How It’s New York:  Mick Moloney, who epitomizes the face of Irish New York, is on the tour!
How It’s Irish:  The tour. in the southern mountains and across Southwest Virginia, includes music from Ireland, Africa and the Blue Ridge– as the roots of American Music.  Here’s hoping it comes here, too– I want to see it!

Below is a message from Joe Wilson, author of A Guide to The Crooked Road, Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail

Poster design by Pharis Romero
The Roots of American Music is a tour of 12 concerts celebrating the permanent exhibit of the same name opening May, 2011 at the Blue Ridge Music Center, located at Milepost 213 of the Blue Ridge Parkway, Galax, Va.  
 Roots of American Music salutes our region’s creation of the first truly American sound. Hear what happened when the European violin met the African banjo in an unforgettable performance by some of the finest Irish, African and Blue Ridge Mountain musicians playing today. Jig dancing, old ballads, uilleann piping, the griot’s twang; it is all here.
Generous support from the National Endowment for the Arts, Virginia’s Department of Housing and Community Development, the Appalachian Regional Commission, Heartwood (opening in June, 2011, ), Southwest Virginia Cultural Heritage Commission, and The Crooked Road, allows us to offer this show at a very reasonable price.  Our goal is to bring to you and your town an exciting, high-quality show, and to help you make money for your organization or venue.

And what a team of artists!  They include Dale Jett, a member of the Carter Family, and autoharp and guitar player;  Cheick Hamala Diabate, a griot from Mali, West Africa, and a master of the ngoni (the gourd that became the banjo); Linda Lay, a gospel singer and string player; Eddie Bond, Virginia dancer and old-time musician; Mick Moloney, NYU scholar, banjo player and National Heritage award winner (and all around person you need to know!); Wayne Henderson, old-time guitarist and National Heritage Award winner; Sammy Shelor, banjo player and leader of the Lonesome River Band; Kirk Sutphin, old-time banjo and fiddle player from the “Round Peak” area on the NC- VA border; Burl Reah, coal miner and banjo player from the Cumberland Mountains; 17-year old mountain singer Molly Slemp; Joey Abarta, Irish uillean piper and winner of the 2009 All-Ireland piping championship at age 22; 15-year old singer Kathy James

I wish I could be there, and I hope there will be dvds, cds, and MORE DATES!

For information on how to bring Roots of American Music to your town, please call or email:
Joe Wilson or Kathy James

(276) 744-3618 or 235-8875

Show dates and more info after the jump!

Roots of American Music (how hillbillies helped invent it) is a musical tour with a cast of 12 well known musicians that will visit 12 Crooked Road towns during May 10-22.
Performances will be held: May 10, Pulaski Theater, Pulaski; May 11, Rex Theater, Galax; May 12, Natural Tunnel State Park Amphitheater, Duffield: May 13, Paramount Center for the Arts, Bristol; May 14, Jettie Baker Center, Clintwood; May 15, Historic Star Theatre, Stuart; May 17, Roanoke Main Library; May 18, Southwest Virginia Community College—King Community Center, Claypool Hill; May 19, Lincoln Theatre, Marion; May 20, Mountain Empire Community College—Goodloe Center, Big Stone Gap; May 21, Floyd Country Store, Floyd; May 22, Franklin County High School Auditorium, Rocky Mount;
The show tells that Southwestern Virginia was a mixing bowl where an American music was created from ingredients brought there from many places. This began after 1720, primarily from Ulster in Ireland, the Rhine Valley of Germany, and was mixed with English and African sounds brought to the mountains by settlers who came westward from the Tidewater.

Gwen Orel
About the Author

The only New York journalist who writes for both the Forward and Irish Music Magazine.