Blues Guitarist Mary Flower to Perform in Harrisburg

World class guitarist and blues singer Mary Flower brings her artistry to Harrisburg for an April 9 blues guitar workshop and concert sponsored by Susquehanna Folk Music Society in partnership with the Blues Society of Central Pennsylvania at the Fort Hunter Centennial Barn, 5300 N. Front Street, Harrisburg. The 4:30 p.m. workshop will be followed by a 6 p.m. potluck dinner and the 7:30 p.m. concert.

 Flower is acclaimed as one of the preeminent fingerstyle guitarists who continue in the rich acoustic blues tradition. She has mastered the intricate, harmonically subtle Piedmont style with its good-timey, ragtime feel, and also is an unrivaled interpreter of Mississippi blues and an ingenious composer whose tunes take American music into new places.

 She got her start playing in her native Indiana and then became a much-loved part of the Denver music scene. During the 1970s and 1980s Flower helped develop the core curriculum at Denver’s Swallow Hill Music School and taught there in the early 1990s. She continues to teach at venues such as the Augusta Heritage Center and the Swannanoa Gathering.

 Since moving to Portland, OR, in 2004, Flower has performed all over North America. She’s a regular on the blues and folk festival circuit and also has eight recordings to her credit. She was nominated in 2008 for a Blues Music Award and won the coveted Vox Populi award in the 2009 Independent Music Awards’ Acoustic Song category for “Slow Lane to Glory,” a track from her 2009 Yellow Dog Records release “Bridges.” That recording has been described as “incredibly musical and soul-satisfying.”

 Before the concert, Flower will lead a blues guitar workshop during which Mary will demonstrate, discuss and teach left and right hand techniques that all work together to provide the bounce to this particular brand of blues. This class will explore a few different arrangements that combine alternating bass and melody. Songs might come from the repertoire of Tampa Red and Blind Boy Fuller.

The class is appropriate for advanced beginners to intermediate players. Ability to read tab will be very helpful and audio recording is encouraged.

 Workshop tickets are $20 general admission, $16 for Susquehanna Folk Music Society and Blues Society of Central Pennsylvania members, and $10 for students ages 3 to 22. The potluck dinner following the workshop is free. Bring a covered dish to share; drinks and place settings will be provided. The concert tickets are $20 General Admission, $16 for SFMS and BSCP members and $10 for students. Advance tickets are available through Brown Paper Tickets online at or toll-free (800) 838-3006. This event is made possible with grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Foundation for Enhancing Communities. Additional sponsorship is provided by SFMS members Bob Lane, Rob Bleecher and by the Blues Society of Central Pennsylvania. For more information, visit the Susquehanna Folk Music Society web site at

 –John Hope