April 3, 2014. Mike Craver, Bill Hicks, Joe Newberry and Malian griot Cheick Hamala Diabate are scheduled to perform at the Jones House on Tuesday, April 8, starting at 7:30 p.m., continuing the Town of Boone’s collaboration with the Black and Global Banjo Roots Concert Series.
“Partnering with Cece Conway and the Banjo Roots Series has allowed us to bring top-notch and world-renowned folk musicians into the community, in addition to their activities on campus,” said Jones House Concerts organizer Mark Freed. “And Tuesday’s performers are no exception. They are absolutely top-notch.”
Bill Hicks and Jim Watson are two of the founders of the Red Clay Ramblers, and Mike Craver joined the band in its second year, 1973. For the next decade, they toured extensively throughout the U.S. and abroad, acted and played in Off-Broadway shows and released eight albums. Watson currently tours with Robin and Linda Williams, in addition to recording solo projects, playing with the Green Level Entertainers, and touring with Craver, Hicks, Watson and Newberry. Mike Craver has worked in musical theater since leaving the Ramblers, writing for Broadway musicals and arranging music for Smoke on the Mountain. Joe Newberry is known far and wide for his powerful banjo playing and award-winning song writing and he performs regularly in a duo with mandolinist Mike Compton. Fiddler and singer Chris Brashear will be joining the band. Brashear is a colorful multi-instrumentalist and charismatic singer who performs with a variety of like-minded musicians, including Robin and Linda Williams, Jody Stecher and Peter McLaughlin.
In addition to the string band of Watson, Hicks, Craver, Newberry, and Brashear, Malian griot, Cheick Hamala Diabate, will be performing a set at the concert. Diabate is a master of the ngoni, an African stringed lute instrument that might play a role in the roots of the banjo. Diabate is also an excellent guitar and banjo player, who won a Grammy Award for his collaboration with old-time banjo player, Bob Carlin, called From Mali to America. Diabate performed at the first Black Banjo Gathering, which took place at Appalachian State in 2005, and he has returned several times in the continuing banjo-roots concerts and conferences.
“Folks can expect to hear lots of American and global-roots music performed by some of the best in the business,” Freed says. “There will be sounds ranging from the ancient tones of the ngoni, to the fiddle and banjo tunes of the southern mountains, and from Carter Family’s songs of the Golden Age of American Country music to some of the finest crafted songs of today that align themselves with the folk music of our country.”
Doors at the Jones House will open at 7:00 p.m. and the concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the downstairs, Mazie Jones Gallery. Tickets for limited reserved seating cost $20. For more information, including reserving seats, email or call Mark Freed at [email protected] or (828) 268-6282.