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Posts Tagged ‘Pete Seeger’

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Highlander Center View from Workshop Area

SERFA Holds 7th Annual Conference May 14 – 18  Black Mountain, NC

John McCutcheon to Keynote
The Highlander Research and Education Center to Be Honored

SERFA, The Southeast Regional Folk Alliance, is set to hold their seventh annual conference, with this being their fourth to be held at The Montreat Conference Center in Black Mountain, North Carolina May 14-18, 2014.

SERFA, one of five smaller regional conferences of the Folk Alliance International based in Kansas City, MO, is a gathering of roughly 200 + artists, venues and music industry people who come together for showcasing, education and special events in a community-based atmosphere.

A variety of workshops will be featured during the conference to both help the artist become better at their trade, while also learning more on how to promote their career, alongside instructional clinics and mentoring. A variety of showcasing opportunities for the artist are offered, with many venues and house-concert presenters in attendance.

This year also includes the inaugural award by Founding SERFA President Kari Estrin for “Outstanding Contributions to Music and Culture In the Southeast” which she will present to the Highlander Research and Education Center located in New Market, Tennessee. The Highlander Center serves as a catalyst for grassroots organizing and movement building in Appalachia and the U.S. South. But it is Highlander’s integration of music with social change that SERFA is acknowledging with Estrin’s award.

In the Civil Rights Era, not only did Rosa Parks receive training at Highlander before she gave up her seat on the bus, it was also where the song “We Shall Overcome” evolved and was disseminated. And when Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger made their cross-country trip together in the early ‘40’s, one of their first stops was The Highlander Center. Yet this is just the tip of the iceberg of Highlander’s role in combining music and song in order to help promote social change.

The Highlander Research and Education Center has changed the lives of those who have attended their workshops, training and education programs for over 80 years and in effect, many of our own lives because of those who have studied and participated there.

To highlight the recognition of The Highlander Research and Education Center, SERFA is proud to welcome John McCutcheon as their keynote speaker. McCutcheon has attended many gatherings at The Highlander Center to help create opportunities to use music for social change; has worked tirelessly in establishing Local 1000, the only union representing acoustic musicians as a group; and also has distinguished himself in the world of acoustic and Southern music for over 40 years with 36 recordings and several Grammy nominations. Pete Seeger said of McCutcheon, “John McCutcheon is not only one of the best musicians in the USA, but also a great singer, songwriter, and song leader. And not just incidentally, he is committed to helping hard-working people everywhere to organize and push this world in a better direction.”

The Keynote and Award Presentation will be held on Friday, 10:30 am at The Montreat Conference Center. To register for the conference or for more information, please go to www.serfa.org.

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Doc Watson Biography ‘Blind But Now I See’
by Kent Gustavson

A Definitive Biography of an American Icon

DocBookcover_KentG“A touching story about overcoming life’s obstacles…”
–Vintage Guitar Magazine

“Musicologists will appreciate the chapters on Doc’s singing style and guitar work… Music fans will delight in the book as a whole, a splendid recounting of Doc Watson as man whose ‘…approach to folk music on a guitar was like Horowitz’s approach to the piano…”
–Gary Presley, The Internet Review of Books

“This is a highly informative, fascinating biography of the great Doc Watson. What a life. It’s a page-turner that will keep you up past your bedtime. Don’t miss it.”
–The Inland Northwest Bluegrass Association

“This is a valuable, anecdotal work anyone interested in Doc’s music and life will enjoy reading.” –Bluegrass Unlimited

***   ***   ***

Award-winning author Kent Gustavson was born immersed in a rich musical heritage. As the son of peaceniks, he grew up with family sing-alongs. From Pete Seeger, Joan Baez, and Bob Dylan, he darted to classical, jazz, and avant-garde jazz, before circling back to the Greenwich Village folk canon and tracing that music back. In singer-guitarist Doc Watson, Gustavson found a treasure of American music. His biography of Watson, Blind But Now I See (Sumach-Red Books) is the definitive biography of an American icon.

KentWithDocBook23664The Tulsa, Oklahoma-based author is uniquely qualified to write a book that merges myth, musicology, and American history. He holds a PhD in classical composition from Stony Brook University in New York, where he taught leadership, writing, literature, music and German for ten years. He’s an active musician with 14 critically acclaimed albums, and his music has been featured on National Public Radio’s All Songs Considered. He also hosts a radio show, Sound Authors, where he has interviewed hundreds of award-winning authors and musicians.

Blind But Now I See is the first comprehensive biography of Doc Watson. It was written over 6 years, culled from meticulous archival research and well over a hundred interviews. The book brims with insights from such legendary musicians as Bela Fleck, Ben Harper, David Grisman, David Moultrup, Jerry Douglas, Jonathan Byrd, Marty Stuart, Michelle Shocked, Mike Seeger, Norman Blake, Ricky Skaggs, Tommy Emmanuel, Tony Rice, Tony Trischka, and Warren Haynes, among many others. It is a winner of a Next Generation Indie Book Award, and finalist in the Foreword Book of the Year Awards. The book has sold 5,000 paperbacks and 25,000 e-books. Vintage Guitar Magazine praises it as: “A touching story about overcoming life’s obstacles.” Blind But Now I See is now available in its expanded second printing, with a third and even more expansive edition already in the works.

Doc23447Two-time Grammy Award winner Ben Harper says in his Blind But Now I See interview: “There was a sense of grace, effortlessness, and fluidity to Doc Watson’s musicianship and singing that is nothing short of miraculous.”

Watson’s influence has been recognized by presidents and by heroes of modern music such as Bob Dylan, Jerry Garcia, Ben Harper, Robert Plant, and Gillian Welch, but little is known about his personal life, his complex relationship with his son, Merle, his mythical rise to prominence, and his awe-inspiring musicality. Watson was a blind boy from the small town of Deep Gap, North Carolina who grew up in the Depression, then lived in abject poverty until being brought into the 1960s folk scene. For over 52 years, Watson mesmerized bluegrass, folk, and rock audiences with his soft baritone and fiery guitar licks

Gustavson’s congenial but probingly insightful interview skills help piece together a powerful and honest character mosaic. His vibrant, erudite, and enthusiastic prose demystifies Watson’s astounding musicality and dissects the paradoxes and complexities of the man with bold sensitivity.

DocandFreindJOhn23444In an interview with esteemed alt-country publication No Depression Gustavson said: “I stumbled across a copy of The Watson Family by Folkways records. Watson’s voice was so rock-solid in those family hymns that I still sing the bass part today, because it’s stronger in my mind than the melody! He pointed me towards the blues, early rock and roll, traditional Appalachian fiddle music, and balladry. He literally started a brush fire in my musical mind.”

In 2004 Gustavson began writing Blind But Now I See, and nearly 10 years later and three editions in he’s emerged an authority on the enigmatic icon. He told No Depression: “Countless close friends and family members of Doc have come to me over the past two years and thanked me for writing this biography, and for really framing the reality surrounding his life.” Besides the plaudits from insiders, the biggest reward is bringing this journey back home. “In the new edition I finally got a chance to speak to Pete Seeger,” Gustavson says. “I called my parents and told them ‘Pete Seeger just spoke to me!’ What an honor.”

Biography Written By: Lorne Behrman

www.kentgustavson.com

Great review by Professor Puppet

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