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Clinch Mountain Music Fest Saturday at Carter Family Fold

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New Ballard's Branchy BogtrottersHiltons, VA -- Clinch Mountain Music Fest is ready for its 11th annual celebration of mountain music in Scott County, Virginia, on Saturday, June 18, 2016. The goal of Clinch Mountain Music Fest is to preserve and perpetuate the heritage of the Appalachian region through its’ music. Admission to the festival’s concerts is $10 for adults, $2 for children 6-11, and under 6 free. Doors at the Carter Fold open at 5 p.m., and the show kicks off a bit early at 7:00 p.m. – 30 minutes earlier than our normal start time.

This year’s festival is once again dedicated to Jay Dixon who chaired the festival for five years and passed away in January of 2012. Jay was born in Scott County, but he left the area to further his education and pursue his career. We’re especially excited that one of our main sponsors – RACE 1 – the Regional Adult & Career Education Program – is closely linked to Jay and the beginning of his successful career. Jay was himself a GED recipient. He went on to receive multiple degrees, write textbooks for West Point, and serve as a consultant to the U.S. Military. Passing up a chance to be the Under Secretary of Defense, he chose instead to come back to his native Scott County, establish the Southwest Virginia Community Foundation and Clinch Mountain Music Fest, and to take on the monumental task of refurbishing Bush’s Mill in Nickelsville, Virginia.

The Southwest Virginia Community Foundation continues to flourish under the guidance of Jay’s beautiful wife, Carol. After his death, she completed the work he had begun on Bush’s Mill. Jay was, in fact, born near Bush’s Mill and remembered seeing the mill operate as a child. As Jay requested, Clinch Mountain Music Fest was entrusted to the Carter Fold. Headlining the festival and featured at the Carter Family Fold at 7:00 p.m. are two of the area’s best old time bands – the New Ballards Branch Bogtrotters and the Empty Bottle String Band. Expect an evening of traditional Appalachian style music and fun!

The New Ballard’s Branch Bogtrotters took their group’s name from the original Bogtrotters, the famous Galax, Virginia, area band of the 1930s, and because band leader Dennis Hall actually lives on Ballard’s Branch. Galax is home to the world-renowned Old Time Fiddler’s Convention, and the area has traditionally produced

some of the country’s finest old time string bands. Carrying on that rich musical tradition, the New Ballard’s Branch Bogtrotters features Dennis Hall on guitar, Eddie Bond on fiddle, Josh Ellis on banjo, Dallas Hall on mandolin, and Bonnie Bond on bass. The Bogtrotters have been a group for over fifteen years.

Eddie Bond’s four great grandfathers were old time banjo players. He was raised by his grandmother who was a singer and guitar player. His family on both sides is packed with musicians who played the traditional music of the Blue Ridge. Eddie began performing at age 3 dancing for quarters. Through the years, he’s added guitar, autoharp, fiddle, and banjo to the list of instruments he plays. He grew up in Fries where some of the first old time music had its beginnings at the Washington Cotton Mill from 1923 to 1929. Fries is about six miles from Galax.

Dennis Hall is a grand nephew of Uncle Eck Dunford – the droll voiced fiddler and spokesman for the original Bogtrotters. Their dance band was recorded by Alan Lomax in the 1930’s. Lomax left a trove of important recordings by the Bogtrotters and others at the Library of Congress. Uncle Eck was very conscious of his Ulster Irish background and his name. The Bogtrotter heritage is closely tied to that of Eck Dunford. Dennis is noted among old time musicians for his unerring and rock-solid guitar. He is the keeper of a rich score of older, historic music.

Josh Ellis was a Clapton-style rock and roll guitar player when he came to Galax, but all that changed when he picked up a banjo. Like the other Bogtrotters, Josh is very passionate about timing. The banjo and fiddle are the original string band created by Virginia slave musicians in the early colonial period. Keeping with that tradition, Josh works closely with Eddie to adhere to that ancient musical combination.

The group won the old-time band competition at the Galax Fiddler’s Convention on six different occasions. In addition, they have played their music at such regional and national festivals as the Blue Ridge Folklife Festival, Merlefest, the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, and the University of Chicago Festival. Having performed many times at the Fold, they’re a favorite of Carter Fold audiences. This group covers it all – great fiddle and dance tunes, outstanding

vocals and harmony, beautiful gospel numbers, waltz tunes, and some of the finest instrumentals you’ll ever hear. For more information, check out the Bogtrotters on Myspace, Facebook, and Youtube. You can also go to their web site www.newballardsbranchbogtrotters.com/.

The Empty Bottle String Band will also be featured. The Bottles are made up of Stephanie Jeter on autoharp, bass and vocals; Kristal Harman on guitar and vocals; Tyler Hughes on banjo, banjo uke, and vocals; and Ryan Nickerson on fiddle and mandolin. The band has become a favorite at festivals and venues throughout the southeast region and one of East Tennessee’s most popular old time groups.

The Empty Bottle String Band specializes in playing old-fashioned, toe-tapping, highly danceable, traditional Appalachian music. They are known for their upbeat fiddle tunes and feel-good music, with the occasional murder ballad thrown in for good measure. Their impressive stage presence is coupled with a delightfully self-effacing strength and confidence in their music. Their sound is inventive, while still staying close to the old time string band tradition of the 1930s. The Bottles promote the close connection between old time string band music and traditional dance, frequently playing for contra dances and square dances. All the band’s members have performed previously at the Fold with various groups connected with the ETSU Bluegrass and Old Time program – so they know just what keeps our audiences happy. For more information on the band, visit their website www.emptybottlestringband.com or find them on Facebook.

Thank you to our sponsors RACE 1 – Regional Adult & Career Education Program for Wise County Schools in Gate City, Virginia; the Scott County Virginia Star; the Kingsport Times News; Bryant Label Company; the Appalachian Cultural Music Association; the National Endowment for the Arts; and the Virginia Commission for the Arts. For information on Clinch Mountain Music Fest 2016, go to the Carter Music Center web site or the Clinch Mountain Music Fest web site: www.clinchfest.net.

Carter Family Memorial Music Center, Incorporated, is a nonprofit, rural arts organization established to preserve traditional, acoustic, mountain music. For further information on the center, go to http://www.carterfamilyfold.org. Shows from the Carter Family Fold can be accessed on the internet at http://www.carterfoldshow.com. Partial funding for programs at the center is provided by the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. For recorded information on shows coming up at the Fold, call 276-386-6054. The Fold is on Facebook – page Carter Fold – and Twitter – @carterfoldinfo.

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