Published 1:02 pm Monday, April 6, 2009
Festival’s ‘old-time’ music enlivens downtown
By MIKE VOSS
All that pickin’ and grinnin’ would make the cast of “Hee Haw” proud.
From bluegrass to Mississippi Delta blues, the inaugural Beaufort County Traditional Music Festival had toes a tappin’ and hands a clappin’ in downtown Washington on Saturday. Whether a scheduled performance or a jam session, area residents and visitors were treated to several music genres.
Moments after her drum circle ended its performance at Harding Square, Laura Scoble, owner of Backwater Jack’s in Washington, praised the inaugural festival, which she wants to become an annual event in Washington’s downtown and waterfront areas.
Scoble said she is pleased with the decision by the Beaufort County Arts Council and Beaufort County Traditional Music Association to support and organize the festival and how it turned out.
Joey Toler, arts council executive director and leading organizer of the festival, was also pleased the event turned out as well as it did.
Marvin Walker, a member of Unshackled, a Chocowinity-based Christian bluegrass band, was at the festival in two capacities.
Walker said he wasn’t surprised by the number of musicians who showed up to play in jam sessions during the day.
That’s exactly what happened about 1:30 p.m. when several musicians at the BCTMA tent on Stewart Parkway kicked off about a 10-minute jam of “Washington Waterfront Rag,” a instrumental piece BCTMA members came up with.
Among the jammers were Linda Boyer, an environmental educator with the North Carolina Estuarium, and Chris Furlough, a Washington developer. Furlough fiddled while Boyer played guitar.
Earlier at the Civic Center, 12-year-old Jordyn Moore drew applause with her rendition of “I’ll Fly Away” as she performed with The Moore Family, which includes her banjo-playing father, Donnie Moore.
The younger Moore, who lives in Pitt County, acknowledges her singing “hobby” began at an early age.
Moore offered a simple explanation of why a 12-year-old girl likes traditional music forms such as bluegrass, country and gospel.
Penny Moore, wife of The Moore Family’s mandolin player, Jay Moore, wasn’t always a fan of “traditional” music.
Jay Moore said he learned to play the mandolin about three months ago.
Moore said he’s glad the festival made its debut, saying it indicates traditional music forms such as bluegrass, gospel and country are gaining a new popularity. He, too, wants to see the festival become an annual event.
Jon and Karen Layton, a couple in their 30s who live near Farmville, said they came to the festival so they could hear music they like in a setting they like — Washington’s waterfront.
The festival concluded with an evening concert in the Turnage Theater featuring local band Carolina Still, the Barnraisers and Molasses Creek.