Bluegrass fans will have the opportunity to hear some of the region’s finest bluegrass music this Friday in downtown Boone as the Town’s Cultural Resources Department continues the 2017 Summer Concerts at the Jones House. This years bluegrass showcase will feature three bands, including Never Too Late Bluegrass, Jonah Riddle and Carolina Express, and Surefire.
“Bluegrass music always draws a lot of people to the Jones House lawn,” says concert organizer, Mark Freed. “We try to feature a diverse array of sounds and styles, and there is certainly a core High Country audience for an evening of bluegrass music.”
Veteran musicians and friends, Never Too Late Bluegrass, will begin the evening at 5:00 p.m. Featuring Brent Fain from Pleasant Garden on guitar, Kent Huffman from Belews Creek on bass, Bruce Hill from Blowing Rock on banjo, and Dan Isaacs from Vilas on fiddle and Harmonica, the band plays traditional bluegrass with vocal harmonies and instrumental prowess. They started playing together in 2001, and they have since appeared on public television in Winston-Salem and recorded a pair of CDs.
“These guys really enjoy the music, and it comes through with their performance,” Freed says. “They are a lot of fun to watch perform.”
Jonah Riddle and Carolina Express will perform second, featuring brothers Jonah and Grayson Riddle on banjo and guitar, and their father, Benjie, playing bass. The brothers have been performing together for several years, starting in their hometown church in McDowell County and expanding from there. Jonah plays excellent three-finger banjo, and Grayson has impressed many with his powerful singing voice – reminiscent of Jimmie Martin. The band recently released their Freshman recording, which will be available at the Jones House Friday.
Finishing up the showcase will be Boone’s Surefire, including Tom Isaacs, Robbie Norris, Tim Norris, and JM Trivette. Surefire formed about 15 years ago when high school friends Isaacs, Norris, and John Bryan wanted an outlet for performing bluegrass music. The group quickly rose to regional recognition, winning competitions and churning out a few recordings. The members have since settled into careers with families, though they stay regularly active as the house band for the Red White and Bluegrass jam session – a twice monthly gathering on the first and third Tuesday evenings at the Harvest House.
“These guys have bluegrass music coursing through their veins, and they play and sing almost as effortless as breathing… or at least so it seems,” says Freed.
The Summer Concerts at the Jones House are free and open to the public. Concerts are held every Friday in June, July, and August, starting at 5:00 p.m., and they are held rain or shine. Patrons are encouraged to bring their own chairs or blankets to enjoy the music from the Jones House lawn. Alcoholic beverages are permitted on the Jones House property, if patrons are of legal age and bring their own beverages. No open containers are allowed beyond the Jones House property. Friendly pets are permitted on leash.
Friday’s concert is sponsored by the Appalachian Music Shoppe, located in Carriage Square on the 105 extension. The 2017 Summer Concerts at the Jones House sponsors include the Downtown Boone Development Association, Mast General Store, MPrints, Melanie’s, Stick Boy Bread Co, Rosemary Horowitz and Jerry Hyman, and Burton Moomaw Acupuncture.