The North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources and the North Carolina Arts Council have teamed up to present the North Carolina Stage at the Wide Open Bluegrass Festival Friday, Sept. 28 and Saturday, Sept. 29 in downtown Raleigh.
The North Carolina Stage, located on Davie Street, will focus on musicians and groups that exemplify why North Carolina plays such a large role in shaping the bluegrass sound and the story of traditional music in America.
The North Carolina Stage is one of six stages and 100 bands that will be featured during the two-day free festival. Concerts for the stage start at 12:15 p.m. and conclude at 11 p.m. on both days.
“The Department of Natural and Cultural Resources is proud to present musicians from the Blue Ridge Music Trails for a fifth year as part of the Wide Open Bluegrass festival,” said Susi Hamilton, secretary of the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. “These musicians are examples of why North Carolina plays such an important role in shaping the story of traditional music in America.”
The N.C. Arts Council, an agency of DNCR, documents and helps sustain musical traditions from bluegrass to African American as a way to connect citizens and visitors to the unique artistic practices that have flourished over generations in communities across the state, according to Wayne Martin, executive director of the N.C. Arts Council.
Wide Open Bluegrass, presented by PNC, is part of the International Bluegrass Music Association’s five-day World of Bluegrass event in Raleigh, September 26-30. The N.C. Arts Council partnered with PineCone to curate the Davie Street Stage.
Below is the schedule of performances for the North Carolina Stage.
North Carolina Wide Open Bluegrass Stage:
Friday, Sept. 28:
12:15-1 p.m. Piney Woods Boys
1:30-2:15 p.m. Kinney Rorrer & The New North Carolina Ramblers
2:45-3:30 p.m. Lorraine Jordan & Carolina Road
4-4:45 p.m. Hank, Pattie & The Current
5:15-6 p.m. Riley Baugus
6:30-7:30 p.m. ShadowGrass
8-9:15 p.m. Tony Williamson & Friends
9:45-11 p.m. The Kruger Brothers
Saturday, Sept. 29:
12:15-1 p.m. Zoe & Cloyd
1:30-2:15 p.m. The Burnett Sisters
2:45-3:30 p.m. Dewey & Leslie Brown & The Carolina Gentlemen
4:00-4:45 p.m. Mark Kuykendall, Bobby Hicks & Asheville Bluegrass
5:15-6 p.m. Jeff Little Trio
6:30-7:30 p.m. Strictly Clean & Decent
8-9:15 p.m. Carolina Blue Band
9:45-11 pm The Harris Brothers
The Piney Woods Boys
The Piney Woods Boys play southern string band music that arose before the labels of “old-time” and “bluegrass” were used to distinguish styles of playing. The band has committed themselves to performing the songs and tunes that were taught to them by older musicians, many from their home state of North Carolina.
Kinney Rorrer & The New North Carolina Ramblers
Kinney Rorrer is the author of Ramblin’ Blues: The Life and Songs of Charlie Poole and is one of the musicians featured in the Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina guidebook and website. Rorrer is a member of a group called the New North Carolina Ramblers, so named in tribute to Charlie Poole’s band, the North Carolina Ramblers. When he was in the eighth grade, his dad brought home a stack of old 78 rpm records that his uncles had made. One uncle was Posey Rorer, a fiddler, and the other one, an uncle by marriage, was Charlie Poole, a banjo player and singer. He taught history for 32 years at Danville Community College in Danville, Virginia, before retiring in 2006.
