Article Published: Aug. 1 | Modified: Aug. 3
The town of Boone continues the 2013 Concerts at the Jones House with a special extended performance Friday, Aug. 2, in conjunction with the First Friday Downtown Boone Art Crawl.
Cowboy poet Keith Ward will begin the free concert at 5 p.m., bringing a mix of original and classic cowboy poetry.
“Keith Ward is amazing,” said Mark Freed, Boone’s cultural resources coordinator and concert organizer. “Last year, he was on the porch for about 25 minutes, and he was reciting poetry from memory for at least 20 of those minutes.”
Ward has been writing poetry since childhood, and he attended his first open mic poetry gathering in 2008. Since then, Ward has continued writing and performing, though usually on the other side of the Mississippi.
“My only connection to the West as a boy were those old TV Westerns,” Ward recalls in the introduction to his poem, “My Heart Beats Free.”
Ward brings the spirit of the West to his life as a horse trail guide and through his poetry, which he will share on Friday.
The Elkville String Band will follow Ward, bringing together some of the region’s foremost tradition bearers of local and regional old-time music, song and lore.
Elkville String Band includes Herb Key on guitar and Bill Williams on bass, both from Wilkes County; Jim Lloyd from Rural Retreat, Va.; and Trevor McKenzie from Boone.
Key and Williams started the band more than 10 years ago as the house band for Wilkes County’s “Tom Dula” drama. The group included legendary Wilkes County fiddler and mandolin player Drake Walsh.
“These fellas know more about the folk songs and musical traditions of this area than most, and they bring passion and a sense of importance in these traditions to their performances,” Freed said. “And I never get tired of hearing Herb Key sing ‘Otto Wood the Bandit.’”
The Elkville String Band and its individual members are included in the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area’s Traditional Artist Directory, and Key is featured in the recently reissued Blue Ridge Music Trails guidebook.
The evening will conclude with a performance by The Barefoot Movement, an old-time string band made up of graduates of the East Tennessee State University bluegrass and old-time music program.
“We are excited to have The Barefoot Movement to the Jones House for the first time,” Freed said. “I hear nothing but good reviews of their recordings and performances.”
The group consists of core trio, Noah Wall, Tommy Norris and Haselden Ciaccio. The band draws inspiration from American roots and old-time music to create new, original music inspired by those traditions.
Using fiddle, mandolin and bass, the band brings a fresh sound to those traditions. The band is gaining acclaim for its newest recording, “Figures of the Year,” which was released earlier this year.
In addition to the concerts, the Jones House will be holding a reception for new art work, including a group exhibit celebrating the Daniel Boone Native Gardens.
The Aug. 2 concert is also being sponsored by Rennie and Lana Brantz and John and Bettie Bond.
The free concerts take place every Friday, starting at 5 p.m., rain or shine. People are encouraged to bring their own chair or blanket. For more information, including a complete schedule, visit http://www.joneshousecommunitycenter.org
or call (828) 262-4576.