Jan. 13, 2015. Take a couple of legendary North Carolina guitar and banjo players, sandwich some of the finest old-time and bluegrass fiddlers, and you get a sneak peak at the upcoming 2015 Winter/Spring Indoor House Concert Series presented by the Town of Boone’s Cultural Resources Department.
The concerts take place in the Mazie Jones Gallery of the Jones House, the larger downstairs gallery, which seats only 40 people for an intimate concert environment.
“The musicians play and sing acoustically and unamplified,” said concert organizer and Cultural Resources Coordinator Mark Freed.
“It is a great chance to hear some top notch performers off the big stage and directly out of their instruments and vocal cords. You can practically sit knee to knee with the artists.”
The indoor concert series began in fall 2013, and the upcoming series will be the fourth installation of the program.
“It has been a successful year so far, and I think the upcoming series is the strongest yet.”
Kicking off the 2015 Winter/Spring Series is the founder of the North Carolina Thumbpickers, Clay Lunsford, descendant of the farmed North Carolina legend, Bascom Lamar Lunsford. For more than 50 years, Clay Lunsford has played fingerstyle guitar in the style of Chet Atkins and Merle Travis. He will be joined by a familiar Boone face, Matthew Weaver, a talented multi-instrumentalist, who has been touring with Lunsford for more than a year. Clay Lunsford and Matthew Weaver will perform at the Jones House on Monday, February 16.
Asheville-based fiddler, Rayna Gellert, will continue the series on Saturday, February 28, with an afternoon old-time fiddle workshop at 3:30 p.m., followed by the evening concert at 7:30 p.m. Gellert has toured the country and globe with Uncle Earl, and as a solo musician, and she has recorded with a host of musicians from Loudon Wainwright III to John Paul Jones. She will be joined by country and roots music multi-instrumentalist, Jeff Keith.
Fiddling virtuoso, Casey Driessen, who has spent his career pushing boundaries of the instrument, will follow with a performance on Saturday, March 14, played solo and acoustic. Separate from his vast and diverse work as a sideman and session musician, Driessen has been touring for the past couple years with nothing but his fiddle and a peddle board with effects and looping capabilities. In his process, Driessen continues to explore the possibilities of fiddle accompaniment. He will leave the pedal behind for his Jones House performance.
April 1 will also feature some outstanding fiddlers, including Fiddlers Grove fiddling champions, Cecil Gurganus and Meade Richter, and Clifftop fiddling champion, Emily Schaad. Gurganus has lived in the Boone area since the 1970s and has become a staple in the old-time and traditional music communities, locally and regionally. Richter grew up in Boone and is currently finishing up a degree in Bluegrass Performance from Eastern Tennessee State University. Schaad did a master’s degree in Appalachian Studies in Boone and is currently finishing a doctoral program in music education, while she continues to record and perform traditional music on fiddle. The three will offer afternoon workshops and an evening concert.
The series will conclude with NPR retiree, and old-time music champion, Paul Brown, along with his wife, Terri McMurray, two fantastic multi-instrumentalists and singers. Brown worked for years in North Carolina public radio, often showcasing stories on traditional music of Surry County and other areas of the state. He continued this practice at National Public Radio, in addition to delivering the hourly news. Brown is an excellent banjo, guitar, and fiddle player, in addition to being a great storyteller of the musicians, tunes, and traditions of the Blue Ridge Mountains. He and McMurray will share an afternoon workshop at 3:30 p.m., followed by an evening concert.
All concerts begin at 7:30 p.m., with doors opening at 7:00 p.m. Seats are $20 each and advanced reservation is highly recommended, as the concerts tend to sell out before the doors open.
For more information, including reservations, please contact staff at the Jones House or visit online at www.joneshouse.org or 828.268.6280