October is here and Joe Shannon’s Mountain Home Music is welcoming in the colorful spectacle of fall foliage here in the High Country with a special concert, “Three Generations of Music–Old and New.” It features the singing and songwriting of Dori Freeman, the mandolin and fiddle-playing of her dad, Scott Freeman and the singing and guitar-playing of her Granddad Willard Gayheart. Joining this family trio will be their good friend and host for the show, David Johnson. The concert is Saturday, Oct. 6, at the Harvest House Performing Arts Venue at 7:30 p.m.
Dori Freeman is a singer and songwriter from Galax, Virginia. Her music blurs the finer lines of Americana and shines new light on the legacy of traditional music. She brings a modern and honest perspective–both lyrically and vocally–to the genre. Dori’s 2016 self-titled first album received accolades from Rolling Stone Country, calling it, “A strong contender for debut of the year.” NPR said, “This debut album shows great range and incredible emotional nuance–it’s startling to hear such a fully formed singing and songwriting voice to come out of nowhere.” Since then, Freeman has gone on to tour nationally and overseas with her band. Her sophomore album, “Letters Never Read,” was released in October of 2017 to further acclaim. She said that a common theme in her music is “dealing with relationships and breakups, and wanting to be strong and independent, but also wanting to have a partner through things.”
This JSMHM concert will also bring Freeman back to her roots by playing the traditional music she grew up with. Many friends of Joe Shannon remembers him inviting Dori to join both her dad, Scott, and Granddad, Willard, when they were playing with “Skeeter and the Skid Marks” on the Mountain Home Music shows. In an interview, Dori reflected on her Appalachian music and said
I was brought up here and have spent the better part of my adult life here near Galax, Virginia… I think a large part of America has a very specific idea of what Appalachia or bluegrass is. I think people think of this area and they think of hillbillies and being isolated and poverty and things like that. My experience living here is one of meeting genuine, honest people who don’t have any affectation and are really proud of their culture. I’m really proud of my culture as a result of that.
JSMHM director Rodney Sutton said, “This concert has all the makings of a return to the feel of the early days of a Mountain Home Music concert–the ones where Joe Shannon was on stage and interacting with the performers. David Johnson is a long-time family friend of Scott and Willard and he watched Dori grow up to become the young woman and performer that she is today.” Sutton added, “Scott and David were friends of Joe’s and have been a fixture on JSMHM concerts since the earliest days–both being included in what was Joe’s house band, The Mountain Home Bluegrass Boys. As fans of JSMHM know, David is a funny and entertaining host and an incredibly talented multi-instrumentalist.”
Private sponsors for this concert are Tony and Lynn Barbour, Michael and Jane McKee, Harry Thomas and Bill and Jewel Magee–in Loving Memory of Neil. Business Sponsors include, Anne and Alex Bernhardt Foundation–a component fund of the North Carolina Community Foundation, Fred’s Mercantile, Mast General Store, Stick Boy Kitchen, Mountain Time Publishing and the High Country Press. Additional support is provided by Boone TDA, The Watauga County Arts Council and Grassroots Funds from The NC Arts Council. Joe Shannon’s Mountain Home Music is also proud to be included as a site on the Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina (BlueRidgeMusicNC.com).
The Harvest House Performing Arts Venue is located at 247 Boone Heights Dr in Boone.
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 and 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