys, probably because they do not feel the need to play in the key of 'B' all night. Great musicianship, tight vocals and they also think they're funny. Claim to fame -- 'Charlotte's longest running Bluegrass Band.'".
Little Windows creates a mix of Appalachian and Irish music, and traditionally-based originals, with a special focus on unaccompanied ballads. Mark Weems and Julee Glaub tour together nationally and internationally, exploring the art of the pure voice with tight harmonies in traditional songs. Instrumentation includes guitar, fiddle, banjo, flute, piano and bodhran. Mark has been steeped in the old time tradition for years while Julee has done the same in the traditional Irish realm. Though they have both made several recordings with other bands as well as solo projects, Julee and Mark have just released their first recording together, "Just Beyond Me." www.littlewindows.net.
Maggie's Fancy. One of the first bands to form from Marilyn Price's CPCC Jam Class, Maggie's Fancy performed for seven years as a band before retiring, characterized by a repertoire of Celtic and Appalachian old time music. Their CD "Glen to Grov" was the first release on the Celtic Trader label, and they engaged in over 200 performances in a several-state area. Founded by Doug and Darcy Orr, Maggie's Fancy included Brian Schmiel, Pam Keen and the late Nace Toner. Performing tonight are Vic Johansson, bass and banjo; Doug Orr, guitar; Darcy Orr, Appalachian dulcimer and concertina; Brian Schmiel, mandolin; and Pam Patterson formerly Keen on flute.
Magpye performed for 12 years in the Charlotte area, playing a mix of Celtic and traditional mountain music. Its four members diverse musical backgrounds give Magpye its distinctive sound. Shirley Kohl grew up with traditional string-band music. She blends Appalachian rhythms with Irish melodies creating what the band calls "Southern Celtic." Shirley plays guitar, octave mandolin, bodhran, and writes music for the group. Marti Sams plays lap and hammer dulcimers, clawhammer banjo, autoharp, and piano. Marti is also a vocalist and contra dance caller. John Trexler plays tin whistle, Irish flute, clarinet, and fife; he also does a turn on pipes and hurdy-gurdy. Joe Cline sings and plays guitar, mandolin and bass, bringing a touch of bluegrass to Magpye's performance. Shirley has served as Folk Society president and Joe has served on the CFS board and is a longtime volunteer who put together the 25th anniversary CD.
Men Standing for Christ. Started by the late Dr. Leon C. Riddick, Men Standing For Christ carries on the tradition of black quartet singing with harmonies that raise goosebumps and penetrate straight to the heart. Original member David Thompson, now in his 70s, led the group for over 35 years. Today, Men Standing for Christ numbers 20 singers under the direction of Gary Carter. As an outreach/prison ministry, they strive to be positive male role models in service and stewardship. Longtime fan Dr. Tom Hanchett made it his mission to bring this group to a Folk Society Gathering and succeeded last year. Since then, Men Standing for Christ has twice shared their gospel singing on our Folk Stage at Festival in the Park. firstname.lastname@example.org
Joe Newberry is a Missouri native and N.C. transplant who has made music most of his life. His grandfather was a hunting and fishing companion of the great folk song collector Vance Randolph, and Joe grew up singing the old songs he learned from his family in the Ozarks. Joe is also known for his powerful and innovative banjo playing, which has won contests around the country, including first place at the Appalachian String Band Music Festival. He plays and sings with Big Medicine, with Rafe Stefanini and Jim Collier as the Grey Eagles, and with original Red Clay Ramblers Jim Watson, Mike Craver, and Bill Hicks. Joe is a well-loved figure who has played CFS house concerts, Gatherings and our Festival in the Park stage. Joe's MySpace Page.
Joe Riggs (autoharp demo) is an ESL teacher for CMS at Eastway Middle School. He and his family have been members of CFS almost since the beginning, and Joe has played often for CFS functions over the years. He served as editor of the CFMS monthly magazine for a year back in the '80s, and Marilyn Price's Old-Time jam class kept him practicing. He began to study the way Kilby Snow played, and wrote his biography. Joe plays a custom, left-handed harp in the old-time way, below the bars, "sort of upside down and backwards." He will demonstrate that style, and show the difference in sound when the harp is picked above the bars, a la Maybelle Carter, and below the bars, as Snow did. Look for his handout packed with autoharp references in print, recordings, and on the web.
