Get acquainted with some of the performers at this year's Folk Alliance
at a Public Showcase held in the Center for Southern Folklore's
intimate Folklore Store on Friday, February 20 and Saturday February 21
at 8:00 p.m. These Public Showcases are free although it's
suggested that you bring a donation of two non-perishable food items
for the Memphis Food Bank. All ages welcome. The Center for Southern
Folklore Store is located at 123 S. Main Street @ the Peabody Place
Trolley Stop in the heart of downtown Memphis.
Friday's show features Stacey Earle & Mark Stuart, Act of Congress and Deering & Down.
Saturday, New York City's legendary African American String Band, The
Ebony Hillbillies, will perform as well as Valerie June and Andy Cohen.
Saturday, February 21
Ebony Hillbillies are not only one of the last black string bands in
America, they are the only string band based in NYC. Consisting of
fiddle, banjo, washboard and bass fiddle, they have successfully
created a following that has crossed over to audiences in pop, country,
bluegrass, folk, jazz and beyond while maintaining their grassroots
credibility. Their 19th century string band sound was popular in the
1920's and 1930's; and was a key element in the genesis of jazz and
virtually everything after (blues, bluegrass, rockabilly, rock &
roll, etc...). The Ebony Hillbillies' own extant CDs, 'Sabrina's
Holiday', 'EH Sessions Vol.1 & 2', and 'I Thought You Knew' provide
a great introduction to a largely forgotten cultural legacy. http://www.joespub.com/component/option,com_shows/task,view/Itemid,40/id,3910.
Magazine said it best. "Valerie June blends folk, soul, and even
ancient country elements and has emerged as one of the scene's best
kept secrets." With a wealth of diverse influences ranging from Tracy
Chapman to Elizabeth Cotton to Gillian Welch and the Carter Family,
Valerie has crafted her own sound which she calls "Original Organic
Moonshine Folk Music." http://www.myspace.com/valeriejune .
Cohen grew up in a house with a piano and a lot of Dixieland Jazz
records. Around the age of fifteen, he got bitten by the Folk Music
bug, and soon got to hear records by Big Bill Broonzy and the Jim
Kweskin Jug Band, both of which reminded him of the music he grew up
with. At sixteen, he saw Rev. Gary Davis, and his course was set. He
knew he had it in him to follow, study, perform and promote the music
of the Southeast. http://www.andycohenmusic.net/bio.html .
Friday, February 20
Earle and Mark Stuart began performing together again in 2008 after a
three year hiatus. Stacey and Mark are veteran musicians, both as solo
artists and band members (including a stint with Steve Earle and the
Dukes). However, it's their work as a duo with a no-nonsense, back to
basics approach to acoustic music that has earned them recognition and
an enthusiastic audience. Their latest recording is "Town Square" on
Gearle Records. http://www.staceyandmark.com/Duo%20Home/DuoHome.htm .
Birmingham band Act of Congress is an acoustic blend of bluegrass, rock and jazz -- a style often referred to as Newgrass.
Because of their musical diversity (symphony, jazz and bluegrass
musicians) they have been a favorite at Birmingham venues such as
Workplay and B&A Warehouse, as well as high profile weddings,
festivals, and corporate events over the last two years. http://www.wbhm.org/Tapestry/bands/ActofCongress.html .
Lahna Deering and Rev Neil Down combine sturdy, sweet female vocals
with clang-and-twang guitar textures. One can imagine the rich vocals,
reminiscent of Fleetwood Mac's Stevie Nicks and Margo Timmins of the
"Cowboy Junkies," paired with classic strings of Ike Turner, Keith
Richards, and Hubert Sumlin. During their musical and personal journey
together, they have lived in far flung locations from Alaska to
Baltimore to Ireland. The last couple of years have found Deering and
Down immersed in the blues of Memphis and the muddy browns of the
Mighty Mississippi River. http://deeringanddown.com/biography .