Women and Community in Old Time Music

With Alice Gerard
ABOUT THE CLASS

In this class we will explore some of the icons (better and lesser known) in old-time music through photographs, recordings, and videos. Some of the musicians we will “meet” will be Ola Belle Reed, Lily May Ledford, Wilma Lee Cooper, Roscoe and Leone Parish, Carter Family, Matokie Slaughter, Elizabeth Cotten, Mabel Cawthorne, Luther Davis, Tommy Jarrell, Cousin Emmy and others. Some familiarity with these folks  is recommended but not required.  Since we will learn songs and tunes that come from these folks, you need to be willing to sing and/or play, so bring your voices, fiddles, banjos, guitars and your listening ears. All levels are welcome.   I do not use tabs or musical notation, we will be learning by ear. Audio recording is encouraged and if you wish to video record please contact me in advance.

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR

Simply put, Alice Gerrard is a talent of legendary status. In a career spanning some 50 years, she has known, learned from, and performed with many of the old-time and bluegrass greats and has in turn earned worldwide respect for her own important contributions to the music. Alice is particularly known for her groundbreaking collaboration with Appalachian singer Hazel Dickens during the 1960s and ’70s. The duo produced four classic LPs (recently reissued by Rounder on CD) and influenced scores of young women singers — even The Judds acknowledge Hazel and Alice as an important early inspiration.

Alice has four solo albums, Pieces of My Heart, and Calling Me Home, and Bittersweet (produced by Laurie Lewis), were released  to critical acclaim in Billboard, Bluegrass Unlimited, New Country, and other publications. These superb recordings showcase Alice’s many talents: her compelling, eclectic songwriting; her powerful, hard-edged vocals; and her instrumental mastery on rhythm guitar, banjo, and old-time fiddle. Her 2015 album, Follow the Music (produced by Mike Taylor of Hiss Golden Messenger) was nominated for a 2015 Grammy. Her most recent albums in 2016 and 2017 are collaborations: Wonderful World Outside with the Piedmont Melody Makers and Tear Down the Fences with Kay Justice.

Alice has appeared on more than 20 recordings, including projects with many traditional musicians such as Tommy Jarrell, Enoch Rutherford, Otis Burris, Luther Davis and Matokie Slaughter; with Tom Sauber and Brad Leftwich as Tom, Brad & Alice, with the Harmony Sisters,  the Herald Angels, Beverly Smith, and with Anna R-g and Elizabeth LaPrelle. With her in-depth knowledge of mountain music, she has produced or written liner notes for a dozen more. She also co-produced and appeared in two documentary films and is the subject of a work in progress: You Gave Me a Song.

A tireless advocate of traditional music, Alice has won numerous honors, including an International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Distinguished Achievement Award, a Virginia Arts Commission Award, the North Carolina Folklore Society’s Tommy Jarrell Award, and an Indy Award. In 2017 Alice was inducted into the IBMA Hall of Fame along with Hazel Dickens.

In 1987 Alice founded The Old-Time Herald and the Old-Time Music Group, a non-profit organization that oversees publication of The Old-Time Herald. Alice served as editor-in-chief of The Old-Time Herald from 1987 till 2003. She continues to perform solo and with The Piedmont Melody Makers, Kay Justice, the Herald Angels Band, and occasionally with Beverly Smith and Tom Sauber and Brad Leftwich.

Alice Gerrard
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Advanced Fiddle

With Greg Canote
ABOUT THE CLASS

The advanced fiddle class will focus on a handful of beautiful old tunes while we explore the left and right-hand techniques that really make it sound Old-Time. On the left hand we’ll include ornaments, open string drones and double-stops. On the right hand, we’ll take steps toward becoming the bosses of the bows with phrasing, simple patterns, dips and pulses. We’ll take advantage of more relaxed tempos that will allow us to enjoy the internal rhythm and the magical order of notes. Be prepared to have some fun! Bring a working fiddle and a recording device. Not so arcane secrets revealed!

