The Freight Hoppers Make a Stop in Boone for Workshops and Concert, Apr. 8

Published Friday, March 31, 2017 at 11:21 am
Hard-driving old-time string band, The Freight Hoppers, have been presenting and performing their blend of southern mountain music for 25 years, and they pull into Boone on Sunday, April 8, for workshops and a house concert at the Jones House.
 
The Freight Hoppers got their energetic take on fiddle band music playing four shows a day, seven days a week, at the Great Smoky Mountains Railway in 1992.  The group developed a repertoire that includes music first recorded in the 1920s and early 1930s, spanning a geographic area from Mississippi to West Virginia.  
 
The band honed a tight sound that caught the attention of traditional music fans across the state and country, presenting their music with an emotional, raw excitement that keeps one foot planted in the past and the other in the present. 
 
“I first heard about The Freight Hoppers when I was living in Michigan, and for an old-time band to have national name recognition is something,” recalls concert organizer, Mark Freed.  “Old-time music is kind of the lesser known cousin to bluegrass – especially when you get out of the southern Blue Ridge region.”
 
The band played festivals and concerts all over the country, helping keep alive the old-time tunes and styles of bands like The Skillet Lickers of Georgia, Uncle Dave Macon of Tennessee, and Doc Watson of North Carolina.  During the 1990s, the Freight Hoppers became the most popular modern day old time music string band in the world.  They recorded two critically acclaimed albums that climbed into the Top 20 of Billboard’s Americana music charts: Where’d You Come From, Where’d You Go? (released in 1996) and Waiting on the Gravy Train (1998).  They toured extensively in the U.S. , Canada, and Europe, appeared on A Prairie Home Companion, and elevated the popularity of old time music around the world. 
 
The heart of the band is the fiddle and clawhammer banjo combo of Merritt Smith and Frank Lee.  Allie Burbrink plays guitar and Andy Smith plays bass, holding down the rhythm section of the ensemble. 
 
Founding member and banjo player, Frank Lee, will present a clawhammer banjo workshop at the Jones House, starting at 4:00 p.m. 
 
“Frank is one of my favorite clawhammer banjo player, and he is a great teacher,” Freed adds.  “If you are a banjo fan and haven’t checked out his music, now is the time.”
 
Bass player Andy Smith is also an accomplished flatfoot and clogging dancer, and she will lead a flatfoot dance workshop, also at 4:00 p.m.
 

The workshops are free for participants of the Jones House music lessons and anyone attending the evening concert.  If others are interested in participating in the workshop, please contact Mark Freed at mark.freed@townofboone.net or 828.268.6282.

 
The concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 8 in the Mazie Jones Gallery of the Jones House.  Tickets for the concert are $20 for adults and $10 for students.  The venue can seat 40 people, and due to the limited seating, advanced reservations are recommended.  All open seats will be available at the door, which opens at 7:00 p.m. on the night of the concert.
 
For more information on the community center or the Indoor Concert Series, including a complete schedule of performances, please visit www.joneshouse.orgor call 828.268.6280
 

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