Asheville, NC — A large group of friends has come together in the bluegrass and acoustic music scene in the area to help our good buddy, Billy Constable, raise funds to offset his medical expenses for a brain tumor that he was recently diagnosed with. The Grey Eagle is hosting the event on Sunday, December 11, 2011. The doors open at 6pm, donations will be accepted, and there will also be a silent auction. Bands performing are Big Daddy Bluegrass Band, Asheville Bluegrass Collective (featuring: members of Steep Canyon Rangers, Larry Keel & Natural Bridge and Town Mountain), Jason Burleson and the Bluegrass Buddies, and Nikki Talley.
Travers Chandler writes in Bluegrass Today, “Anyone familiar with the acoustic music scene of Western NC, or with the music of the legendary Charlie Moore, is no stranger to Billy Constable. In fact, I am not certain Billy encountered many strangers. He is a friend to many people, and to those of us fortunate to know him well, even a great mentor.”
Billy has been diagnosed with a lump on the lower portion of his brain which has been causing increasingly frequent seizures. He is currently seeing medical specialists and gathering evaluations. The expense is certain to be high, and Billy is without medical insurance. We are coming together here, as friends and fellow musicians, to help offset those costs.
Billy Constable grew up in a very musical family in Avery County, and he has been playing music for most of his life. Billy is part of Avery County’s Wiseman family, which includes a number of professional musicians including Scotty Wiseman, Lawrence Wiseman, David Wiseman, Fiddling Jimmy Wiseman, banjo picker Kent Wiseman, and Billy’s mother, Lois.
Billy began playing guitar professionally as a youngster with bluegrass great Charlie Moore, who had married Billy’s mother. He also played in Douglas Dillard’s newly formed “post Dillards” bluegrass band The Doug Dillard Band from Hollywood, which also featured Byron Berline and occasional guests like Vassar Clements and Sam Bush.
After touring with The Doug Dillard Band, Billy took a break from the road in order to work on his banjo skills while playing in a family’s band, The Constables, who were living in California at the time. He later had the opportunity to tour with two more bluegrass greats, Kenny Baker, a veteran fiddler from Bill Monroe’s Bluegrass Boys, and Josh Graves, a long time Dobro player with Flatt & Scruggs’ Foggy Mountain Boys.
Billy’s approach to the banjo is firmly rooted in Appalachian string music, but it can be deceptively eclectic. His influences begin at home and with his family, but Billy’s repertoire is vast, and he is comfortable in most musical situations. In addition to banjo, Billy is also an accomplished musician on the guitar, mandolin and violin.
In recent years, Billy has carried his banjo into more jam-oriented groups such as Acoustic Forum from New York and New England’s Max Creek. He toured extensively and recorded with Hypnotic Clambake and The Larry Keel Experience. Billy has appeared on many shows with Leftover Salmon, and he was also a featured guest on a handful of String Cheese Incident shows and one of their recent albums “Carnival 99.” Billy also played with the seasonal Big Daddy Bluegrass Band with Steve McMurray, Curtis Burch and Larry Keel.
For more information about Billy Constable and for updates on his medical situation, please visit: www.billyconstable.com and the FaceBook Event.
If people would prefer to mail a donation, please mail to:
155 St James Place
Buffalo NY 14222
Big Daddy Bluegrass Band- The Big Daddy Bluegrass Band rides again! It has been five long years since the BDBB has taken the stage. They make their return on February 11th at the Visulite Theater in Charlotte, NC, for the debut of the new lineup which features some of the premier acoustic musicians working today. Steve “Big Daddy” McMurry, front man and founding member of Acoustic Syndicate, returns to the world of bluegrass music with a formidable arsenal of hot, young pickers. Jason Flournoy, formerly of Larry Keel & Natural Bridge / Shanti Groove, is highly respected in all genres of music across the nation. Jay Sanders is the long time bass man for Acoustic Syndicate and former with Donna The Buffalo. He is one of the hardest working and most exciting upright bass men on the East coast. Producer, engineer and dobro virtuoso, Billy Cardine, formerly of The Biscuit Burners, is one of Jerry Douglass’ favorite new dobro men. He has shared the stage with Edgar Meyer at Carnegie Hall and his recordings are featured on the BBC, PBS and the History Channel. Robert Greer, front man of Asheville bluegrass band Town Mountain, will also be joining the band adding harmonizing vocals, guitar, and his charismatic stage presenc
Asheville Bluegrass Collective- The Asheville Bluegrass Collective is a super-group of Asheville’s finest bluegrass musicians. The pickers include: Jon Stickley and Robert Greer (Town Mountain), Mark Schimick (Larry Keel and Natural Bridge), Charles Humphrey (Steep Canyon Rangers), Jason Flournoy, and many more special guests! Look out for some solid Asheville style Bluegrass!
