Concerts at The ArtsCenter in Carrboro, NC


Image

My commitment to the community is to restore The ArtsCenter (300-G East Main St; Carrboro, NC 27510) to a position of primacy among folk and roots presenters between Alexandria, VA and Decatur, GA. Although we present concerts in the 355 seat Earl & Rhoda Wynn Theater and 106 seat West End Theater mostly Thursday through Sunday evenings, we sometimes present on any night and host jam sessions and song circles on Monday evenings. We share the use of these facilities with ArtsCenter Stage, the ArtSchool, more than a dozen resident theatre, comedy, improv, film, and dance companies, ArtsCamp, Youth Arts Blocks, and rentals ranging from Cat’s Cradle concerts to community square dances to bat and bar mitzvahs. For that reason, The ArtsCenter presents an average of 60 concerts for adults per year. Visit our website to learn about shows and concerts for children and families.

I have three decades experience in folk and bluegrass music and the support of outstanding concerts at The ArtsCenter sponsors including Chapel Hill Restaurant Group, Giorgios Hospitality Group, Atma Hotel Group (including the new Hampton next door), Furniture Lab, Brooks Pierce, and the North Carolina Arts Council.Image

Most of all we need your support as a donor, business sponsor, or ArtsCenter Friend, and as a ticket buyer. All these can be accomplished by visiting artscenterlive.org or calling 919-929-2787.

The ArtsCenter currently has this remarkable lineup of concerts scheduled

Monday, October 21, 2013 Ralph Stanley & The Clinch Mountain Boys
Wednesday, October 30, 2013 disappear fear (SONiA)
Saturday, November 09, 2013 Sam Bush
Friday, November 08, 2013 Quiet American with Adam Hurt & Beth Hartness
Friday, November 15, 2013 The Honeycutters
Sunday, November 17, 2013 Charlie King & Karen Brandow
Wednesday, November 20, 2013 Jake Shimabukuro
Thursday, November 21, 2013 Kirk Ridge, Lizzy Ross, Rebecca Newton, Jack Herrick, Joe Newberry, Nancy Middleton
Saturday, November 23, 2013 John Gorka
Friday, December 06, 2013 Dar Williams
Wednesday, December 18, 2013 FiddleX Holiday Concert
Friday, January 03, 2014 Robin & Linda Williams
Tuesday, January 07, 2014 Genticorum
Friday, January 10, 2014 Nu Blu
Saturday, January 11, 2014 Hot Club of Cowtown
Sunday, January 12, 2014 Dana & Susan Robinson
Thursday, January 16, 2014 Sparky & Rhonda Rucker
Friday, January 17, 2014 Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen
Saturday, January 18, 2014 GangstaGrass
Thursday, January 23, 2014 Cahallen Morrison & Eli West w/Bevel Summers
Saturday, February 01, 2014 Grace Pettis
Saturday, February 08, 2014 Joe Pug
Sunday, February 09, 2014 David Jacobs-Strain
Friday, February 21, 2014 Ennis
Saturday, February 22, 2014 Lucy Kaplansky
Tuesday, February 25, 2014 Clive Carroll
Sunday, March 09, 2014 Guy Davis
Wednesday, March 12, 2014 Rory Block
Thursday, March 13, 2014 Paul McKenna Band
Wednesday, March 19, 2014 Pete & Maura Kennedy
Friday, March 21, 2014 Missy Raines & the New Hip
Saturday, March 22, 2014 John McCutcheon
Thursday, March 27, 2014 Archie Fischer & Garnet Rogers
Friday, March 28, 2014 Scott Ainslie
Saturday, March 29, 2014 Foghorn String Band w/Piney Woods Boys
Friday, April 04, 2014 Sultans of String
Thursday, April 10, 2014 Drew Nelson
Friday, April 11, 2014 Seldom Scene
Sunday, April 13, 2014 Brother Sun
Wednesday, April 16, 2014 Paddy Kennan
Thursday, May 01, 2014 Cathie Ryan
Friday, May 02, 2014 April Verch
Friday, May 09, 2014 Rolling Roots Review
Sunday, May 11, 2014 Tret Fure
Sunday, June 08, 2014 Jeanette & Johnnie Williams with Louisa Branscomb
Saturday, June 28, 2014 Songs from the Circle 3
Thursday, July 31, 2014 Local songwriters featuring Katherine Whalen
Friday, September 05, 2014 Jonathan Edwards
Friday, September 12, 2014 Steve Forbert
Thursday, September 18, 2014 Sarah McQuaid
Saturday, November 15, 2014 Tom Paxton