Angie Rikard & Matt Hatfield (Full Grown). N.C. native Angie White Rikard has been a regular on the local and regional blues circuit for more than a decade. Angie has shared the stage with such legends as Bob Margolin, Tinsley Ellis, Anne Rabson and Sheila Carlisle. Her former bands include Home Remedy, A Simple Truth, Boone legend Chicken Fat, and The Big Basement Band. Matt Hatfield's baritone voice and genuine style have made him widely appreciated back home in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Angie is a Folk Society member and has performed with Matt Hatfield on our stage many times. The duo plans to continue playing as an acoustic act, while also jamming with some of the region's finest rhythm section players in order to explore its full creative potential. Full Grown has shared the stage with Abe Reid & the Spikedrivers, Barefoot Manner, and Bellyful, to name a few. Whether writing, recording, or playing live, Fullgrown is continually carving its niche among the Southeast's premier roots music artists. www.fullgrown.net.
Rince na h'Eireann. A native of County Cork, Ireland, Sandra Connick grew up in a family with a strong tradition of Irish Dancing. With fond memories of dancing and competing with her sisters, Sandra shares her love and dance and gift of teaching through her School of Traditional Irish Dance. Rince na h'Eireann began in 1994 with one student and has grown to serve over 400 students of all ages at five Carolinas locations. Their frequent public appearances include many on Folk Society stages and they are always favorites. www.rincenaheireann.com.
The Ruffians. Back in the '90s, the Ruffians almost quit their day jobs in order to brew up a blend of Celtic, old time, South American and original tunes for audiences far and wide, narrow and near. Jon and Karen Singleton, Albert Dulin, Henry Trexler and Buddy McManus played fiddle, guitar, mandolin, drum, bass, keyboard, feet, bouzouki and banjo. After recording their CD "A-Rovin'" on the legendary Celtic Trader label, they took to the high seas for the Grits & Chips tour of England and Scotland in 1996, sharing grits recipes with unsuspecting folk club audiences.
Rick Spreitzer Trio. Rick Spreitzer (guitar, vocals), Kevin Edwards (lead guitar) and J.D. Wilson (mandolin, slide guitar) are regulars on the Charlotte-area live music scene. Rick is an award-winning songwriter with four solo CDs, and has appeared on the Folk Society stage countless times. "A good song is a shooting star: carving a faint but memorable trail into open sky. My aim is to write in a way that both illuminates and encourages small discoveries in such wide open spaces where poetry and mystery can serve as both wind and wing." www.rickspreitzer.com.
Jon Singleton. A teacher and performer on fiddle, banjo, guitar, mandolin, dobro, bodrhan and autoharp since the early '70s, Jon teaches at The Violin Shoppe at 2112 East 7th Street in Charlotte and has taught private lessons at Davidson College for over 15 years. His teaching credits include the Augusta Heritage Workshop, Mars Hill College and the Florida Frolic. Jon has been voted Creative Loafing's "Best Overall Local Musician." He has won so many fiddle festivals that he has graduated to judging. The leader of the Ruffians for 10 years, Jon has performed and recorded with Poultry in Motion, The New Wabash Cannibals, Carolina Gator Gumbo, The New Dixie Pharaohs, The Brattonsville Gypsies and with such legendary musicians as the Chieftains and the Wolfe Tones. He is especially proud to have received the 2004 Heritage Award from the Charlotte Folk Society. His Acme Ceilidh Band currently leads the Sunday night Irish session at RiRa's in Charlotte. He also plays alternate Mondays with Henry Lebedinsky and Kate Minogue at Summit Coffee House in Davidson.
Steel Magnolia. Steel Magnolia jelled after a serendipitous jam session in spring 1995 at a McLeansville haunt for bluegrass musicians, Brown's Ole Opry. Judy Arnette, of Greensboro, plays guitar and sings lead vocals. Cindy Tucker, of Altamahaw, on banjo and vocals, plays an instrument on stage that was made by her father, who inspired her love of the banjo. Pammy Davis of Pleasant Garden, on Dobro, is a charter member of the Charlotte Folk Music Society and, along with Judy and Cindy, started High Lonesome Strings and was its president for 10 years. Joining the group in 2003 were Susan Owen of Gibsonville, on mandolin and vocals, and Keith Carroll of Eden, on bass. The group has recorded a musical project titled "Something Blue," with four songs by band members Judy and Cindy. PammyDavis@juno.com. www.steelmagnoliabluegrass.com.
