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Handsome Molly performs at Jones House

By Frank Ruggiero (

Article Published: Mar. 12 | Modified: Mar. 19
Handsome Molly performs at Jones House

Comprised of vocalist Kelly Kennedy, violinist Andy Cleveland, flutist Rachael Blake and guitarist Craig DuBose, Handsome Molly will perform March 18 at the Jones House.

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“Sailing around the ocean, sailing around the sea, I’d think of Handsome Molly, wherever she might be.”

In this instance, she’ll be at the Jones House next Tuesday.

But unlike the lyrics to this traditional folk song, Handsome Molly isn’t so much a “she” as a “they.”

Comprised of vocalist Kelly Kennedy, violinist Andy Cleveland, flutist Rachael Blake and guitarist Craig DuBose, this Virginia-based quartet performs a variety of traditional tunes from Ireland, Scotland and England, and it’ll be bringing its signature sound to Boone March 18.

“We are very excited to have Handsome Molly join us for the indoor concert series at the Jones House,” concert organizer Mark Freed said. “Craig DuBose is a good friend of the traditional music community here in Boone, and as an annual traveler to Scotland, he has shared his passion for traditional Celtic music for many years.”

Although he now calls Charlottesville, Va., home, DuBose lived in Boone many years ago and is longtime friends with local musical luminary Cecil Gurganus.

“I’ve known Cecil since I was 9 years old, and we’ve been friends forever,” DuBose said, “so I’ve played old-time music with Cecil for years. So, I came from that direction, always being interested in traditional music.”

And as it goes in music, one note leads to another.

“Playing old-time kind of leads you into Irish music, because that’s sort of its origin,” DuBose said.

DuBose’s bandmates came to Old World music under similar circumstances. Flutist Blake comes from a classical music background, with that having led to Irish flute, DuBose said, while vocalist Kennedy has always had a flair for performance, including theater. Cleveland hails from Yorskshire, England, where he grew up in a musical family.

“So, you know, he was sort of surrounded by it when he was growing up,” DuBose said. “So, it’s just kind of a hodgepodge of interests that brings us all together … and it seems to work.”

The four had performed together in years past, but only formed Handsome Molly about three years back.

“All of us have been playing, at least, 30 to 40 years apiece and in all sorts of other groups and other kinds of music,” DuBose said. “But you’re never too old to learn, and I’m always learning stuff.”
And while he’s never played a concert in the Jones House, he’s no stranger to its intimate setting, having been a regular player at the Thursday night jam sessions.

This newly minted indoor concert series takes full advantage of that setting, Freed said, with performances taking place in the Mazie Jones Gallery, allowing audiences an up close and personal experience with the performers.

“Those kinds of venues are what we really like best, being able to sit and play acoustically,” DuBose said. “Playing to a smaller group in a more intimate, acoustic setting is where we always seem to perform the best, when we’re actually closer to the audience, which, to me, is traditional music in its own element. Traditional music on a big festival stage? There’s an element that’s just missing, a really important element, and that’s the connection with the audience.”

Handsome Molly will perform at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 18, at the Jones House Cultural and Community Center, located at 604 W. King St. in downtown Boone. Limited, reserved seating is $20. To reserve a seat, or for more information, call the Jones House at (828) 262-4576, or email (

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