Master Mountain Musicians Tracy Schwarz, Ginny Hawker to Play the Jones House April 3

Published Monday, March 28, 2016 at 11:53 am
Master mountain musicians Tracy Schwarz and Ginny Hawker of West Virginia will perform  in downtown Boone on Sunday, April 3, starting at 4:00 p.m., continuing the 2016 Winter/Spring Indoor Concerts at the Jones House.
“We couldn’t be more thrilled to have these two prominent musicians visiting the Jones House,” says concerts organizer, Mark Freed.  “Tracy Schwarz and Ginny Hawker possess as deep a knowledge of traditional American roots music as any living artist.”

Husband-and-wife duo, Schwarz and Hawker have been performing and teaching traditional music together since 1989, and they have released two recordings as a duet.  Both Good Songs for Hard Times and Draw Closer were met with praise from traditional and roots music publications – not surprising for two veterans in the field.
Master fiddler, Tracy Schwarz is known widely as one of the foremost experts of American fiddle styles, from old-time mountain to southern Louisiana Cajun to urban Country and bluegrass.  Schwarz started learning to play stringed instruments as a young man, including the fiddle while he was in the Army after college.  In 1962, Schwarz replaced Tom Paley in the renowned old-time string band The New Lost City Ramblers, with Mike Seeger and John Cohen.  The Ramblers set the bar for folk musicians of the 1960’s who strove to learn not only the repertoire, but the playing and singing styles of the folk masters.  In the 1970s, Schwarz became friends with famed Cajun fiddler, Dewey Balfa.  The two performed and recorded together, and Schwarz has become known as one of the premier teachers of Cajun fiddle styles.  Though most known for his fiddling, Schwarz is also a master on the accordion, guitar, banjo, mandolin, and singing.

Ginny Hawker grew up in Halifax County, Virginia in a large family of singers and musicians.  Her father, Ben Hawker, was her mentor, and together, they taught the beautiful old singing of his Primitive Baptist Church for years at the Augusta Heritage Workshops in Elkins, WV, as well as at the Chicago Folk Festival Smithsonian, and Vancuver Folk Festival.  Ginny’s father also taught her to sing bluegrass harmonies, a skill she used in collaborations with numerous roots musicians and on many recordings, most notably with Kay Justice.  Hawker has recorded with Hazel Dickens and been featured on recordings of Carter Family music.

Elanor Ditzel says, “Ginny Hawker’s expressions of vocal honesty and soulfulness are part of the foundation that have united bluegrass, gospel, honky tonk, and old-time music in rural America.  Hawker expresses deep feelings that share both the sorrows and joys of a simpler life.”
In concert, Hawker and Schwarz will cover everything from the beautiful unaccompanied ballads of the south to early bluegrass duets to the songs of the Carter Family.  Audience members will hear fiddle tunes, gospel songs,as done in rural families, even some classic country songs.
“Every song means something special to us,” the group says on their website.  “We invite you to join us in the celebration of your heritage.”
The concert begins at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, April 3, with the doors opening at 3:30 p.m.  Concerts take place in the Mazie Jones Gallery in the Jones House, and there is a limit of 40 seats for the performance.  Advanced reservations are encouraged, as the show is expected to sell out.  Seats are $20 per person and will include an opportunity to meet the artists.
For more information about the performance, including reservations and a complete Fall Concerts schedule, please visit or contact the Town of Boone Cultural Resources Department at 828.268.6280.
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