Rodney Sutton is a traditional dancer, caller, musician, and storyteller. He was both a member and director of the Green Grass Cloggers in their early years and currently dances with their reunion team. In demand nationally as a teacher of traditional dance styles, he has been on staff at numerous music and dance weeks including Pinewoods, Augusta, Ashokan, and the Swannanoa Gathering. He is chief organizer of the Madison County Arts Council's Bluff Mountain Music Festival, held each June in Hot Springs. Rodney serves on Asheville's Folk Heritage Committee, which produces Shindig on the Green and the Mountain Dance and Folk Festival. Rodney's friendly style of sharing his love of clogging and flatfooting, along with his welcoming "put you at ease" calling, has made him a favorite at festivals, conventions, and retreats for over 35 years.
Pat Talbert, Scottish fiddler and harper, is a longtime member of the Charlotte Folk Society and was editor of its monthly magazine for eight years. A native North Carolinian, she has studied with Alasdair Fraser, Johnny Cunningham, Alison Kinnaird and William Jackson, among others. She has a solo album, "Peacocks and Angels," and is a guest artist on numerous others. She has served as a competition judge for fiddle and harp and has performed at numerous Highland games and Celtic music festivals. Pat is also an educator, author and lecturer who holds a Ph.D. in Scottish literature and history from the University of South Carolina. Her most recent publication is "Hymn Tunes from the Celtic World," 70 beloved hymns with commentary.
Saundra Thomas. Saundra Porter Thomas is a "singing storytelle" and multicultural educator. Using a cappella vocal interpretations, Saundra connects with her audience and, together, they bridge the past and present creating a "living and singing tapestry." Saundra is a proud graduate of the Afro-American Culture Center's Teaching Artist Program and founder and facilitator of Creative Holistic Interprises, dedicated to the balance of mind, body, soul and spirit. CHI provides motivational and spiritual empowerment workshops for children, adults, churches, corporations and community groups in safe and sacred environments. www.storyteller.net/tellers/sporter_thomas.
Joe Thompson has been recognized for continuing his family's rich tradition of African American stringband music in the South with heritage awards from the N. C. Arts Council, the N.C. Folklore Society, and the Charlotte Folk Society. On September 18, 2007, the National Endowment for the Arts presented the 88-year-old Mebane fiddler with a National Heritage Fellowship in recognition of his lifetime achievement, artistic excellence, and contributions to our nation's traditional arts heritage. Joe's father, John Arch Thompson, and his brother, Walter, were sought after by African American and Anglo neighbors to provide music for local square dances. As soon as Joe took up the fiddle, he and his brother, Nate, and their cousin, Odell, were in demand for house parties in the Alamance and Orange County areas. Most of the tunes they learned have today become standards for Southern fiddlers and banjo players, but some were unique to the African American repertoire. Joe also punctuates his performance with sung verses and square dance calls, many of which are rarely heard today. The folk revival of the '70s gained a wider spotlight for the cousins African American traditions, which they shared at the National Folk Festival at Lowell, Massachusetts, the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes in Washington state, and at New York's Carnegie Hall. Joining Joe at tonight's concert are Molly Stouten and Steve Terrill of Greensboro, who perform regularly with the Piedmont stringband The Hushpuppies.
The Whippersnappers. Musical performance came early for The Whippersnappers Emmy, Casey and Avery McGuirt with Suzuki violin study in preschool. Today at 10, 11 and 13 years old, classical violin lessons continue, but Avery also studies bluegrass fiddle, his sister Casey the mandolin, and Emmy the upright bass. The kids are accompanied by their dad, David, on guitar and vocals. Avery, 13, has brought home fiddling awards including the Charlotte Folk Society's Marilyn Meacham Price scholarship to attend Fiddle Week at the 2006 Swannanoa Gathering. Performing in church sanctuaries and on festival stages, The Whippersnappers play bluegrass, gospel and even a jazz tune or two. Recent appearances have included Flat Rock Music Festival and Whippoorwill Musicfest.