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Jones House Summer Concerts Begin Friday in Downtown Boone with MaisCeu, Lazybirds

The summer season will officially begin at the Jones House Cultural and Community Center in downtown Boone on Friday, as the series kicks off with MaisCeu and The Lazybirds, starting at5:00 p.m. from the front porch.

A downtown Boone tradition, the Summer Concerts at the Jones House began more than two decades ago and feature free Friday evening performances from the front porch of the community center each week from June through August.

The Lazybirds
The Lazybirds

MaisCeu features multi-instrumentalist, composer, and singer, Jimmie Griffith, who is well known in the Boone area for his role in the band Banana de Terra, which featured Brazilian fusion music.  MaisCeu is a solo project in which Griffith utilizes looping technology to layer sounds from flute, shaker, percussion, 10-string Viola Caipira, and the guitar.  The name MaisCeu means “more sky” in Portuguese, and it is a wordplay from Griffith’s Brazilian/French middle name, Maciel.  Born and raised in Brazil, Griffith combines influences from his multi-cultural background, creating a fusion of American and Brazilian sounds and styles.

“I have long admired Banana de Terra’s inventive sound, and I am excited to have Jimmie bring his solo project to the porch for his first Jones House performance as MaisCeu,” says concerts organizer, Mark Freed.  “Our audience will really appreciate his deep appreciation and understanding of multi-cultural roots music.”

Annual favorites, The Lazybirds, will follow MaisCeu on the porch, featuring their unique blend of American roots styles, from blues and ragtime to country and soul.  The Lazybirds formed in Boone more than 20 years ago, and the band has been performing and touring locally and regionally ever since.  The band is led by founding members, Jay Brown on vocal, guitar, and harmonica, and James T. Browne on vocals and percussion.  Master violin maker and fiddler, Alfred Michels of Ashe County plays bass and guitar with the Lazybirds.  Local bass player, Mitch Johnston, another founding member, recently decided to take some time away from touring with the band to spend more time with his young family.  Bass player Dpon Rawson has been filling in on bass with the band.

“The Lazybirds are a fixture of the Jones House summer concerts, and they have been an institution of the local and regional live music scene for the past two decades,” Freed says.

The Lazybirds formed in Boone in 1996 when Brown, Browne, and Mitchell got together and discovered their mutual admiration for a variety of American roots music styles.  They have recorded numerous albums of their own and also served as the backing band for a handful of other notable local musicians, including songwriter Matt Rue, singer Kally Price, and old-time guitarist and guru, Brian Yerman.

“They have built quite a catalog of recordings over the years, and they are all fun and quality albums,” Freed says.  “But, my favorite way to hear the Lazybirds is most definitely live and in person,” he adds.

The Summer Concerts at the Jones House are free, and patrons are encouraged to bring their own chair or blanket to sit under the giant maple trees in the front lawn of the community center.  Performances take place rain or shine.  In extreme inclement weather, the concerts are moved inside the Jones House to the Mazie Jones Gallery, which can seat the first 40 patrons on a first-come-first-serve basis.

The 2016 Summer Concerts at the Jones House are produced by The Town of Boone’s Cultural Resources Department and sponsored by the Downtown Boone Development Association, Mast General Store, M-Prints, ECRS, Rosemary Horowitz, Melanie’s Food Fantasy, and Stick Boy Bread Company.  For more information about the series, including a complete schedule of performances, please visit www.joneshouse.org or call 828.268.6280.