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR

Twin Brothers Greg and Jere Canote have been taking advantage of their genetics for as long as they can remember; as Christmas elves tap dancing their way around the wishing well in the first grade, to their thirteen-year stint as the affable side-kicks on NPR’s Sandy Bradley’s Potluck. These guys love what they do, and it shows. Equally at home on a blazing hot fiddle tune or soaring into the clouds with a scat singing swing solo- the twins know their stuff inside out and perform with an affable friendly approach that invites you into their genetically matched world for a little while. For audiences of all ages, the Canotes demonstrate their love and mastery of vintage American styles from fiddle tunes and country songs to novelty numbers and swing. They perform with spirit, humor, sterling musicianship, and those genetically matched voices. Greg and Jere also share a well honed ear for the quirky- “Their songs all have the ring of cockeyed classics!” Guaranteed fun!

Greg Canote
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Intermediate Fiddle

With Kilby Spencer
ABOUT THE CLASS

This class is for intermediate fiddlers. We will learn some of Kilby’s favorite regional fiddle tunes from Southwest Virginia and Northwest North Carolina. Emphasis will be placed on learning the tunings, bowing, and noting techniques associated with the style. If possible, we will try to learn at least 2 tunes a day. Students are encouraged to bring a recording device to class. We will discuss the different influential fiddle players from the region’s hotbeds of music, including Whitetop, Galax, West Jefferson, and Mt. Airy. Kilby will show up 20 minutes early each day to help students get in tune or answer questions regarding material from previous days. CDs or online downloads will be provided of source recordings.

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR

Kilby Spencer is an award winning fiddle player in both old-time and bluegrass styles as well as a sought after guitar player.  He has been playing old-time music for most of his life, learning from his parents, Thornton and Emily Spencer, who have been performing in the Whitetop Mountain Band for over 40 years. Kilby has also collected and digitized rare local recordings for many years and serves on the board of the Field Recorder’s Collective, who mission is to preserve and release rare field and home recordings. Kilby also formed his own award winning band over ten years ago, The Crooked Road Ramblers, who have played many prestigious venues such as The National Folk Festival, The Richmond Folk Festival,  and Floydfest.

Kilby Spencer
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Advanced Banjo

With Riley Baugus
ABOUT THE CLASS

This class for advanced banjo players will explore many different clawhammer techniques sourced from traditional players, styles, and regions of the Appalachians. Primary focus will be Round Peak, a style which originated in Surry County, NC, with an instructor native to the area. Have fun as we progress through lots of tunes and techniques that will help you long after class, including right-hand control, playing what you hear, jamming etiquette, mastering left-hand techniques, and playing tunes specifically meant for banjo.

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR

Riley Baugus, a North Carolina native who lives in Walkertown, 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. He and his family attended a Regular Baptist church, where unaccompanied hymn singing was a long-standing tradition.

Riley began playing the fiddle at age ten. Soon after that he took up the guitar. By the time he was twelve, he and his father built a banjo from scrap wood, and he once again began to learn another instrument. Riley honed his musical skills with a close friend and neighbor, fiddler Kirk Sutphin. Together they visited elder traditional musicians in and around Grayson County, Virginia, and Surry County, North Carolina. Riley often visited, played with, and learned from fiddlers Tommy Jarrell, a National Heritage Fellowship recipient from Surry County, and Robert Sykes, and banjo player Dix Freeman. During these visits he also met and learned from many other traditional musicians of the area, including former Camp Creek Boys members Verlen Clifton and Paul Sutphin.

Riley has played with numerous old-time string bands, including the Red Hots, Backstep, and Old Hollow Stringband. He currently plays with the Dirk Powell Band and Polecat Creek. He teaches banjo, guitar, and fiddle at music camps throughout the country and tours regularly with Dirk Powell and Tim O’Brien, and with Ira Bernstein. As a producer and performer, Riley worked with the Lonesome Sisters on their recording Going Home Shoes. His singing is featured on the soundtrack of the Academy Award-winning film Cold Mountain. He built the antebellum-style banjos that were used in the film.