Folk Alliance 2012 Review


Folk Alliance 2012

By Art Menius for artmenius.com 2/28/2012

Last week brought another Folk Alliance International Conference, the last of a six year cycle in Memphis, Tennessee. Next year brings Toronto, then five years in Kansas City, Missouri starting in 2014. I started attending with the formation conference produced by Clark and Elaine Weissman in 1989. This year’s vintage proved one of the best of the 24 so far. See “History of Folk Alliance Conferences” at the end of this article.

I’ll feature the best new music I gleaned from FAI 2012 on “From the Roots” on WMMT-FM 88.7, Whitesburg, KY this Saturday from 11 AM until 2 PM Eastern. Streams live at wmmtfm.org and on various phone/tablet radio apps. My radio blog lives here.

Adventures in Obligations & Awards

I arrived Tuesday night for the start of many hours of FAI Board meetings that stretched through 4 PM PM on Thursday. Working together, we sorted through some serious matters involving this upcoming transition and the birth in 2014 of an exciting winter music camp. Board work continued on Friday with a celebratory meeting with the FAI Regional leaders marking the consummation of a long awaited formal relationship with the international organization. We enjoyed a delightful reception and conversation on Friday with some potential members of the soon to be formed Advisory Council of Folk Alliance. I was reelected to another year on Ex Comm as Secretary as were incumbents Renee Bodie, President, Michelle Conceison, Veep, and Donald Davidoff, Treas. Chris Frayer joined the Ex Comm team as at large. The board welcomed one new member, Joan Kornblith of Voice of America, and thanked Mike Gormley, Linda Fahey, and Ralph Sutton for their years of service.

FAI directors and regional leaders 2012

Wednesday evening brought the Elaine Weissman Lifetime Achievement Awards. Scott Alarick again produced fantastic and informative videos for each recipient. As LAA chair, I had the honor of accepting for Harry Belafonte as Living Performer. Most of the LAA videos can be found on here. Pam Michael, current Executive Director, accepted for the Highlander Center. Robert Johnson’s grandsons were there to accept the Legacy LAA and rendered a spirited, electric performance of “Sweet Home Chicago.”

Robert Johnson's grandson singing at LAA

An entertaining interruption of board work, following the least controversial Annual General Membership meeting in history, was the key note interview of Bob Lefsetz by board member Wendy Waldman.

Who is Bob Lefsetz?

When one says and writes as much as Bob Lefsetz, especially statements outrageous enough to entertain, the quality remains variable. One can read this article about him from the current Wired Magazine. That said, Lefsetz connects with spot on accuracy some of the time, and always provides something to talk about. Highlights from his keynote Interview included:

“You have to be good enough that agents and labels come to you.”

“Mumford & son broke; the folk ghetto no longer exists.”

“I want to go to Youtube and see you play live.”

“Twitter is information, not self-promotion. Let your personality come out.”

“If you’re in this business for the money, quit.”

Lefsetz raved about Memphis and the Folk Alliance. You can start reading with this one.

Music, Lots of Music

And, of course, we had showcases upon showcases, a Coney Island stretching from the most traditional to the most self-involved singer-songwriter and pretty much everything in between. They ranged from bands together for months to one-time hit makers like Jonathan Edwards and Dale Watson. The big buzz acts included Elizabeth Laprelle, a young traditional ballad singer, the gospel Sojourners, the retro-hipster Milk Carton Boys, and the Dunwells, who are live from Leeds and bring to mind Mumford & Son. Lefsetz loved the Dunwells, read this.

