Charlotte Folk Society’s next free gathering will take place Friday, October 9th, 2015, at 7:30pm, at Great Aunt Stella Center, 926 Elizabeth Avenue. Charlotte Folk Society Gatherings are family-friendly and free. Doors open at 7pm, and it’s strongly suggested that you arrive early. Donations are appreciated and essential to presenting the concert series in the Stella Center. Accessible entry and an elevator are available through the ground-level door. Free parking is available adjacent to the Stella Center. Refreshments, a song circle, and a jam session follow the event. The event features the Red Clay Ramblers.
Now in their 44th year, the Tony Award-winning Red Clay Ramblers are a legendary North Carolina string band whose repertoire reflects their roots in old-time mountain music, as well as bluegrass, country rock, New Orleans jazz, gospel, and the American musical. The Ramblers have toured continuously since their formation in Durham in 1972. The current band has been together since 1987, with Jack Herrick (trumpet, bass), Bland Simpson (piano), Clay Buckner (fiddle), and Chris Frank (guitar). They are joined on tour by banjoist Rick Good and drummer Rob Ladd.
In their early days, the Ramblers helped to fuel a revival of interest in old-time, stringband music. Original band members Mike Craver (guitar) Tommy Thompson (banjo), Bill Hicks (fiddle), and Jim Watson (mandolin, bass) built a repertoire around the musical traditions of fiddler Henry Reed and other Southern Appalachian master musicians. They, as well as later Ramblers, would add well-crafted original material in a variety of genres to that repertoire.
In 1975, the Ramblers launched their association with American musical theater by performing in an off-Broadway production of Diamond Studs, created by Bland Simpson and Jim Wann, followed by performance in an off-Broadway production of Sam Shepard’s A Lie of the Mind, 1985-86. The Red Clay Ramblers scored two Sam Shepard movies (Far North, 1988, and Silent Tongue, 1994). They acted in Silent Tongue, appearing as an 1870s medicine show band, where they met clowns Bill Irwin and David Shiner and spawned the seeds of what became Fool Moon, which they first performed on Broadway between February and September 1993. Fool Moon returned to Broadway twice more in 1995 and 1998 and won a Special Tony Award in June 1999.
Monthly second-Friday Charlotte Folk Society Gatherings are family-friendly and free; donations are appreciated and essential to holding Gatherings in the Great Aunt Stella Center.
Refreshments, a song circle, jam sessions, songwriters’ circle, and an Appalachian dulcimer group follow the hour-long concert; visitors are welcome to join in or simply listen. Free parking is available in the 4th St. Mecklenburg County parking deck, between Kings Dr. and McDowell St. Enter from the Stella Center parking lot or from 4th Street. Accessible entry and an elevator are available through the ground floor door on the parking lot side of the building.
Charlotte Folk Society Gatherings are made possible, in part, with funding from the Arts & Science Council, the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources, and the National Endowment for the Arts, which believes that a great nation deserves great art. This concert is presented in partnership with Levine Museum of the New South and Charlotte Community Radio.