7/8/2011 - Shindig On The Green an event not to be missed
by Robin Tolleson for BlueRidgeNow.com
IF YOU'LL BE IN ASHEVILLE THIS WEEKEND, DON'T MISS "Shindig on the Green"!! Open air music, in the heart of Downtown Asheville! It doesn't get any better in Western North Carolina in the good ol' Summertime...!
Fans of acoustic roots music have choices near and far this weekend. Shindig On The Green has kicked off its Saturday night season in downtown Asheville's Pack Square Park.
The house band for Shindig On The Green for the last 38 years has been The Stoney Creek Boys.
"Good Lord willing, we'll all be out there again," says the group's leader, 78-year-old bassist Boyd Black. "It'll start at 7 o'clock and last until about 10."
Black reports that the group has been getting warmed up with some other gigs -- as if they need it. "Maybe we need to start sitting down to play," he laughs. "But so far we've been able to stand up." Black's bandmates include fiddler Arvil Freeman, guitarist Leonard Hollifield, and banjoist George Banks.
Don't expect a brand new repertoire from the Stoney Creek Boys. "People don't like new tunes, they like the old-timers," Black says. "That's part of it -- it keeps the old traditions active. So we'll be playing a bunch of the old traditional favorites.
"For square dancing, one of the oldest ones is 'Turkey In The Straw.' For clog dancers, one of their favorites is titled 'Little Liza Jane.' There's one place in there where we stop while they're dancing, and they dance for the next few beats without any music. That's why they like it so much. Then there's others like 'Old Joe Clark.' As the old fellow says, 'There's a whole hat full of tunes.'
"As far as singing is concerned, there's 'John Henry, The Steel-Driving Man,' that's an old-timer. And as far as tunes you can play, Mother Maybelle Carter's 'Wildwood Flower' is one the Carter Family recorded in 1927, and it's been a favorite all these years."
Shindig On The Green is a sign-up-on-the-spot affair, also known for its off-stage jam sessions. "We have some of the finest musicians in Western North Carolina that you'll find anywhere. We have lots of musicians who have gone on professionally and made real good," Black says.
"I invite people to come to our Shindig. They'll see a great variety of Western North Carolina musicians, both young and old.
"I've had the pleasure of seeing and playing for some of the best dancers in the whole world, and have had the pleasure of picking with, and listening to, some of the best musicians.
Shindig On The Green is a free event. "It's a good thing," Black continues. "It's comfortable to where people can just come as they are and sit and enjoy themselves. We have a street dance or two and people who like to dance get in, and it's a lot of fun for the kids. The kids cannot sit still.
"Originally Shindig On The Green was set up mainly to entertain the tourists. But the local people found out about it and liked it, and have supported it ever since it began.
And, I've talked to people vacationing here who had friends tell them, 'If you're ever in Asheville on a Saturday night, don't miss the Shindig On The Green.' "I think our traditional music and dancing has kind of helped put Asheville on the map," Black says.
Music fans who feel like making the beautiful drive towards Boone should check out "Music Fest 'n Sugar Grove" this weekend.
Historic Old Cove Creek School in Sugar Grove is host to a pretty amazing music lineup as well as the Doc And Merle Watson Folk Arts Museum on Friday and Saturday nights.
Twenty different acts are scheduled, highlighted by Doc and Richard Watson with Charles Welch, The Carolina Chocolate Drops, The Kruger Brothers, Shannon Whitworth, and, from Cove Creek, Amantha Mill. For information visit www.musicfestnsugargrove.org.
For information about Shindig On The Green visit www.folkheritage.org.