Lorraine Jordan & Carolina Road
Lorraine Jordan has been fronting Carolina Road for more than 20 years, winning two IBMA awards for Recorded Events of the Year (2009, 2011), along with the 2015 SPBGMA Entertainer of the Year and Traditional Female Vocalist of the Year awards. Carolina Road has had multiple songs appear in the top 10 on the bluegrass Billboard, Bluegrass Today, and Roots Music Charts. http://www.carolinaroadband.com/
Hank, Pattie & The Current
Two of North Carolina’s veteran bluegrass musicians join forces with some of the Triangle area’s most versatile musicians to create modern, American, acoustic music. The band makes use of traditional bluegrass instrumentation in a nontraditional way. Hank Smith plays banjo, Pattie Hopkins Kinlaw plays fiddle and sings. The band is rounded out with Ben Parker on guitar on vocals, Robert Thornhill on mandolin and vocals and Billie Feather on bass. https://www.hankandpattie.com/
The North Carolina native began singing and playing music at an early age. Raised in a household where recordings of old-time music were often played, he developed a love and appreciation for traditional southern Appalachian music. By the time he was 12 he and his father built a banjo from scrap wood, and he began to learn another instrument. Baugus has made musical contributions to numerous films, including Cold Mountain. A successful recording artist, he has traveled the world teaching and when he is not building banjos he performs with notable groups including the Dirk Powell Band and with Kirk Sutphin. He is a frequent guest of Polecat Creek and of Tim O’Brien. http://www.rileybaugus.com/
ShadowGrass is a group of young musicians from Western North Carolina including 14-year-old Presley Barker and 13-year-old Kyser George and Luke Morris, 18 and Clay Russel, 17 from Southwestern Virginia. Holding to their bluegrass roots, fast picking, and fresh arrangements have earned the band numerous awards in youth and adult competitions across the region. In 2016 they placed 5th in the adult bluegrass band category at the Galax Fiddler’s Convention. https://shadowgrass.band/
Tony Williamson & Friends
Williamson, a 2017 North Carolina Heritage Award Recipient is a bluegrass icon. Williamson performs the old-time style of music that dates back nine generations in the Piedmont of N.C. Williamson plays mandolin and his brother Gary plays the banjo. Credits include performances on stage and/or in the recording studio with Alison Krauss, Chris Thile, Earl Scruggs, Bill Monroe, Bobby Hicks, Tony Rice, Vassar Clements, David Grisman, Sam Bush, Mike Marshall, Ricky Skaggs, Jerry Douglas, just to name a few. He has also received awards and nominations from many national music organizations, including the IBMA recorded event of the year in 1994, and he has even performed for Luciano Pavarotti. http://www.mandolincentral.com/tonywilliamson-bio/
The Kruger Brothers
Born and raised in Europe, brothers Jens and Uwe Kruger started singing and playing instruments at a very young age. The brothers were performing regularly by the time they were 11 and 12 years old, and they began their professional career in 1979. Since their formal introduction to American audiences in 1997, The Kruger Brothers’ remarkable discipline, creativity and their ability to infuse classical music into folk music has resulted in a unique sound that has made them a fixture within the world of acoustic music. https://krugerbrothers.com/
Zoe & Cloyd
John Cloyd Miller and Natalya Zoe Weinstein have toured extensively across the country and have recorded numerous albums featuring original material from both Miller and Weinstein. Miller is a 12th generation N.C. native and the grandson of pioneering bluegrass fiddler and N.C. Arts Council Heritage Award winner Jim Shumate. Miller’s foundation in traditional bluegrass and old-time Appalachian music, coupled with his modern sensibility and award-winning songwriting, combine to make him a natural musician and performer. Weinstein also comes from a musical family and is an accomplished fiddler in a variety of styles as well as an inspiring singer and songwriter. While trained classically in her home state of Massachusetts, she has spent many years fine-tuning her bluegrass and old-time fiddling after spending time with some of the top traditional musicians in N.C. http://www.zoeandcloyd.com/
The Burnett Sisters
The Burnett Sisters, Kathleen, Anissa, Sophia, and Anneli, are four siblings who play and sing folk, gospel, bluegrass, and old-time music. Based in Boone, their music is particularly influenced by The Church Sisters, The Peasall Sisters, Doc Watson, Della Mae, The Carter Family, and The Cockman Family. https://www.facebook.com/TheBurnettSistersBand/
Dewey & Leslie Brown & the Carolina Gentlemen
Dewey played fiddle as a Clinch Mountain Boy for Dr. Ralph Stanley for 11 years, until Dr. Stanley's death in 2016. He is an accomplished fiddle player who, while still in high school, started his career playing with the band Blue Ridge. Leslie was raised in the Appalachian Mountains, in the coal mining town of Vansant, Virginia. She is also a talented song writer, musician and singer. deweyandlesliebrown.com.
