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PineCone Presents The Gathering: A Holiday Concert

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Joe Newberry, Rhiannon Giddens, Laurelyn Dossett, Mike Compton, Jason SypherGorgeous voices and crystalline harmonies backed by an all-star string-band, The Gathering breathes new life into traditional Christmas music and features new songs of the season. Americana music talents Rhiannon Giddens (Carolina Chocolate Drops), Laurelyn Dossett (Polecat Creek), Mike Compton (Nashville Bluegrass Band), Joe Newberry (Big Medicine) and Jason Sypher share a night of music as lively and eclectic as any good family gathering, from high-energy hoedowns to heartfelt remembrances of holidays at home. You can still reserve seats to experience this unique collaboration this holiday season!

The Gathering project began when the North Carolina Symphony commissioned Dossett to write a holiday song cycle for voice, string band, and symphony. Dossett, an NC native, has performed on stages from Merlefest to Prairie Home Companion and has written the music for four published plays featuring regional folklore and traditional music. Her song "Anna Lee" was featured on Levon Helm's Grammy-winning record, Dirt Farmer, and it is also on the Grammy-nominated 2011 CD and DVD release of Helm's Ramble at the Ryman. Her song "Leaving Eden" is the title track on the latest release by the Carolina Chocolate Drops.

Reviewers across the country took note of The Gathering. The Wall Street Journal featured the project as one of six holiday albums worth picking up last year, writing: "Five established folk-roots artists gathered in a Greensboro, N.C., house to record this unusual album. The first six songs by ... Dossett were commissioned by the North Carolina Symphony and tell the tale of a wandering daughter's return to her family home on a winter's night. ... What the season must have sounded like before shopping and Irving Berlin." The project has been included on the 2012 Grammy ballot for Best Folk Album!

A versatile vocalist and instrumentalist, Giddens plays a variety of music styles, including Celtic, jazz, Appalachian ballads, opera, and more. She studied voice at Oberlin, where she performed in five operas and three main roles. Giddens has multiple side projects, including “Keep a Song in Your Soul,” a theatre piece about the black roots of vaudeville.

Compton, a master of Monroe-style mandolin, is best known for his work with the Grammy-winning Nashville Bluegrass Band. He has also received Grammy acknowledgement for Album of the Year and Best Compilation Soundtrack Album, playing the mandolin on the soundtrack for O Brother, Where Art Thou?, and Best Traditional Folk Album for Down From the Mountain. Besides his gorgeous and innovative mandolin playing, Compton adds his distinctive vocals to many of The Gathering songs.

Newberry has played music most of his life. Best known for his powerful, innovative banjo playing, he is also a prizewinning guitarist, fiddler, singer, and songwrtier. He plays in a duo with Compton, and with string bands Jumpsteady Boys and Big Medicine. A master songwriter, his songs “Jericho” and “Singing As We Rise” both made the Bluegrass Charts for The Gibson Brothers; “Singing As We Rise” also won IBMA’s Gospel Recorded Performance of the Year at the 2012 IBMA Awards. Newberry contributes several original holiday songs to The Gathering.

Sypher is an innovative interpreter of numerous folk and jazz idioms. His and Giddens’ bass/vocal duet version of “O Holy Night” made USA TODAY’s Top 10 holiday recordings of 2011. An insatiable appetite for new music led him to NC’s Appalachian mountains, where he sought out the fiddlers who were still alive playing the powerful, archaic blues-drenched old-time music of the region. He currently tours with the Grammy winning vocalist Susan McKeown.

Tickets for this concert are available via PineCone box office by phone at 919-664-8302, online via, or in person at the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts. The concert is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 15 at 8 p.m. Learn more: or visit The Gathering at

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