Strictly Strings and Strictly Clean & Decent both perform sets from the Jones House porch Friday, continuing the 2017 Summer Concerts at the Jones House series, starting at 5:00 p.m.
Strictly Strings features a talented band of, mostly, up-and-coming young musicians who have all been heavily involved with the Jones House Junior Appalachian Musicians (JAM) program: Anissa and Kathleen Burnett, Caleb Coatney, and Willow Dillon. The band started when long-time program instructor, Cecil Gurganus, led the group of advanced students through several semesters of fiddle tunes. It wasn’t long before the group was being asked to give performances at various events around town. Now, several years later, the students have become instructors, and the band has won numerous blue ribbons from regional fiddlers convention competitions, performed across the stated, and recorded a solid full-length album, which was released late last year.
“The band members all work really hard at what they do,” says concert organizer and Boone JAM director, Mark Freed. “They have logged countless practice hours together, and it really shows in their music.”
The band’s recording, High on a Mountain was recorded in Lenoir by renowned regional multi-instrumentalist sideman and recording engineer, Patrick Crouch. Crouch is also the band leader of Strictly Clean & Decent, which will start the concert on Friday at 5:00 p.m. Strictly Clean and Decent started in Caldwell County in the 1990s, and they have been leading the charge for promoting traditional string band music in the area. Crouch, along with his wife and bandmate, Kay Crouch, and bass player Ron Shuffler, have produced the Caldwell Traditional Musicians Showcase and recording project for more than a decade, documenting and presenting live performances of hundreds of area musicians.
“These guys are champions of the traditional music from the area,” Freed says. “In fact, Patrick was here last week performing with Jack Lawrence, helping keep Doc Watson’s legacy alive and well.”
Shuffler also comes from a legendary bluegrass family. His older brother, George Shuffler, played for many years with the Stanley Brothers and is credited with helping incorporate the use of cross-picking guitar breaks in bluegrass music. There were several musical Shuffler brothers, who all played music and helped fuel the Burke County traditional music scene. David Wiseman, another long-time multi-instrumentalist sideman for bluegrass acts in the region, will be playing with Strictly Clean and Decent on Friday. Wiseman is part of the famous Avery County Wiseman clan that includes Scotty Wiseman, an early Country music star, who was married to Lulu Belle and performed on the National Barn Dance program out of Chicago in the 1930s.
“Both of these bands will bring a lot of great traditional string band music from the region to the stage on Friday, and they both do it with their own unique and innovative twist,” Freed says. “Fans of Americana, old-time and bluegrass music will find it both familiar and refreshing, and those who don’t know as much about these genres are bound to leave as fans.”
The Summer Concerts at the Jones House are free and open to the public. Concerts are held every Friday in June, July, and August, starting at 5:00 p.m., and they are held rain or shine. Patrons are encouraged to bring their own chairs or blankets to enjoy the music from the Jones House lawn. Alcoholic beverages are permitted on the Jones House property, if patrons are of legal age and bring their own beverages. No open containers are allowed beyond the Jones House property. Friendly pets are permitted on leash.
The 2017 Summer Concerts at the Jones House sponsors include the Downtown Boone Development Association, Mast General Store, MPrints, Melanie’s, Stick Boy Bread Co, Rosemary Horowitz, and Burton Moomaw Acupuncture.