The Claire Lynch Band to perform in Harrisburg February 2nd at 2 PM!

claire_lynch_band-24_crop(2)(1)Are you ready for some bluegrass?? Reigning International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Female Vocalist of the Year Claire Lynch comes to Harrisburg for a pre-Super Bowl matinee concert sponsored by the Susquehanna Folk Music Society in association with the Seven Mountains Bluegrass Association. The concert will be at 2 p.m. on Sunday, February 2, 2014, at the Appalachian Brewing Company, 50 N. Cameron Street, Harrisburg.

Long recognized and praised as a creative force in acoustic music, Claire Lynch is a pioneer who continually pushes the boundaries of the bluegrass genre. She is a 2012 recipient of the United States Artists Walker Fellowship and has two Grammy nominations and IBMA vocalist awards in 1997 and 2010 to her credit.

Dolly Parton has said Lynch has “one of the sweetest, purest, and best lead voices in the music business today.” Equally gifted as a songwriter, Lynch’s songs have been recorded by The Seldom Scene, Patty Loveless, Kathy Mattea, Cherryholmes, The Whites, and others.

They’ll also be a football themed raffle with raffle prizes supplied by Mid-Penn Bank.

Concert tickets are $25 General Admission, $21 for SFMS members and members of the Seven Mountains Bluegrass Association, and $10 for students ages 3-22. Advance tickets are available through Brown Paper Tickets at (800) 838-3006 or online at http://www.BrownPaperTickets.com.

Follow the link below for an excellent interview and story written by Ellen Hughes. Hughes writes about fine arts, classical music and performances in the Harrisburg area for Penn Live. http://www.pennlive.com/entertainment/index.ssf/2014/01/bluegrass_band_breaks_out_at_a.html

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The Quebe Sister Band heads to York PA January 26th with a surprising new line-up

T_QuebeSistersThe Quebe Sisters Band will bring their refreshing blend of western swing, jazz, vintage country and three-part harmony vocals to Marketview Arts in York, PA on Sunday, January 26, 2014 for a Matinee Concert at 4:00 pm. The concert is sponsored by the Susquehanna Folk Music Society and will be recorded for broadcast on WITF-FM’s “Center Stage” radio program.

Marketview Arts is located at 37 W. Philadelphia Street in York, PA. Tickets are $22 and can be purchased at http://www.sfmsfolk.org or by calling 800-838-3006.

In 1998 the Quebes heard Texas style fiddling for the first time at a fiddle contest in Denton, Texas. At ages 7, 10 and 12 they started taking fiddle lessons from Joey and Sherry McKenzie. From the start, all three sisters demonstrated talent, determination and a love for the music. Soon afterwards, the girls began competing in fiddle contests and had success early on; winning regional, State and National championships.

The girls soon took their act on the road, accompanied by the driving rhythm of Joey McKenzie on guitar and Galvin Kelso on bass. Through the years they have played at the Grand Ole Opry, the Kennedy Center, NYC’s Lincoln Center, The Birchmere, the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, and the National Folk Festival. In addition, the QSB has appeared in concert with Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, Merle Haggard, Asleep at the Wheel, Larry Gatlin & the Gatlin Brothers, Riders in the Sky, and Marty Stuart. They have also had the pleasure of playing with billionaire/ukulele enthusiast Warren Buffett and had the honor of performing for President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush.

During a recent interview Grace Quebe talks about the group’s new CD, the marriage of the youngest Quebe sister, Hulda and the band’s surprising new line-up.

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FOLKMAMA: We’re really looking forward to your performance in York, PA! It seems like there are a lot of new things happening with the Quebe Sister Band. First off, I’m wondering if you can tell me some things about your new CD?

GRACE: We’ve just got our new CD back from the printer. (“Every Which-Away”, release date February 11th) It’s come within the last few days and we’re really excited about it! We’ve been working on this project for awhile. We recorded it in about two weeks or so. But it’s taken a long time to finish in between touring and trips in the summer. There are so many people who helped us with this project. We’ve had great engineers, and everyone who did the art work were great. It was produced by Joey McKenzie and mastered by him too. But we’re really happy with the quality.

FOLKMAMA: Is it very similar in style to your last CD, or have you made some changes?

GRACE: It’s very similar to our last CD “Timeless” because, up until this point, it featured our current band and it’s a lot of straight ahead Western Swing and jazz. It’s a really good representation of what we have been doing. All of the songs we are still playing and will continue to play because we have them on this album. So when people come out to a show they are going to be hearing quite a few songs on this record. It’s really an accurate representation of what we have been doing and the different styles that we have been playing.

FOLKMAMA: And will you have it available when you come to play in York?

GRACE: We sure will.

FOLKMAMA: You’ve recently made a line-up change that may be a big surprise to a lot of people. Tell me a little bit about the musicians that you will be bringing with you to York?

GRACE: Our guitar player Joey McKenzie and our bass player Galvin Kelso really provided a solid rhythm team, but we just decided it was time to to pursue some different avenues. Joey was definitely interested in doing some more teaching which was really hard for him to do with all the touring that we do. So we decided to go ahead and make a change which which allows him to do what he wanted to do.

