Fall Folk Preview 1998

Fall Folk Fashion Preview Fall 1998

DUE August 24, 1998

By Art Menius

Tired of blue suede shoes, white disco suits, or the tight jeans and boots of country line dancing? Do you find it difficult anymore to get it up to go to a concert or even just to muster the energy to look through the miles of CD aisles at the Megalomart? A complete music makeover is the only sure cure when the fizz has departed your music life. The route to renewal is real people making real music – folk music. If you think folk music is just white guys with guitars you’re totally out of style for the end of the 20th century. Sure, the folk scene includes plenty of singer-songwriters of both genders, but it also includes a wealth of musics from North America and around the globe.

The Triangle this fall provides a wonderful place to sample the wealth of the folk community. Start with a feast for feet and mind at the North Carolina Museum of Art (515-1100) on September 11, Cold Mountain Old Time Music Gathering featuring Charles Frazier, author of Cold Mountain. Old-time string band music is the dance sound of the southeast, a music with roots in the 19th century and hit records during the 1920s. This event delivers some of the finest players in the field including Paul Brown, Carl Jones, Bruce Greene, Kirk Sutphin, and Ginny Hawker. You’ll be transported to an Appalachian house party just yards away from the Rembrants and Rubens. Jones, also a successful songwriter, and Greene will return to the Art Museum on November 8th for a concert also cosponsored by PineCone.

With that dose of life affirming traditional music in your system, you’ll be primed to absorb some Irish roots to the Art Museum just two days later on September 13. From Belfast, Craob Rua exploded on to the Celtic scene performing the music of Northern Ireland with the intensity of youth and the authority of tradition. PineCone (990-1900) co-sponsors this concert as part of cultural exchange program. Listen carefully and you’ll be struck by how much old-time music owes to Irish.

For a completely different take on old-time music, head out to Pine Hill Farm north of Chapel Hill on September 18 when Topsoil presents James Leva and Carol Elizabeth Jones. What makes them standout – Acoustic Guitar named them one of the Top 30 acts of the “next generation” – is almost entirely original material that sounds as if it were composed 70 years ago. Their sound features gorgeous, soulful singing and superb musicianship. For advance tickets contact 304-2693 or visit http://www.topsoil.net.

Or you can try on the blues with leading female revival artist on September 18. Rory Block pays a return visit to the ArtsCenter (942-2787) in Carrboro. The blues developed in different forms across the South early in this century, contributing to rock, country, and R&B. For some 20 years one of the most compelling performers of traditional country blues, Block puts so much fire power into her music that she seems to be named Best Female Traditional Blues Artist every year. The Triangle Blues Society., which co-sponsors the concert, seeks new members at its Annual Membership Party at Raleigh’s Berkeley Café (821-0777) on September 27.

September 20 brings the chance to experience one of the 1990s most exciting singer-songwriters at the Cat’s Cradle (967-9053) in Carrboro. Fred Eaglesmith writes about hard work and hard living with a hard edge. Eaglesmith presents real life turning surreal. With the release of his US debut, Lipstick, Lies & Gasoline, Americans are discovering a new power at work.

Your makeover continues with Louisiana French music. Balfa Toujours brings the wondrous singing of Christine Balfa, daughter of tradition bearer Dewey Balfa, and the band’s relentless Cajun sound to Durham’s Rhythm Alley (489-8932, www.mindspring.com/~rhythmalley) on September 26 for a Triangle Folk Music Society (968-9600) show. Over the past three years Balfa Toujours has earned recognition as one of America’s strongest, most danceable musical outfits. Despite their youthful enthusiasm, Balfa Toujours remains close to Louisiana French tradition.

A highlight of your renewal comes from hearing the two foremost singers of traditional Scots songs. On September 30th the Triangle Folk Music Society brings Dick Gaughan to Chapel Hill’s Skylight Exchange (933-5550). A powerful singer of Scots ballads, Gaughan’s compositions have been waxed by acts as modern as Billy Bragg and Capercaillie. Check out Gaughan’s delightful web site at http://www.dickalba.demon.co.uk/main.htm. Edinburgh’s Jean Redpath comes to the ArtsCenter in Carrboro on November 20th for a concert cosponsored by Triangle Music International. For four decades she has demonstrated on both sides of the Atlantic that one great singer can combine both scholarly precision and undiluted heart.


Hindustani classical music remains an evolving form as younger artists introduce new instruments into the tradition. The elegant playing of Tarun Bhattacharya has demonstrated the emotive power of santur, a hammered dulcimer-like instrument of Persian origin. Bikram Ghosh on tabla, a set of two small drums, provides the perfect accompaniment. This pair of Saturday morning concerts on October 16 at Carrboro’s ArtsCenter offers the perfect opportunity to introduce the family to one of the richest musical traditions.


“New Ground Revival” brings a presentation of Appalachian gospel music by the Roadside Theatre of Whitesburg, Kentucky to NCSU’s Stewart Theatre on October 24 in a PineCone concert. The play’s 22 songs feature the Mullins Family, who enjoy an 150 year family tradition of sacred singing. Again your ears will appreciate the Celtic and British Isles roots of southern mountain music.

Your personal folk revival would prove incomplete without bluegrass. The Original Music Showcase at Durham’s Carolina Theatre (919-560-3030) hosts a glorious introduction on November 7 with the Jerry Douglas Band featuring the namesake giant of the Dobro guitar, Irish vocalist Maura O’Connell, and bluegrass and Americana star Tim O’Brien. Opening are two pioneers of bluegrass music, Josh Graves, who introduced the Dobro to the genre, and Kenny Baker, long time fiddler for Bill Monroe.



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