Legendary old-time, bluegrass and folk musician, Alice Gerrard, comes to the Jones House Cultural and Community Center on Saturday, October 27, for a singing workshop and afternoon concert with the Piedmont Melody Makers.
Alice Gerrard has been playing, recording, and documenting American folk music styles for more than six decades. Her famous recordings with fellow traditional music pioneer, Hazel Dickens, helped paved the way for generations of women musicians like The Judds, Laurie Lewis, Alison Krauss, and many more. As founding editor of The Old Time Herald, and a fieldwork documenter, Gerrard helped capture and tell the stories of American folk music over the second half of the 21st century.
Gerrard was born in Seattle, Washington, and she later went to school at Antioch College, where she was exposed to folk music. After college, Gerrard moved to Washington, D.C., where she met Dickens and others interested in bluegrass and early country music styles. The four albums she made with Dickens in the 1960s and 70s are known as ground-breaking recordings for women in country music, and they have been cited as inspiration by The Judds, Alison Krauss, Laurie Lewis, and a generation of women in bluegrass and country music.
Gerrard has recorded four of her own solo albums, which were released to critical acclaim in Billboard, Bluegrass Unlimited, and other publications. Equally adept on fiddle, banjo, and guitar, she is known for her compelling songwriting and powerful, hard-edged vocals.
Author Lee Smith says, “Alice has a haunting and distinctive voice and she can do anything – holler, shout, belt it out, swing a little, croon a little, and then flat-out break your heart.”
Gerrard has appeared on dozens of recording projects with some of the most well-known old-time and folk musicians of the past 50 years, including Tommy Jarrell, Enoch Rutherford, Luther Davis, and Matokie Slaughter. For many years, she collaborated with Brad Leftwich and Tom Sauber in the trio, Tom, Brad & Alice. In more recent years, she recorded and toured as The Harmony Sisters, the Herald Angels, Beverly Smith, and Anna & Elizabeth. She has co-produced and appeared in several important documentary films, including Sprout Wings and Fly, Homemade American Music, and You Gave Me a Song. Gerrard has won numerous honors and awards, including the International Bluegrass Music Association’s (IBMA) Distinguished Achievement Award, and the IBMA’s Hall of Fame for her collaborations with Hazel Dickens.
Naomi Judd says, “The Judds owe Hazel and Alice a sincere thank you, not only for showing us how to take our first musical step, but for continuing to help preserve old-time music.”
Alice will be performing with the Piedmont Melody Makers, which also includes traditional music experts Jim Watson, Chris Brashear, and Cliff Hale. Watson was a founding member of the Red Clay Ramblers and has been a long-time collaborator with Robin and Linda Williams as a mandolin and guitar player, as well as an expert harmony singer. Brashear is an expert multi-instrumentalist and singer from the Ozark Mountains, who has performed, recorded and toured with Robin and Linda Williams, Jody Stecher, Peter McLaughlin, Todd Phillips, and many more. West Virginia-born Cliff Hale is an expert guitar player and singer, who now makes his home in North Carolina. He is known for his excellent singing voice and command of early country music styles.
The Piedmont Melody Makers will be giving a singing workshop, starting at 2:00 p.m. at the Jones House, followed by a ticketed concert at 4:00 p.m. The singing workshop is free, although advanced reservations are requested. Tickets for the afternoon concert are $20 each, and advanced reservations are also recommended – although open seats will be available for purchase at the door on the day of the concert.
The event is being produced by the Town of Boone’s Cultural Resources Department and is sponsored by Black and Global Roots Concerts, The Town of Boone, Appalachian State University, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
The workshop and concert take place in the Mazie Jones Gallery of the Jones House in downtown Boone, located at 604 W. King St. The concert space seats are limited to 40 people, so advanced reservation is strongly encouraged. To make a reservation for the concert or workshop, please contact Mark Freed at [email protected] or call 828.268.6280. To find out more information about the Jones House Cultural and Community Center and the indoor concert series at the Jones House, please visit www.joneshouse.org