We first met our new band mates Penny Lea and Katy Lou Clark (they’re twins) at the Grand Old Opry where they were working. We played there one night and we met them at a CD signing and we found out that they were from Texas and we told them to come on over if they were ever at home visiting family. So a few Christmases ago they dropped by to see us and we had so much fun and just got to be such great friends! So when they found out that we were going to be making these changes in our band that said that they’d like to help us out at least for 2014. And then we’ll see.

So Penny and Katy will be playing with our band and when they go to Nashville they play with their brother in a band called the Purple Hulls. They recently moved to Texas to be with their parents because their dad was sick and has since passed away. Maybe sometime they’ll move to Nashville, but for now they live in Texas.

FOLKMAMA: So how has working with Katy and Penny altered your sound?

GRACE: Well I think we’ve learned to adapt to the players. We actually now have a broader range of instruments to work with. Penny plays the mandolin and the guitar and Katy’s playing banjo and plays accordion and piano as well. This concert in York will be one of the first that we’ll play together as a band.

FOLKMAMA: And the twins are young too, like the three of you are?

GRACE: They are my age, 27. I’m the oldest. My sister Sophia is 26 and Hulda is 23.

FOLKMAMA: And I believe one of you is married.

GRACE: Yes, it’s my youngest sister Hulda. She got married this past year. She married a fiddle player.

FOLKMAMA: And has that changed the amount that you can tour?

GRACE: Actually no because Hulda’s husband is just finishing up school. I think he’s going to graduate this spring. So he’s working really hard to finish up school and he’s really busy They were dating all the while that we were touring for the past several years so they’re quite used to that schedule–traveling all all that.

FOLKMAMA: So you are all full time, on the road then. Do you also teach and do other things?

GRACE: You know I have taught in the past. I was helping out Sherry McKenzie, Joey’s wife who was teaching fiddle at some schools and we helped her out with that for several years–that’s when we were in high school. Then our band got so busy that and our schedule became so sporadic so that it was hard for us to have a weekly schedule at the school. So ever since then we’ve just been in the band.

FOLKMAMA: So what are your goals now as you and your sisters are getting older?

GRACE: Well. we just want to keep on playing. We’re having so much fun and we’re doing things that we didn’t really plan –but just naturally happened. We’re enjoying it, and if others are enjoying it that’s all the more reason to keep doing it too. We’re looking forward to 2014 to see what comes along!

To find out more about the Quebe Sisters Band visit http://www.quebesistersband.com. Information about Penny and Katy Clark can be found at http://thepurplehulls.com.

The Honey Dewdrops in Concert, January 11th, Hbg. PA

Honey Dewdrops1The Virginia-based roots duo The Honey Dewdrops, which features Laura Wortman and Kagey Parish,  bring their original Americana folk music to Harrisburg on Saturday, January 11, 2014 for Susquehanna Folk Music Society’s first  concert of the year to be held at the Fort Hunter Centennial Barn, 5300 N. Front Street in Harrisburg, PA. The 7:30 p.m. concert will be preceded by a free 6 p.m. potluck dinner.

Wortman and Parish create inspired songs rooted in the experience and lives of people. Their songs shine with energy and emotion through intimate performances with a few acoustic instruments and tightly-layered harmonies.

Concert tickets are $18 General Admission, $16 for SFMS members, and $10 for students ages 3-22. Advance tickets are available through Brown Paper Tickets at (800) 838-3006 or online at www.sfmsfolk.org

Below is an interview recorded on December 23, 2013 with Kagey Parish.

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FOLKMAMA: A lot of Susquehanna Folk audience members really like old time music. I hear that style in your singing and playing. I’m curious how you would describe the relationship between your music and old time music.

HONEY DEWDROPS: Our music is kind of like new old-time music. The kind of music that Laura and I really got into together was a lot of traditional American music like old blues and old country and bluegrass as well. I think what first got us into that music was the feeling; emotion and energy that comes through old time fiddle tunes and blues. We want to sing and play with that kind of energy because it is infectious—it gets inside of you and it won’t get out.

FOLKMAMA: So I’ve been noticing fairly recently that I think there are really a lot of young people that have gotten into what you call on your website “Americana Music.” So how can you explain that phenomenon?

 HONEY DEW DROPS: We think and talk about this a whole lot because we do find ourselves in a community that is growing larger and larger each year.  Americana music has a really long history and there have been certain points in time where it has been highlighted and other times where the popularity has died off a little bit. There was what they call the “folk scare” in the early 60s and then there is the resurgence that is going on right now which may have been kindled by the movie “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”which was a major movie that had an incredible sound track to go a long with it.

The sound track incorporated some people who had been around for such a long time; like Norman Blake, Ralph Stanley, and John Hartford, and combined them with some contemporary musicians like Allison Krause and Gillian Welsh. There was something in there for everybody but it had that sound, that old quality. What can be simpler than a voice and a guitar making a sound that just gets inside of you? I think a lot of young people were really attracted to the music, especially in our world with I-Phones and computers and the internet all the time. It’s something that is basic, pared back, simple—but really powerful.

