The series begins with a Black Roots Concert, in conjunction with Dr. Cece Conway and the Black & Global Roots Concerts and Front Porch initiative, which explores the West African influences upon American banjo music and Piedmont Blues. The Black Roots Concert takes place on Feb. 3, and it will feature a variety of artists, including Piedmont blues musician Jeffrey Scott, banjo roots scholars and musicians Seth Swingle and Fiona Balestrieri, and fiddle and banjo duet Jake Blount and Tatiana Hargreaves.
The series continues on Feb. 16, with the King Bees, featuring guitarist Rob Baskerville and bass player Penny Zamagni. The King Bees have been fixtures of the High Country for decades, and they are the premier blues band of the area. In addition to their extensive touring, the King Bees also host the annual New River Blues Festival, and they released a new recording in late 2017.
The King Bees have performed with many of the blues greats, including artists like Bo Diddley, Jerry Boogie McCain, and harmonica great Neal Pattman. The King Bees do not often have opportunities to play in such close and intimate venues, and they will be presenting a show that includes stories and conversations about their touring and time performing and befriending some of the blues legends of the south.
March 4 will feature a workshop and concert with American roots musician, Riley Baugus. Baugus grew up in North Carolina and started playing fiddle and banjo in the old-time traditions of Surry County as a young boy. Baugus was a professional musician by the time he was a teenager, performing throughout the country and internationally. Some of his bands have included The Farmer’s Daughters, Konnarock Critters, The Red Hots, Backstep, the Dirk Powell Band, and Polecat Creek. Baugus performs and records with Tim O’Brien, Robert Plant, Alison Krauss, Willie Nelson, and Martha Scanlan. Baugus is a sought-after performer, teacher,
and recording artist. This will be his first performance in Boone in several years.
The concert series will finish on May 19, with a taping for Paul Brown’s Across the Blue Ridge radio program. The popular WFDD show features traditional old-time, bluegrass, and American roots music, as host Brown introduces audiences to musicians, venues, and
musical traditions of the Blue Ridge. This special performance will feature a host of local and regional musicians. The concert will be recorded, edited, and featured as an episode of the radio program. Brown is a former NPR journalist, who also happens to be a prize-winning banjo picker, fiddle player, singer, and storyteller. The show currently broadcasts from more than half-a-dozen stations, including airing on WFDD Saturday nights at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday evenings at 6:00 p.m.