Riley has recorded two albums featuring his banjo, guitar, and fiddle playing and singing: Long Steel Rail, and Life of Riley. He has also collaborated with Laurelyn Dossett and Ira Bernstein on recordings and contributed to albums by Alison Krauss and Robert Plant, Polecat Creek, Martha Scanlan, Dirk Powell, Adam Tanner, Kirk Sutphin, and the Lonesome Sisters.

Riley Baugus
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Intermediate Banjo

With Emily Spencer
ABOUT THE CLASS

We will work on drop thumb and double thumbing techniques on tunes that are well-loved in the Whitetop Mountain area. Knowledge of basic chords will be useful. I like to differentiate instruction as much as possible, so will use written music as well as ear learning. Students should be able to keep a basic rhythm lick (bum-diddy). It would be helpful to have a recording device/ phone, as well. If there are specific tunes that students are interested in, we will certainly address those!

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR

As a member of the popular family-based Whitetop Mountain Band, and as a long-time teacher and ambassador of traditional mountain music from Southwest Virginia and Northwest North Carolina, Emily Spencer has made an important mark on the traditional music of the region. Emily has been performing with the Whitetop Mountain Band since the 1970s. Emily grew up singing around Arlington, Virginia. “My parents just liked traditional music,” she says, noting some of the first songs she learned were “Shortening Bread,” “Alabama Gals,” and “Barbara Allen.” Shortly after high school, Emily’s interest in traditional mountain music inspired a move to Southwest Virginia. “I followed the music here,” she says, and she soon met Thornton while living in Dungannon. “There were a lot of musicians in the area then,” she recalls.

Emily and Thornton moved to Mouth of Wilson in 1977. They joined Albert Hash‘s Whitetop Mountain Band, and the three started an old-time music program at Mount Rogers School, a small K-12 public school in Whitetop. They taught students to play fiddle, banjo, guitar, and bass, and to dance, and the program has drawn national attention.

Emily Spencer
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Intermediate & Advanced Guitar

With Jere Canote
ABOUT THE CLASS

In this class, we’ll start with the basic boom-chuck rhythm, then work on choosing bass notes, two and four note bass runs, timing, accents and tricks for making good chord choices. We’ll play in G & C, and in A & D without a capo for that big old time guitar sound! We’ll also cover song back-up and some Carter Family style picking, all the while backing up great old fiddle tunes and classic old time songs. Bring: a recording device.

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR

Twin Brothers Greg and Jere Canote have been taking advantage of their genetics for as long as they can remember; as Christmas elves tap dancing their way around the wishing well in the first grade, to their thirteen-year stint as the affable side-kicks on NPR’s Sandy Bradley’s Potluck. These guys love what they do, and it shows. Equally at home on a blazing hot fiddle tune or soaring into the clouds with a scat singing swing solo- the twins know their stuff inside out and perform with an affable friendly approach that invites you into their genetically matched world for a little while. For audiences of all ages, the Canotes demonstrate their love and mastery of vintage American styles from fiddle tunes and country songs to novelty numbers and swing. They perform with spirit, humor, sterling musicianship, and those genetically matched voices. Greg and Jere also share a well honed ear for the quirky- “Their songs all have the ring of cockeyed classics!” Guaranteed fun!

Jere Canote
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Website

Appalachian Dance

With Becky Hill
ABOUT THE CLASS

Appalachian dance is a blend of Irish, West African, and Native American Indian dances and has close ties to Appalachian old-time music. We will explore clogging, flatfooting and square dancing and learn how to create our own steps, improvise to live music, call basic square dance figures, and combine the styles that have come out of Appalachia to create something of our own. We will also discuss the history of these traditions and watch archival footage. No previous experience necessary, all levels are welcome. Wear leather bottoms, or smooth soled shoes.