FOLKMAMA: I noticed that some groups, like the Carolina Chocolate Drops for instance, made a conscientious effort to get to study with some of the masters. Have you ever done any of that, or have you wanted to go your own fresh direction?

HONEY DEW DROPS: Well, we have done a little bit of that. One of the ways that I first got into old-time music was by spending some time with Mike Seeger who lived in Lexington, Virginia. Mike was an extremely generous teacher. I think if there was one legacy for him it was that he was great at spreading the music around. Not just by making recordings or by putting on shows, but by sitting down with people–playing with them, helping them to learn songs, showing them something that he was working on—that was his legacy.

Mike was a guy who obviously knew so many different styles, he was really interested in the history of old time music, including blues, old country, old bluegrass—all this rural American music happening and being first recorded in the 20s and 30s—he was into all that stuff. But he was able to sing it in a voice that was his own; he put his own spin on it.

Some other folks that we’ve gotten to know and work closely with are Ginny Hawker and Tracey Swartz. Obviously we’re really into duets—we think it’s a really powerful way of making music together.  And those would be two that we are really influenced by. The quality of their voices singing their close harmonies—it’s like their voices are two sticks rubbing together—there is this spark, this fire.

FOLKMAMA: What’s your instrumentation in the group?

HONEY DEW DROPS: Lately we’ve been adding more and more things. We started playing two guitars together—a great way to do duets, two guitars, two voices. And slowly added a mandolin and Laura learned to play the banjo now. So its fun to explore new sounds and add things as time goes by, but its guitar, mandolin and banjo right now.

FOLKMAMA: And where does your name come from?

HONEY DEW DROPS: About 8 years ago now we were living in a little town called Scottsville which is just South of Charlottesville, VA. Near us was a little restaurant/bar called the Dew Drop Inn. It had been there for many, many years and was actually the idea of the Dew Drop Inn on for The Waltons TV show. At that time we had been going by our names Laura Wortman and Kagey Parish and we thought it would be fun to have a band name and we were married so there is that little thing with “Honey do.” So the name just came up and we’ve stuck with it; The Honey Dewdrops.

FOLKMAMA: Do you write your songs together?

HONEY DEW DROPS: Each song is a little different. Some of the songs that we sing we sat down together and wrote it in about an hour’s time, there are other songs that Laura has started and finished on her own, other she has stared and I’ve come in and finished, and the same for me. Each one needs a little something different to be brought to life so it’s a pretty wide open process.

FOLKMAMA: What are some of the common themes of your songs?

HONEY DEW DROPS: Themes that come up are things that come to us through our daily living and a lot of our life is traveling through various towns and if we are lucky getting to spend some time and making some friends in those towns.

One of the songs that we wrote was called “Hills of My Home” and it was based on traveling first out west and then in parts of Virginia and other parts of Appalachia like Kentucky and West Virginia. One of the things that we kept on seeing was the destruction of our mountains across the country to various forms of mining. One in particular was mountain top removal which is a form of strip mining where they blow the top of the mountain off in order to get to the coal seams underground. As you can imagine once they are done there is not much left of the mountain so they are actually bringing down the mountain in order to get the coal out of it so it seems like a crazy idea to us. Why would they want to destroy this permanent thing? That’s just one of the many things that we try to think about and write about. I think the main thing is that we write about things that are important to us, that touch a nerve or give us a feeling—positive or negative.

FOLKMAMA: So you’ve been performing professionally as a group for five years and you have three CDs. What are some of the most exciting, interesting places that you’ve played at?

HONEY DEW DROPS: You know it’s been really cool to do this for 5 years and travel around the country and go to places that we never would have gone to otherwise. Just last fall we were in a little town called Fairfield Iowa which is in the middle of vast fields of corn. Turns out it was the home of the Maharishi University, which is a transcendental meditation community. A lot of people are drawn to the university and a lot of them end of staying, wanting to be a part of that community for the rest of their lives. That was something that we really didn’t expect. It was a really welcoming community that had a lot to teach us. And that happens all the time, but it happens in different ways. Friendly people, beautiful landscape, so yeah, we just feel really lucky to travel.

FOLKMAMA: I think I read in one of your interviews that you don’t really have a home base. Is that still true?

HONEY DEW DROPS: This year we are living on the road. We had lived in Charlottesville, Virginia for the past 5 years which is Laura’s home town. I grew up in Richmond which is about 60 miles east of there. And after 5 years we got to thinking, hey, why don’t we change something up here? So we decided to take about a year and go on the road and stay with friends and family along the way and anybody else who might be generous enough to give us a bed for an evening and it’s been a really interesting experience. We started off in May of this year and we’re going to do it until May or June 2014 before we get another apartment.

FOLKMAMA: I imagine most people couldn’t even imagine not having a home. Where would they put their stuff?

HONEY DEW DROPS: Well what we tried to do is pare down over the years. We like to travel as lightly as we can. Now we have four instruments in the car, we have our bags and our hiking boots, but trying to reduce the stuff and clutter all around us has been a really positive part of doing this.