April Verch and Joe Newberry will be featured in a special Joe Shannon’s Mountain Home Music concert, “Traditional Music – From Canada to the Ozarks” on Saturday, July 29th at the Blowing Rock School Auditorium. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m., with doors opening at 7 p.m.
JSMHM director, Rodney Sutton spoke about this pairing of two proponents of traditional music from such diverse backgrounds. “Joe and April, who are no strangers to JSMHM, have been performing as a duet for the past year on a number of special shows. We are excited to present them in the intimate setting of the Blowing Rock School Auditorium where they can showcase how their musical styles of traditional roots music blends together and also where April’s Ottawa Valley Canadian step dancing can be featured”, said Sutton.
Newberry is a Missouri native and North Carolina transplant who has played music most of his life, picking up guitar and banjo as a teenager, then learning fiddle tunes from great Missouri fiddlers. A frequent guest on Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion”,
he performs in a duo with Mike Compton, and also performs with guitarist Jon Shain. Another special side project pairs him with old-time music legends Bill Hicks, Mike Craver, and Jim Watson of the Red Clay Ramblers. He was recently a featured singer on the Transatlantic Sessions tour of the United Kingdom. A noted teacher of traditional music and song, Newberry has taught at numerous camps and festivals around the world. He won the songwriting award for Gospel Recorded Performance at the 2012 IBMA Awards for his song “Singing As We Rise”, and was co-writer, with Eric Gibson, of the 2013 IBMA Song of the Year for “They Called It Music”.
Verch grew up surrounded by traditional Canadian roots music, listening to her Dad’s country band play for dances in the Ottawa Valley. She started step dancing at age three and fiddling at age six and decided early on that she wanted to be a professional musician. She took that leap, and has been quietly leaping into new, nuanced places for more than two decades – moving from exuberant stepdancer to fiddle wunderkind and silver-voiced singer. Verch keeps the community-fired celebratory side of her music at the forefront, honing a keen awareness of how to engage contemporary listeners. With countless awards, ten albums and sixteen years of touring under her belt with “The April Verch Band”, she has moved from upstart prodigy to mature and reflective songwriter, interpreter, and storyteller. She has performed around the world, including festival, and performing arts center appearances from her native Canada, to the USA, China, Australia, United Kingdom, Belgium, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Germany, Austria, France, Czech Republic and the United Arab Emirates. Passionate about giving back, she makes master classes, workshops and camps a regular part of her touring activity. Verch was one of 6 fiddlers who represented the Canadian fiddle tradition to the world at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, as part of a segment called “Fiddle Nation”.
Both Newberry and Verch have become masters of their traditions and tour internationally with their respective bands and projects. For these veteran performers who come from distinct traditions and parts of the world, their collaboration is fueled by their kindred passion for bringing people together to celebrate traditional music. Blues and ballads stem into Canadian and Ozark regional styles and originals. Their voices blend in harmony and their tasteful instrumentals prove that these masters have nothing left to prove – and then their feet kick up the dust in perfect rhythm…and together, they make you remember why this music existed in the first place.
The Blowing Rock School Auditorium is located at 130 Sunset Drive, Blowing Rock.
This concert is supported by the following private sponsors: Lynn Hubbard; Ada and Lonnie Webster; Mike and Melanie McKee; Dr. E. Frank and Tara Hancock; and Virginia VanStory. Business Sponsors include; Stick Boy Bread Company, Mast General Store, Mountain Times Publishing, and the High Country Press. Additional support is provided by; The Watauga Arts Council, The NC Arts Council, and Boone TDA. 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).
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 in limited numbers 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/