Jon Newlin & Elizabeth Laprelle

 Elizabeth Laprelle proved an astonishing southwest Virgina young traditional singer. At a tender age she has mastered the acclaimed Madison County, NC ballad style (think “Songcatcher” and the soundtrack for “Cold Mountain”) and become a commanding string band lead vocalist. She is the niece of veteran singer and fiddler Jon Newlin, the husband of the outstanding singer/banjo player Amy Davis and member of such groups as the Hushpuppies and the Maudlin Brothers. Jon now anchors Elizabeth’s band The Fruit Dodgers. LaPrelle is blessed with a timeless voice that projects authenticity. She possesses a magic gift that earned her this year’s Mike Seeger scholarship to Folk Alliance. Her latest album, Bird’s Advice, features Jon and Amy, Jim Lloyd, and her mom. Elizabeth Laprelle is real. ‘Nuff said.

L-R Old Man Luedecke, Matt the Electrician, Kaia Kater

Thursday night I saw the Ola Belle Reed of the 21st century. She is an 18 year old from Winnipeg named Kaia Kater (Hurst) who has been playing banjo for just 5 years and knows every inch of that long neck. Mitch Podolak was her first teacher. She sings the old songs and composes fascinating new tunes describing her sound as “alternative/crunk/folk.” Find her now, including a Phillip Glass cover, at http://www.myspace.com/kaiakaterhurst Banjo playing Canadian singer-songwriter Old Man Lubecke and Austin’s idiosyncratic rising star Matt the Electrician were also terrific on the same set.

The Dust Busters

From Laprelle’s Friday night showcase in one of the trad showcases run by Andy Cohen into the wee hours, meandering led me to a hot set by Brooklyn’s Dustbusters. They gave me an advance on their May CD with John Cohen from the New Lost City Ramblers on Smithsonian-Folkways. These three are clearly eaten up with hard core old-time scouring the old recordings for stuff to fit their high energy, pure trad string band on meth style. The Dustbusters performed at the Country Music Hall of Fame on the way home and opened for Steve Earle and Alison Moorer in early February.

Malcomb Holcombe

Perhaps because of the compressed showcase timeframe, my favorite male singer-songwriter Malcomb Holcombe gave the most focused and effective performance I have ever seen by him in is official showcase on second floor Friday night. FAI president Renee Bodie said he was just as powerful in her room 90 minutes later. I met Malcomb at jam sessions in Asheville in the early 1980s when he was a wild young man with amazing songs. Now, he is a wild acting middle aged married songwriter of extraordinary depth and masterfully economical writing. Seeing Malcomb in these small spaces took me back three decades as did the way Holcombe retains the facial and body contortions that add another layer of expression to his poetry and guitar playing. The St. Louis Room was SRO. It’s reaffirming to see this artist finally getting his due since a glowing profile in the Wall Street Journal. I also enjoyed catching parts of excellent performances by a bunch of other old friends including Kickin’ Grass, Joel Rafael (who presented a big Woody Guthrie tribute show Thursday evening), and Scott Ainslie.

Joel Rafael

Scott Ainslie with diddley bo

Wednesday night I ran into old-time and bluegrass veteran Paul Kovac, one of two people I know from Chardon, Ohio, which would be ripped into the headlines on Monday. Jim Blum from Folk Alley had just given him a CD of one of the two shows he played as one of Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys in 1981. Boy = Girl, Paul’s current effort, is a fun duo with upright bassist Jen Maurer, who also plays in the zydeco-jam band fusion group Mo’ Mojo. They sing romantic duets resembling country and pop styles of a half-century ago, accompanying themselves on banjo and bass. Somehow it ends up sounding more contemporary than atavistic, perhaps because the songs are original.

Atomic Duo

Austin’s Atomic Duo somehow noticed that the 1930s were the highwater marks for both brother duet music and socialism in the USA. So they put the two together. I discovered later than they face paced and hilarious showcase was webcast. “Another Key in the Key Chain” is a brilliant example of masking contemporary commentary with the trappings of the past. Who said we learned nothing from watching “M.A.S.H?” The Atomic Duo offers a compelling reinvention of American folk song.

