Paul Brown and Terri McMurray will perform at the Jones House Saturday, May 2, capping off the community center’s indoor Winter/Spring series.
Brown is a celebrated old-time musician and retired broadcast and online journalist with NPR in Washington and formerly of Mount Airy’s WPAQ. Known for his fiddling and banjo playing, Brown has championed traditional music of the Blue Ridge Mountains throughout his career as a performer, promoter, producer, and journalist. He played for many years with Surry County’s “Round Peak” musicians, such as Benton Flippen and Tommy Jarrell, and he talks a lot about his mentors and the stories behind the tunes and songs he performs.
“Paul Brown is a musician’s musician in the old-time music world,” says concert organizer, Mark Freed. “The people who know and play this music best hold him in high regard, and for good reason.”
Brown started picking banjo on a Sears Silverton when he was 10 years-old, developing his own two- and three-finger styles, along with the down-stroke “clawhammer” style. His interest in old-time banjo inspired him to make frequent trips to visit as many of the older tradition bearers as he could. Brown spent years learning music directly from some of the last fiddle, banjo, and guitar players to emerge before the age of radio and recordings, including Jarrell, Fields Ward, Robert Sykes, Luther Davis, and many other musicians from northwest North Carolina and southwest Virginia.
Brown has recorded with many notable musicians in the old-time and traditional music genres, including Bruce Molsky, Mike Seeger, Tara Nevins, and Benton Flippen. He performs with a variety of different groups and combinations, including the Toast String Stretchers with Frank Bode and Verlin Clifton of Round Peak. He has served as Master of Ceremony for numerous traditional music events, including a recent sold-out tour of regional musicians called Across the Blue Ridge.
Brown will perform with his wife, Terri McMurray, a talented multi-instrumentalist and singer who plays guitar, banjo and ukulele, amongst other instruments.
The concert will take place in the main gallery in the downstairs of the Jones House.
“The Mazie Jones Gallery is a great setting for a concert like this,” Freed says. “There is no need for amplification; it sounds good; and the audience hears the natural and beautiful tones directly from the instruments.”
Seats are $20 per person, which includes light refreshments at the set break, when audience members will have a chance to meet the artists. Doors open at 7 p.m., and the concert will begin at 7:30 p.m.
For reservations and a complete list of the 2015 Winter/Spring series, call 828-268-6280 or visit www.joneshouse.org.
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