Music of Appalachia at the Theatre

Three gifted musicians and experts on the music of Appalachia will converge at The Theatre at Washington, Virginia for an 8 p.m. concert Saturday, Feb. 20.

Multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Jim Watson

Alan Jabbour, who plays the fiddle, will be coming from Washington D.C. to join banjoist Ken Perlman from Indiana. Both have played here on a number of occasions; for this concert they will be joined by Jim Watson of North Carolina, who will play guitar and mandolin and also provide vocals. Jim has been playing bass and singing with Robin and Linda Williams’s Fine Group since 1988.

Jabbour, Perlman and Watson bring a wealth of talent and experience in Appalachian folklore and music. Jabbour grew up playing violin but switched to oldtime fiddle after visiting and recording elderly fiddlers in North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia in the 1960’s. He taught the great repertory of tunes he was learning to the Hollow Rock String Band, whose music became a shaping force in the oldtime music revival.

Perlman learned banjo Southern style in the 1970’s and became a leading exponent of the melodic claw-hammer style. In later years he became interested in the music of Atlantic Canada and documented fiddling in Prince Edward Island, adapting the music he was learning to his claw-hammer banjo style. More recently, Jabbour is fond of saying, he lured Perlman back into Southern old-time music. He and Jabbour have toured extensively playing a mostly Appalachian repertory from Perlman’s fiddling mentors like Henry Reed.

Watson grew up in Durham, N.C., and was drawn into the musical circle that developed in Durham and Chapel Hill around the Hollow Rock String Band. In recent years, he has toured with Robin and Linda Williams as a stalwart in their Fine Group.

This concert’s new experiment in old-time music will include the classic old Virginia tunes left by Henry Reed and his contemporary fiddlers, the country rags of the 1900s and probably one or two tunes from Atlantic Canada and Great Britain.

Tickets for the Feb. 20 event are $20 for adults, $5 for those 17 and younger. Seating is reserved. For reservations, call 540-675-1253 or send email to TheatreVA@aol.com.

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