JSMHM Presents Puddingstone, “Celtic Time Machine,” This Saturday, July 21st

Published Tuesday, July 17, 2018 at 9:34 am

Puddingstone will present their “Celtic Time Machine” show as a part of Joe Shannon’s Mountain Home Music’s 25th Silver Anniversary 2018 Concert Series on Saturday, July 21st. The concert, hosted by the affable Patrick Crouch, takes place at the Blowing Rock School Auditorium in beautiful downtown Blowing Rock beginning at 7:30pm.

Puddingstone is a Lenoir based ensemble, which first formed as a trio consisting of percussion, hammered dulcimer, harp and flutes. It has grown to a seven-member band and now includes vocals, guitar, synthesizer and fiddle.

The band’s name reflects their member’s musical backgrounds perfectly- pudding stone is a conglomerate of many different stones. The members, who are all multi-instrumentalist, include Dr. David Abernathy, Mike Willis, Denise Baxter-Yoder, Paul Holt, Suzanne Williams and Matt Davis. Kay Crouch will be filling in for long-time keyboard player, Gregory Knight, for this show.

The genres of music played by Puddingstone ranges from Americana such as fife and drum, Celtic, folk, New Age, Flamenco, Renaissance as well as some classical. What makes a Puddingstone arrangement recognizable is the unique sound. They have a dazzling array of ancient and modern instruments including hurdy gurdy, gemshorns, & viola de gamba as well as electronic wind machines and drum sets. The combination of the ancient and acoustic instruments with the electronic instruments is what gives then their signature sound.

JSMHM’s director, Rodney Sutton stated, “It is a pleasure and very fitting to have Puddingstone make a return engagement for JSMHM’s 25th Silver Anniversary season after nearly a five year absence. The late Joe Shannon and Dr. David Abernathy had a long personal and musical friendship, cemented by their love of the hammered dulcimer.”

As Patrick Crouch tells it, “David and Joe met many years ago at the North Carolina Arts Consortium in Durham, NC. Joe and David both had an ear for beautiful melody and they were drawn to similar musical styles and compositions. David actually recorded one of Joe’s original tunes ‘Eagles Wing’ on a Puddingstone CD with Joe as a guest artist on the hammered dulcimer. Joe and David’s musical collaborations and friendship led to Puddingstone appearing on Mountain Home Music along the way. David asked Joe to write a soliloquy for his musical project Here in this Place. Joe wrote and performed the soliloquy for the premier in the J. E. Broyhill Civic Center in Lenoir, NC. The last project Joe and David collaborated on was a Christmas program Puddingstone performed for MHM in the Meadowbrook Inn in Blowing Rock”.

Crouch continued, “Puddingstone began through a friendship between David Abernathy and Mike Willis who were classmates more than fifty years ago in the infamous Lenoir High School Band. They reconnected during a holiday season a few years after high school. David and Michael began jamming together on hammered dulcimer and harp respectively. They are and have always been the nucleus of Puddingstone”.

Elaborating on what makes Puddingstone unique, Crouch stated, “I have filled in with the PS band on many occasions, even back in the early trio days. I had one three-year stint where I was a bona fide part time Puddingstoner! I noticed that PS’s audience appeal is in their originality and instrumental diversity. The members of the band bring sometimes obscure, but always interesting, material for the repertoire. Some of my favorite PS pieces are original works by members of the band. The instrumentation is different on almost every selection. This strikes me as a more ‘European Folk’ approach than a lot of American bands use. Puddingstone tends to work out arrangements that serve the piece of music rather than shaping the music to fit a predefined mold. As a listener you never know what you are going to hear so each concert is like an aural adventure”.

Abernathy tells the story of naming the band Puddingstone – “Pudding stone is a conglomeration of various rounded pebbles whose colors contrast sharply with the fine grained sand or cement surrounding them. Engineers claimed the Golden Gate Bridge was built on pudding stone that would never support the load. The bridge is still there. The Cherokee Indians believed that because each stone of pudding stone had its own shape and character, the stones contained powerful spirits.”

Crouch closed the interview by stating, “I must declare that the Puddingstone band has stood the test of time. David Abernethy has kept an impressive musical ensemble together for many years. Puddingstone has survived numerous life challenges and personnel changes but continues to play with a powerful spirit”.  

This concert is supported by the following private sponsors: Tony and Lynn Barbour, Bill and Jewel Magee – in Loving Memory of Neil and Harry Thomas, Robert and Linda Connelly, Virginia VanStory, and Larry and Barbara Freiman. Business Sponsors include: Mast General Store, Anne and Alex Bernhardt Foundation – a component fund of the North Carolina Community Foundation, The High Country United Way – courtesy of Jack and Karen James, Mountain Time Publishing, and the High Country Press. Additional support is provided by Boone TDA, Watauga County Arts Council and Grassroots Funds from The NC Arts Council. JSMHM is also proud to be included as a site on the Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina (BlueRidgeMusicNC.com).

The Blowing Rock School Auditorium is located at 130 Sunset Dr. in Blowing Rock.
Tickets cost $18 in advance and $20 at the door. Student tickets are $5. Children 12 and younger are admitted free. Advance tickets may be purchased online at www.mountainhomemusic.org. Tickets may also be purchased at the Mast General Store (Boone and Valle Crucis), Fred’s Mercantile on Beech Mountain, Stick Boy Bread Company(345 Hardin St, Boone), plus Footsloggers and Pandora’s Mailbox on Main Street in downtown Blowing Rock.

Tickets, directions and more info can be found at the JSMHM website – www.mountainhomemusic.org/





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