Jones House concerts start June 6
• June 6 – Soul Benefactor & Spice Creek Ramblers
• June 13 – Mercury Dames & Swing Guitars
• June 20 – Doc Watson Celebration, featuring Elkville String Band, Charles Welch and Rich Kirby, Strictly Clean and Decent and The Kruger Brothers
• June 27 – Redleg Husky & The Monroebots
• July 4 – Downtown Boone Fourth of July Parade, Fat Face Band, Liz Hayes and Common Threads
• July 11 – Buck Haggard Band & The Buck Stops Here
• July 18 – Andy Ferrell and Oncoming Train & Carolina Crossing
• July 25 – Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer & Kelley and the Cowboys
• Aug. 1 – Amantha Mill & Jazz Guitar Duo
• Aug. 8 – Never Too Late Bluegrass & Williams and Company
• Aug. 15 – Shane Chalke’s BE Jazz Band & Todd Wright
• Aug. 22 – Steve Katz
• Aug. 29 – David Childers & Dashboard Hula Boys
• Sept. 5 – The Lazybirds & Sound Traveler
• Sept. 12 – Traditional Music Showcase, featuring Glenn Bolick, Orville Hicks, Charlie Glenn, Rick Ward, Lonnie Ward, Trevor McKenzie, Mary Greene, Cecil Gurganus and Strictly Strings
The sounds of summer are returning to downtown Boone next Friday.
On June 6, the town of Boone’s Jones House Community Center kicks off its annual Summer Concerts at the Jones House series, with performances from Soul Benefactor and Spice Creek Ramblers.
Featuring 15 concerts and 38 performing acts, the series takes place every Friday from June 6 through Sept. 12 on the lawn of the Jones House in downtown Boone. Musicians take the porch, and audience members take the lawn, bringing chairs, blankets and fellowship aplenty. There is no admission cost.
Plus, this year’s series is tuning up to be one of the best, organizer Mark Freed said. An improved sound system will be in place, and the porch railing that previously separated the performers from the audience has been removed.
“So, it’s more of a stage,” Freed said. “We do our best to make (the series) a really good listening and musical experience for both the audience and musicians, and I think it’s a reason we get quality bands to come back year after year and how we get new folks to come.”
Furthermore, Summer Concerts at the Jones House are concerts, first and foremost.
“Here, people come to listen to music,” Freed said. “When you get to the heart of the crowd and the front of the stage, it’s a quality experience for live music. I think that’s what makes us stand apart. We really work to make the production of the performance take precedence and make it an enjoyable live music experience for everybody.”
This summer promises plenty to enjoy. While audiences will recognize some Jones House staples, the 2014 season brings in 11 acts that have never set foot on the musical porch. Familiar favorites include Soul Benefactor, The Lazybirds, Amantha Mill, Todd Wright, Andy Page, Dashboard Hula Boys, Swing Guitars, Mercury Dames, Shane Chalke’s BE Jazz Band, David Childers, Buck Haggard Band, Carolina Crossing and Sound Traveler, while newcomers include Spice Creek Ramblers, Redleg Husky, The Monroebots, Fat Face Band, The Buck Stops Here, Andy Ferrell and Oncoming Train, Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer, Kelley and the Cowboys, Jazz Guitar Duo, Never Too Late Bluegrass, Strictly Strings and Steve Katz, formerly of Blood, Sweat and Tears.
“Steve Katz performing is kind of a unique opportunity,” Freed said. “We got in touch with his promoter after learning he’d be coming through the area. He was a member of Blood, Sweat and Tears and produced a couple of Lou Reed albums and has just been around the rock ’n’ roll and blues scenes for a long time.”
Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer were another welcome surprise.
“(They) are some exciting performers who’ve been involved in the folk music scene since the ’60s, and they’re just a really dynamic duo who’ve played with so many different people over the years,” Freed said. “They bought some land in Ashe County and are spending some of their time there, so this marked an opportunity for us to get someone who normally might not be on our radar for this sort of concert series. But Cathy got in touch when they were moving to the area, saying she wanted to get involved with the local scene.”
The local scene also takes the limelight every first Friday of the month, with the Downtown Boone Art Crawl. On art crawl nights, Freed said concertgoers can enjoy the indoor art reception and exhibits, as the evening’s second act performs an acoustic set in the Jones House parlor.
“They can start their set in the parlor or end it on the lawn,” he said. “It’ll be a nice way to sort of simmer things down to invite people in for the receptions, but still keep it festive and lively.”
The June 6 show, which will take place during a First Friday Art Crawl, will feature performances from Soul Benefactor and Spice Creek Ramblers.
“Soul Benefactor in and of themselves are fun,” Freed said. “It’ll be good for a First Friday — good dance music, tunes people are familiar with. This band is what you get when you take a bunch of veteran, multi-instrumentalist musicians and put them together to play the music they love that inspired them.”
Summer Concerts at the Jones House run from 5 to 8 p.m. Fridays, with the exception of the Doc Watson Celebration (June 20), Fourth of July Celebration (July 4) and Traditional Music Showcase (Sept. 12), all of which will start earlier to accommodate the large volume of performers and festive occasions, Freed said.
“There really aren’t any weak links in this year’s schedule,” Freed said. “It gives locals the opportunity to hear some of these regional groups they haven’t heard before and local folks the opportunity to come in and be a part of it.”
The Jones House Community Center is located at 604 W. King St. in downtown Boone. For more information, visit http://www.joneshousecommunitycenter.org, or call (828) 268-6280.