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR

Becky Hill grew up in Michigan and currently calls West Virginia home. She apprenticed with both Footworks Percussive Dance Ensemble and Rhythm in Shoes and has studied with an array of percussive dance luminaries such as Eileen Carson, Sharon Leahy, Sandy Silva and Ira Bernstein. She’s won flatfoot competitions at several festivals, including the Appalachian String Band Festival, and teaches at traditional music camps and festivals throughout Appalachia and the Midwest. Together with noted folklorist Gerry Milnes, she produced a documentary film on West Virginia dance traditions entitled “Reel ‘Em Boys, Reel ‘Em.”  In 2013, she was involved in Wheatland Music Organization’s Carry It On… Project where she was commissioned to choreograph two dance pieces under the mentorship of Sharon Leahy in honor of the festival’s 40th anniversary.

During the summer of 2014, she traveled to India to study Hatha Yoga at Rishikesh Yog Peeth and returned home to teach at the Jivaka Wellness Center in Elkins, WV. In 2014 – 2016 she co-directed the Davis & Elkins College Appalachian Ensemble, a touring student performance ensemble made up of a string band and percussive dance group. In 2014 & 2016, she was awarded a West Virginia Division of Culture and History Professional Development Grant to further her study of percussive dance.

Becky believes there is always more to learn and is dedicated to creating innovative choreography rooted in tradition. She hopes her work will bring people together and honor those that have inspired her.

Becky Hill
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Appalachian Singing​

With Elizabeth LaPrelle
ABOUT THE CLASS

In this workshop, we will learn and discuss techniques and tricks for Appalachian-style singing, including Old Regular or Primitive Baptist church singing, ballad singing, and a little bit of bluegrass. Elizabeth will bring some lyrics-sheets for practice, though we will spend more time on capturing phrasing, tone, and ornaments than on learning words. We will likely do some listening to recordings of different singers as well.

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR

Elizabeth Laprelle has pursued her interest in mountain ballads for over a decade. Since the release of her debut album at age 16, she’s been hailed as one of the most dedicated students of the traditional unaccompanied style of her generation. The student of master singer Ginny Hawker and National Heritage Fellow Sheila Kay Adams, Elizabeth was the first recipient of the Henry Reed Award from the Library of Congress at age 16, and won the 2012 Mike Seeger Award at Folk Alliance International. She has released three solo ballad albums, and was called “the best young Appalachian ballad singer to emerge in recent memory” by UK’s fRoots Magazine.

Elizabeth LaPrelle
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Music of Our Mountains

With Mac Traynham & Andy Buckman
INCLUDED IN ALL CLASSES

Returning this year, Mac Traynham and Andy Buckman will present Music of Our Mountains to all students at The Floyd Old Time Get Together. They will be bringing their expertise into each classroom during the course of the weekend.

Mac and Andy’s lectures introduce the old-time music and music masters of the Floyd, Virginia area who have influenced their playing. Field recordings, videos and other forms of recording will be listened to and discussed, helping students become acquainted with the distinctive features of the old-time music that evolved in Southwest Virginia. Students will be shown the basic techniques needed to play tunes in a way that inspires dancers to their feet. Students will be coached to play a few ‘local’ tunes with distinctive techniques.

While the fiddle and banjo are at the core of the local dance music, the role of other instruments including guitar, harmonica, mandolin and bass will be demonstrated and discussed. The influence of songs and singing as found in the secular and sacred music traditions of the Blue Ridge will be touched upon as well. We hope that students will gain a better understanding of the older ‘sound’ that is distinctive and still alive in this region.

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTORS

Mac Traynham is an accomplished fiddler and banjo player as well as a fine guitar player and singer. Influenced by well known and obscure musicians of the past, Mac has developed a hard-driving style of playing which keeps the rhythm going strongly and delights dancers! He teaches at numerous music camps and has won many ribbons from various Fiddler’s Conventions.

Andy Buckman has played clawhammer banjo and sung in church since childhood. He has performed and recorded with Mac and Jenny Traynham, the Reed Island Rounders, and the Wolfe Brothers, and has taught at numerous workshops. His music is rooted in the playing of Wade Ward, Abe Horton, and Harold Hausenfluck. Andy teaches both fretted and fretless banjo in traditional Blue Ridge clawhammer and thumb lead styles.

Mac Traynham and Andy Buckman
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