Jason Burleson – The original banjo player with Blue Highway, Jason is a native of Newland, North Carolina. A talented multi-instrumentalist, he brings all-around musicianship to the group, not the least of which is his distinctive, rock-solid banjo style. Writing for the Memphis Area Bluegrass Association,Betty Westmoreland observed about Jason and his habit of saying very little onstage: “His banjo does the talking, as is true of most superb performers. From Newland, NC, in Avery County, Burleson is part of that fine crop of North Carolina banjo players. There must be something about the air, or water, or the soil in that part of the country—so many fine banjo players seem to come out of those hills.”
Jason’s instrumental compositions form an integral part of the Blue Highway repertoire, including “The North Cove” ( Through the Window of a Train), hailed by one critic as “a burning instrumental with a sinuous melody” that offers “more to chew on than just the whiz-bang pyrotechnics of many modern bluegrass instrumentals” (Smoky Mountain News). Jason also anchors the group’s quartets with his bass vocals. A jazz devotee, Jason’s talent hasn’t been fully revealed yet to the bluegrass community and gives Blue Highway unlimited options for the future.
Jason will be leading a virtuosic group of bluegrass musicians featuring everyone’s favorite bluegrass buddy, David Via.
David Via’s songs come from being raised and living up in the Blue Ridge mountains of Patrick County, Virginia. Via (as most folks call him – that’s pronounced Vi and rhymes with sky) is a well-known figure in bluegrass/newgrass circles with twenty-some odd years of singing and songwriting.
Via first performed Americana/Bluegrass with The Bluegrass Buddies with Alan Bibey and Ronnie Bowman. Over the years, Via has played in a lot of lineups and with a lot of great pickers: the newgrass In Sync – Jody King, James Donchez, Kim Gardiner, and Alan Purdue, the Dan River Revue – Wyatt Rice, Tommy Morse, Tim Jefferson, and Pete Ross. Via has joined the stage with Vassar Clemmens, Sammy Shelor, Ronnie Bowman, Tony Rice, and John Cowan. He currently teams up with two-time grammy winner Curtis Burch to perform more intimate shows and highlights his original material with award-winning musician friends who spin David Via & Corn Tornado.
Nikki Talley- Hardworking, energetic, mountain girl with a big voice…these could all describe Nikki Talley. Raised in North Carolina and hailing from Asheville, it’s only fitting that her music is as eclectic as the state that boasts the mountains and the sea. Trying to pin down Nikki’s style, critics and reviewers alike have compared her to an early Liz Phair and Gillian Welch, but to leave the comparisons there would be doing a disservice to her fiery stage performance, hauntingly seductive and raw gritty lyrics, lifted by a voice that harkens back to the Appalachian roots from which she was born, and shores up on the edges of contemporary southern rock, country, blues, and jazz that has her audiences stomping and clapping for more.
Show Details at a Glance:
Benefit for Billy Constable
Sunday, December 11, 2011
The Grey Eagle
185 Clingman Avenue
Asheville, NC 28801
$10 Suggested donation
Bands: Big Daddy Bluegrass Band, Asheville Blue Grass Collective (featuring: members of Steep Canyon Rangers, Larry Keel & Natural Bridge and Town Mountain), Jason Burleson and the Blue Grass Buddies, and Nikki Talley.
The doors open at 6pm silent auction will close at 9pm.