Mark Kuykendall, Bobby Hicks & Asheville Bluegrass. Bluegrass veteran Mark Kuykendall took a 15-year break from the music industry after spending years playing in the bands of legendary artists such as Bill Monroe and Jimmy Martin. The new group includes Hicks, in his 80s and still a legendary bluegrass fiddler who, like Kuykendall, is a former Blue Grass Boy and played with Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder for 21 years, winning 10 GRAMMY Awards along the way. In 2014, Hicks received the N.C. Heritage Award. The group also features Nick Chandler on mandolin and baritone vocals, Nick Dauphinais on bass and tenor vocals, and Seth Rhinehart on banjo.
Jeff Little Trio
Jeff Little continues an often hidden, yet fascinating tradition of piano playing in the Blue Ridge Mountains. With few exceptions, the piano does not play a prominent part in Appalachian music and is rarely the lead instrument. Jeff Little is an exception. His distinctive two-handed style, much influenced by mountain flatpicked guitar tradition, is breathtaking in its speed, precision and clarity. A professional musician since the age of 14, Jeff is conversant with traditional jazz, old-time, country, bluegrass, rockabilly, blues and rock and roll. Jeff frequently appeared with Doc Watson, and he is a regular at Merlefest. Appearing with Jeff Little are the father-son team of Steve Lewis and Josh Scott. Steve is one of the most respected banjo and guitar players in the Blue Ridge and has taken top picking honors in a host of contests.
Strictly Clean & Decent
Strictly Clean and Decent is an acoustic trio which features Patrick Crouch, Ron Shuffler, and Kay Crouch, whose blend of vocal harmonies tops a solid instrumental foundation. Their eclectic repertoire includes modern folk songs by American, Canadian, and Irish songwriters, the fiery breakdowns and songs of family and home found in both traditional and contemporary bluegrass settings, and centuries-old Celtic airs and dance tunes. Shuffler plays the upright bass, and he is a veteran of the early Top 40 and beach music scene who also is well known in country and bluegrass circles. Kay Crouch performs on the guitar, flute, piano, and tin whistle. Patrick Crouch handles the mandolin, banjo, dobro, fiddle, and guitar for the trio.
Carolina Blue Band
Carolina Blue is a Brevard, N.C. based band whose roots run deep in the tradition of Bill Monroe and Flatt & Scruggs. The band was formed in 2007 after the release of the album "Nothing So Blue" by Bobby Powell on guitar and vocals and Tim Jones on mandolin and vocals, Reese Combs on upright bass and vocals, James McDowell on banjo and vocals and Aynsley Porchak on fiddle.
The Harris Brothers, Reggie and Ryan, are a real brother duo born and raised in Western North Carolina, where they were exposed to a wide variety of music from an early age. They have been playing professionally as a duo for more than 20 years. Reggie sings and plays guitar, banjo, and a kick-drum suitcase for percussion; Ryan sings and plays the bass. The Harris Brothers repertoire consists of a number of genres from traditional roots music, rock & roll, jazz, blues, Appalachian mountain music, to vintage country and bluegrass.
For more information visit http://www.wideopenbluegrass.com/music-schedule
Note: The Blue Ridge National Heritage Area will host a Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina booth as part of IBMA in the Raleigh Convention Center in downtown Raleigh Thursday, Sept. 27 to Saturday, Sept. 29. http://www.blueridgeheritage.com/ or wwwBlueRidgeMusicNC.com.
About the North Carolina Arts Council
The North Carolina Arts Council builds on our state’s long-standing love of the arts, leading the way to a more vibrant future. The Arts Council is an economic catalyst, fueling a thriving nonprofit creative sector that generates $2.12 billion in annual direct economic activity. The Arts Council also sustains diverse arts expression and traditions while investing in innovative approaches to art-making. The North Carolina Arts Council has proven to be a champion for youth by cultivating tomorrow’s creative citizens through arts education. www.NCArts.org