Hiltons, VA -- John McCutcheon, Tom Bledsoe, and Rich Kirby are the musicians who make up Wry Straw. No longer performing as a trio, all are incredibly talented in their own right and continue to perform old time music today. John's solo career has flourished, and he's one of the most talented and well-respected musicians in folk and traditional music circles. Tom still performs, acts, and promotes music shows and festivals. Rich works at WMMT, produces, records, and performs. A Wry Straw reunion was presented at the Fold as part of the first Clinch Mountain Music Fest.
Saturday, October 15th, 2011, at 7:30 p.m. the Carter Family Fold in Hiltons, Virginia, will present a special reunion concert by Wry Straw - an old time band that often performed at the Fold when it was still in its' infancy. Admission to the concert is $10 for adults, $1 for children 6 to 11, under age 6 free.
John McCutcheon is one of America's most loved and respected folksingers. As an instrumentalist, he is a master of a dozen traditional instruments. His songwriting has been hailed by critics and singers around the globe. He's done over thirty recordings, and has garnered every imaginable honor – including seven Grammy nominations. Whether he's performing at an elementary school, a festival, a farm rally, or a major concert hall, John has boundless energy and consummate professionalism. After college, he called Dungannon – and later Charlottesville, Virginia – home. During the time he and his family lived in Dungannon, he was a regular at the Fold. John was one of the original board members appointed by Janette Carter to help guide the Fold in its' formative years.
One of her many adopted children, they had tremendous love and respect for each other. They toured together, and John would later say that Janette took in stray dogs as well as musicians – and the dogs were usually better behaved. John and his wife Carmen now call Atlanta home.
Tom Bledsoe grew up on Big Moccasin Creek in the shadow of Clinch Mountain. In 1973, he started making music with some of his neighbors – Beachard Smith, Paul Davis, and Will Keys. The group would come to be known as the Home Folks, and they were the closest thing to a house band the Fold ever had – appearing over 100 times at the Fold from the time music shows began in 1974. They played every festival until just a few years ago, marking the end of an era at the Fold. The heartbeat of the group - Tom played lead guitar and masterfully handled the lead vocals. Hardworking, good country people, they typified everything that was good about traditional mountain music. Tom and his family now call Saint Augustine home.
Rich Kirby, a descendant of vocalist Addie Graham, grew up in an east Kentucky family full of traditional music. After performing with Wry Straw for many years, he began working at Appalshop in Whitesburg, Kentucky. Rich currently produces radio shows and recordings of traditional music for WMMT. He plays with an old time band, Rick and the Po' Folks.
If you love old time music and dance, don't miss this special reunion show at the Carter Family Fold. Be sure to bring your dancing shoes – you'll need them! There will be gospel music, instrumental numbers, and beautiful harmony – something to please everyone in the audience. Having Wry Straw at the Fold will feel like homecoming.
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. Carter Music Center is part of the Crooked Road: Virginia's Heritage Music Trail. You can visit the Crooked Road Music Trail site at http://thecrookedroad.org. Partial funding for programs at the center is provided by the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. For more information on Saturday's concert, contact the Mountain Music Museum at 276-645-0035. For recorded information on shows coming up at the Fold, call 276-386-6054.