Americana and roots music is perhaps best heard unplugged, away from the bright lights and big stages, and where the performers stories and songs are close enough to be felt and heard. The Jones House’s Mazie Jones House Gallery provides such a space, as the Town of Boone continues the indoor house-concert series this fall with another half-dozen performances by banjo players, fiddlers, bluesmen, song writers, and string bands.
Announcing the 2016 Fall Indoor Concerts at the Jones House, the Town’s Cultural Resources Department kicks off the series on September 20 with a performance by clawhammer banjo player and historian, Bob Carlin.
“Carlin has been one of my favorite banjo players and most important influences on my own attempts at the five-string,” says concerts organizer, Mark Freed. “His playing in John Hartford’s string band is largely what first drew me in to old-time fiddle tunes.”
Carlin played banjo with Hartford for many years, including during the recording and touring for the blockbuster Hollywood film, Oh Brother! Where Art Thou? Carlin is one of the foremost performers of the clawhammer style, with many instructional books and decades of teaching under his belt. He has also written several historical books on the banjo, including his newest,Banjo: An Illustrated History.
“My shows have elements of banjo history,” Carlin says, “And I will bring several period replica instruments to show and demonstrate.”
The series continues on October 4 with a performance by dynamic duo, Richie and Rosie. Richie Stearns is a legendary banjo player and singer, and has led band including The Horse Flies and Donna the Buffalo, and he tours with Natalie Merchant. Rosie Newton is a talented fiddler and singer who tours with The Duhks, Lousiana legend Preston Frank, Red Dog Run, the Evil City Stringband, Home Remedy, and occasionally The Pearly Snaps.
“Richie Stearns and Rosie Newton are both players that sound firmly rooted in tradition, but innovative and fresh all at the same time,” Freed says. “They are creating some really exciting sounds on fiddle and banjo, and it will be great to have them in Boone, where fiddle and banjo players abound.”
Blues afficionado and master guitar and ukulele player, Lightnin’ Wells, comes to the Jones House on October 21. Wells breathes new life into the vintage tunes of the 1920s and depression-era America, playing guitar and ukulele in dynamic styles he developed in more than 30 years of performing. Raised in eastern NC, Wells combines his experience, knowledge, and well-honed performance skills, establishing himself at the forefront of the traditional blues revival. His musical style is personal and energetic, yet remains true to the original roots music.
Joe K. Walsh returns to the Jones House on October 28 to continue the series. Walsh was last in Boone with Mr. Sun, his quartet with fiddler Darol Anger. This time he returns with a different, but equally talented and dynamic, quartet including guitarist Courtney Hartman (from Della Mae), fiddler John Mailander (of Molly Tuttle Band and Tony Trischka Band), and bass player Brittany Karlson (from The Goodbye Girls).
“Joe was the first student to be admitted to the Berklee College of Music in Boston with mandolin as his primary instrument,” Freed notes. “He now teaches there, where he performs and works with musicians on the cutting edges of many styles.”
The concerts return to old-timey styles with the Sunny Mountain Serenaders on November 13. Featuring three of the most accomplished, steeped-in-the-tradition old-time musicians you’ll find anywhere, the Sunny Mountain Serenaders includes fiddler Mark Campbell, banjo and harmonica player, Mac Traynham, and “the guy who literally wrote the book on old-time backup guitar,” John Schwab. The trio will perform a repertoire of fiddle tunes and old-time songs from the Americana repertoire.
The fall series wraps up on December 9 with Asheville-based song writer, Chuck Brodsky. Brodsky is a storyteller, songwriter, troubadour, and a modern day bard. With only his acoustic guitar and his voice, he’ll draw you in with genuine, down-to-earth warmth and his quirky, finely crafted songs – including a host of baseball-themed songs – 20 of which are enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s sound recording library.
“It is hard not to become a fan of this guy when you start listening to his songs and live performances,” Freed says. “He is just a really nice guy with a clever mind and some really, really great songs.”
The concerts all begin at 7:30 p.m. with the doors opening at 7:00 p.m. Concerts take place in the Mazie Jones Gallery in the Jones House, and there is a limit of 40 seats for each performance. Advanced reservations are highly encouraged, as several shows are expected to sell out in advance. Seats are $20 per person and include an opportunity to meet the artists.
Many of the artists will also be giving workshops or master classes, typically on the afternoon of the concert. Concert attendees are permitted to participate in workshops and master classes at no charge. Those not attending the concert, or those wanting more information, may contact Mark Freed regarding workshops and master classes.
For more information about the series, including reservations and a complete schedule, please visit www.joneshouse.org or contact the Town of Boone’s Cultural Resources Department at 828.268.6280.
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