Oct. 5, 2012. Locals and leaf-lookers alike will frustratingly scan the stage for phantom horns when veteran troubadour Lawrence “Lipbone” Redding treats them to a mix of brash humor, soulful singing, inventive guitar playing and astonishingly realistic “lip-tromboning” during a free performance at Canyons on Friday, Oct. 12.
A Carolina native, Redding made a leap of faith in 1998 when he moved to Manhattan. An already accomplished performance artist and aspiring songwriter, he honed his craft in the late-night cathedrals and underground labyrinth of the New York City Transit system. The subway was also where he earned his namesake and developed his “Lipbone” technique, creating a trombone-like sound without using a musical instrument. It became a calling card, and a talent that has evolved into much more than a novelty or a gimmick. It’s an added dynamic that heightens the music of his live performances.
In 2001, Redding began an epic adventure that is still unfolding. Travelling to South America, he witnessed the power of music opening the hearts and homes of strangers. He was struck with a revelation that music was the key to spirituality and community.
Upon his return to the states, Lipbone loaded up his little camper truck, “The Beautiful Flying Machine,” and made his way from town to town via the highways and byways of America. Sleeping by rivers and in forests, playing music in small venues, campuses and communities, he remained diligent in his dream of a sustainable life comprised of music, travel and creativity.
In 2003, his travels led him to San Francisco, where he performed for early morning yoga classes and in the clubs at night, quickly earning a reputation as a versatile artist with a positive message. It was in San Francisco that he was introduced to the music of India and South Asia. That same year he followed the Ganges in India into the Himalayas. There he remained for a year, living in ashrams, and playing music with local masters.
Lipbone returned to NYC in 2005 playing 6 nights a week. He had left the underground behind and put his effort into regular shows at established venues. He formed the Lipbone Orchestra and composed music for world famous choreographer Bill T. Jones. The show, featuring Lipbone’s unique vocal talents, toured to France, Spain and Italy. He and his fellow artists’ efforts received a 2007 Obie Award for best collaboration and Toronto’s Dora Mavis Moorer Award for best production.
Since he first began in the subway, Lipbone has released 8 albums and many live recordings selling thousands worldwide and with his blessing, pirated by many more. He has collaborated with artists, musicians, theater & dance troupes, and toured widely, performing over 200 shows a year.
Canyons is located in Blowing Rock on NC-321 South. Lipbone’s October 12 show begins at 9:00 p.m. and is free to the public, but early arrivals are suggested to ensure a seat and a sunset view of the peak of fall colors across the gorge.