From the same town, musical time period, and appearing next in the same room were three women who call themselves The Carper Family. Anyone who likes Hot Club of Cowtown will immediately engage with the small ensemble western swing and cowboy sound of the Carper Family. Bass player Melissa Carper has a penned a collection of strong original songs that work perfectly in their take on the retro-hip wave, including “Who R U Texting 2Nite?,” which appears on their Back When CD that features Cindy Cashdollar.

Folk Alliance at Occupy Memphis

On a sunny Saturday afternoon, Andy Cohen led a bunch of volunteer musicians two blocks down Main Street to give a public concert in solidarity with Occupy Memphis. The Memphis Mayor’s office helped make it happen.

Workshops and Panels

Board service means that our directors miss all too much of the workshop and panel sessions.

Hazel Dickens Remembered

The session on Hazel Dickens seemed all too short. John Lilly had prepared a nice powerpoint of photos and an informative brochure. Mix of singing and stories from John Lilly, Tracy Schwarz, Ginny Hawker, Bill & Louise Kirchen, and Ken Irwin. The stories covered various aspects of her personality, songwriting, music, wisdom, and the ways she touched our lives. A completed but unreleased album should appear in a few months. Ken has not yet begun going through her many cassettes for what might be hidden there. Bill Kirchen said he regretted that they did not record the honky-tonk album they had discussed. Bill and Louise took Hazel to a John Lilly concerts just days before she passed. They sang all the way back to her apartment. One tale reminded me of how Hazel would always inspect my wife Becky Johnson before the IBMA Awards shows. You can watch the 2002 LAA video for Hazel Dickens here. My obit for the FAI newsletter lives here.

Saturday morning also offered an exemplary conversation about festivals that benefited from the diversity Louis Meyers structured into the panelists. The previous day I made my debut as a Maryland resident in attending the NERFA session rather than my previous home in SERFA.

We had a wonderful conversation that could have gone on forever in the session Pam McMichael and I hosted about the Highlander Center. Wanda Fisher from WAMC radio offered a first person account of frequenting there as a UT student to the consternation of her dorm mother, while Dave Marsh of SiriusXM and Bau Graves from the Old-Town School of Folk Music offered challenging perspectives.

The 2012 FAI Conference provided a blissful last time around in Memphis, arguably the best of our six efforts on the bluffs above the Mississippi. Well see you in Toronto next year and hence in Kansas City.

Jeron Big Boy Paxton fiddling with Dust Busters

History of Folk Alliance Conferences

7 Produced by Louis Jay Meyers, so far

2007 – 2012 – Memphis, TN

2006 – Austin, TX

9 Produced by Phyllis Barney

2005 –  Montreal, PQ

2004 – San Diego, CA

2003 –  Nashville, TN

2002 –  Jacksonville, FL

2001 –  Vancouver, BC

2000 –   Cleveland, OH

1999 –   Albuquerque, NM

1998 – Memphis, TN

1997 –  Toronto, ON

6 Produced by Art Menius & local committees

1996 – Washington, DC

1995 –  Portland, OR

1994 –  Boston, MA

1993 –  Tucson, AZ

1992 – Calgary, AB

1991 –  Chicago, IL

Produced by Philadelphia Folk Song Society & FA Steering Committee

1990 –  Philadelphia, PA

Produced by Clark & Elaine Weissman

1989 –  Malibu, CA

-30-

From the Roots Radio for January 7


I just finished recording three hours of roots music radio for “From the Roots” to air, Saturday, January 7, 2012, on WMMT-FM 88.7, real people’s radio from the Appalshop (91 Madison Ave; Whitesburg, KY 41858. It streams online live at www.wmmtfm.org  as well as on InTune Radio and Public Radio phone apps. I host “From the Roots” – remotely – on the first Saturday of each month as the Lazy Farm Boy from 11 AM until 2 PM eastern. I maintain a playlist blog for the show at lazyfarmboy.blogspot.com. Look for the playlist there on Saturday.

This week’s show is a 2011 retrospective, remembering those lost in roots music during 2011 such as Hazel Dickens, Wade Mainer, and Paul David Smith, and highlighting some of my favorite 2011 releases and reissues.