Old-time stringband players and fans will be treated to an afternoon of participation and listening when the New Southern Ramblers take over the Jones House Cultural and Community Center for afternoon workshops and a concert.
The New Southern Ramblers are a dynamic old-time Appalachian stringband from the mountains of western North Carolina. Known for playing lively southern dance tunes, singing classic old-time country songs, and demonstrating top-notch flatfoot dancing techniques, the New Southern Ramblers are veteran performers and teachers who have entertained audiences all over the country.
For more than 20 years, the New Southern Ramblers accompanied legendary Tennessee fiddler, Ralph Blizard, at concerts, festivals, and workshops. After Blizard passed away in 2004, the band continued to perform and share the music of Blizard and more. John Herrmann, who played bass when Blizard led the band, has become the primary fiddler of the group. Gordy Hinners and Phil Jamison continued on banjo and guitar, respectively. And, Meredith McIntosh joined the group on bass.
John Herrmann has traveled the world playing and promoting old-time music. In fact, he is known as the “Father of Old Time Music” in Japan, where he has spent extensive time teaching and performing. While he fiddles with the New Southern Ramblers, he is also well-known as an excellent clawhammer banjo player. He has performed and recorded with numerous bands and musicians, including the Henrie Brothers, Critton Hollow String Band, the Wandering Ramblers, the Rockinghams, Rayna Gellert, Ira Bernstein, and many more.
Gordy Hinners plays clawhammer banjo and ukulele with the New Southern Ramblers, and he is also an excellent flatfoot dancer. Hinners was a mainstay of the Green Grass Cloggers for many years, and he has spent a significant amount of time teaching dancing and banjo playing. He has won many awards for his dancing and banjo playing, including blue ribbons for both at the Appalachian State University Fiddlers Convention.
Phil Jamison is also a multi-instrumentalist and top-notch flatfoot dancer and dance caller. In fact, Jamison is known as one of the world’s leading authorities on traditional southern Appalachian solo and group dance forms. He has called and taught dancing all around the country and over seas for more than three decades. Like Hinners, Jamison is a longtime member of the Green Grass Cloggers. He was featured dancing in the film, Songcatcher, for which he also served as Traditional Dance consultant. Jamison teaches at Warren Wilson College, and he is the coordinator of the Old-Time Music and Dance week at the famed Swannanoa Gathering.
Meredith McIntosh is a trained music educator with a deep passion for old-time music. She is known for her rock-solid bass playing, and she is also adept at fiddle, guitar, flute, and piano. She has performed with numerous groups over the years, including The Wildcats, the Heartbeats, Balfa Toujours, and the Forge Mountain Diggers. McIntosh lives in Asheville where she works as a massage therapist, as well as a musician and music teacher.
The New Southern Ramblers made several albums with Blizard, recording for the June Appal and Rounder Records labels. In 2012, the current configuration made another album, titled Old-Time Mountain Music, and they will have copies for sale at the workshops are performance on Sunday.
The New Southern Ramblers will be giving separate and simultaneous workshops for old-time fiddle, banjo, guitar, and bass, starting at 2:00 p.m. in the Jones House. A concert will follow the workshops, starting at 4:00 p.m. The workshops are free, although advanced reservations are requested. Tickets for the afternoon concert are $20 each, and advanced reservations are also recommended – although open seats will be available for purchase at the door on the day of the concert.
The event is being produced by the Town of Boone’s Cultural Resources Department and is sponsored by Black and Global Roots Concerts, The Town of Boone, Appalachian State University, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
The workshops and concert take place in the Jones House in downtown Boone, located at 604 W. King St. The concert space seats are limited to 40 people, so advanced reservation is strongly encouraged. To make a reservation for the concert or workshop, please contact Mark Freed at [email protected] or call 828.268.6280. To find out more information about the Jones House Cultural and Community Center and the indoor concert series at the Jones House, please visit www.joneshouse.org