Sundays in July: Songcatchers Music Series
Sundays in July, 2013
4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
The Cradle of Forestry in America will hold its annual Songcatchers Music Series each Sunday at 4 p.m. afternoon in July. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the concert series that honors traditional mountain music and the talented performers who preserve it, share it and make it their own.
Inspired by the book, Songcatcher in the Southern Mountains by Dorothy Scarborough and fueled by the 2000 film Songcatcher, the Cradle launched the series in 2003 with local professional musicians who were in the film. This year the Songcatchers Music Series became an official part of the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area’s Music Trail. The Morrow Insurance Agency, Inc. is sponsoring the series this year.
Concerts take place in the Cradle’s covered outdoor amphitheater and move indoors if the weather is stormy. The stage show begins with warm-up music at 4 p.m. The main performers play from about 4:35 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Members of OTTO WOOD (Old Time Transylvania Organization without Official Designation) play informally by the Cradle’s Moon Tree at 3 p.m. before the concert.
2013 Songcatchers Details
July 7: Chicken Train
Chicken Train, comprised of traditional music veterans John Engle, John Herrmann and Meredith McIntosh, presents traditional mountain tunes and songs on fiddle, banjo, guitar and bass. The band combines two streams of old time music.
One stream is the style of legendary fiddler Tommy Jarrell (1901-1985). John Engle has been studying the fiddling of Tommy Jarrell and other North Carolina fiddlers for the past ten years or so with incredible diligence. He has transcribed Jarrell’s entire repertoire, including the bowing nuances. John is always refining his listening and playing.
The other main tributary is John Herrmann’s interest in African-American folk songs that pre-date, or fall outside, the strict blues form. There was a time when music passed back and forth freely between black and white rural communities. John’s interest is in songs from the black tradition that work well in the southern mountain style.
July 14: Hilary Dirlam and Rhonda Gouge
Rhonda Gouge and Hilary Dirlam both bring a lifetime of musical experience to their musical partnership. Their performances convey their enjoyment of playing and singing together. Expect to hear old-time and bluegrass tunes, western swing, favorite standards, and Carter Family songs.
Rhonda lives and works in Mitchell County, where she has roots going back many generations. She is related to NC Heritage Award Winner, Oscar “Red” Wilson who passed on a lot of his traditional music to her during her youth. In addition to teaching as many as 60 students a week in her music studio in Ledger, Rhonda has taught traditional music at Mars Hill College and Appalachian State. She has performed at numerous regional festivals. Rhonda sings beautifully and is a virtuoso on guitar, mandolin and banjo.
Since moving to North Carolina in 1980, Hilary Dirlam has performed and recorded with a number of regional traditional groups including the Freeman Family Band and NC Heritage award winning groups Luke Smathers Band and the Carroll Best Band. She taught for several years at Brevard’s favorite music store, Celestial Mountain Music. She and the store’s owner, Mary Gordon, have entertained many as the Antique Road Show, and also have co-written lesson books with accompanying CD’s for those who want to learn to play old time fiddle tunes. Hilary plays bass, guitar, and clawhammer banjo, and is known to do a tune or two on the ukelele.
July 21: Laura Boosinger
Laura Boosinger’s concerts focus on interpreting traditional music from the southern mountains. She plays old-time banjo, guitar, dulcimer and finger-style autoharp, and invites audiences to participate in the richness of the region’s musical heritage. A seasoned entertainer, Laura fills the air with her lovely voice, delightful personality, and sense of humor. Her performances have included the Tennessee Homecoming at the Museum of Appalachia, Merlefest, and the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. She garnered the title of “Most Outstanding Performer” at the oldest continuing traditional music festival in the country, Asheville’s Mountain Dance and Folk Festival. She is also Executive Director of the Madison County Arts Council and has been involved in the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area’s Blue Ridge Music Trail project. Visit www.lauraboosinger.com for more information.
July 28: Cary Fridley and the Stewart Brothers- traditional ballads and fiddle tunes.
Trevor and Travis Stewart, from Haywood Co., NC, grew up playing old time music. Their superb banjo and fiddle playing complement Cary’s strong ballad singing. Together, their knowledge, experience and expression of traditional music are sure to inspire.
The Stuart Brothers and Cary Fridley are part of the next generation of traditional mountain musicians, dedicated to honoring the old tunes and songs of the Southern Appalachian Mountains. The Stuart Brothers are world renown for their masterful performances of Appalachian fiddle and banjo duets, and Cary for her high lonesome powerful singing and guitar work with the traditional old-time band The Freight Hoppers. Their performance together is a combination of Appalachian fiddle tunes, Baptist spirituals, banjo tunes, square dance hoedowns, traditional ballads, Carter Family songs, and tunes from the Western North Carolina Mountains.
Concert-goers are welcome to arrive early and enjoy indoor and outdoor exhibits, two interpretive trails, the Giving Tree gift shop, and food from Hob Nob at the Cradle of Forestry. The site, including the amphitheater, is wheelchair accessible and will be open until 6 p.m. on Songcatchers Sundays.
Admission for all shows is $6.00 for ages 16 and older; $3.00 for youth 15 and under and America the Beautiful and Golden Age pass holders. The Cradle of Forestry is located on Hwy. 276 in the Pisgah National Forest, six miles north of Looking Glass Falls and four miles south of the Blue Ridge Parkway. For more information call 828-877-3130.