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8th Annual Janette Carter Gospel Show, Sunday, Nov. 1st

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Carter Family Fold in Hiltons, VirginiaSunday, November 1st, 2015, at 2:30 p.m., the Carter Family Fold in Hiltons, Virginia, will present a special gospel concert by Eugene Wolf, Mitya Kuznetsov, Ronnie Williams, Tim White, and Teddy Helton. 2015 marks the eighth annual gospel event in honor of Janette Carter. Admission to the concert is $10 for adults, children ages 6 to 11 $3, under age 6 free. Tickets will be available only at the door on the day of the concert. Doors will open at 1:00 p.m.

This show is being presented as a tribute to Janette Carter – founder of the Carter Family Memorial Music Center, Inc. Janette began presenting shows of old time and bluegrass music in 1974 in tribute to the Original Carter Family. She started the shows as a result of a promise she made to her dying father – A.P. Carter. A.P. asked her to keep his music alive, and she promised him she would try. The Carter Family Fold, the Carter Family Museum, and the A.P. Carter birthplace cabin stand today as a lasting tribute to the culmination of that promise.

Despite the fact that Janette didn’t finish high school, she founded one of the first rural arts organizations in the U.S., established a museum, and preserved the musical legacy of the Carter Family – the first family of country music – for generations to come. A steadfast, life-long Christian, Janette was an inspiration to everyone she met. Any tribute to her would naturally pay homage to her strong faith. Gospel music makes up over a third of the Carter Family song catalog. A.P. passed up a chance to record for Brunswick records before recording for Victor in 1927 because Brunswick wanted him to play the fiddle. He did play fiddle, but he and his mother considered the fiddle “the devil’s instrument.” Play bills advertising Carter Family shows – mostly concerts at local schools in the early days – advertised that “This show is morally good.” It’s a motto that the Carter Music Center strives to live up to - 41 years after weekly concerts began at the Fold - to this day.

Mitya, Janette and Bill.jpgEugene Wolf and Mitya Kuznetsov kick off a two week, six show tour celebrating the release of their new CD, Where We'll Never Grow Old, a collection of American country hymns and spirituals from the late 18th and early 19th centuries as guests of Dave Carter on WETS FM on Saturday, October 31st. A seed planted 18 years ago comes to fruition. They met in 1997 when Wolf was studying Russian with Anna Gabruseva, a teacher from Johnson City's sister city, Rybinsk, Russia. Kuznetsov, a Rybinsk native and a member of a Russian folk group, Seventh Water, was visiting friends, Bill Clifton and Tineke Marburg in Mendota, Virginia, and Gabruseva thought the two should meet. Mitya was working on a collection of English verse he was writing melodies for and asked Wolf to sing them so he could be sure of his pronunciation. They spent a couple of weeks working, and integrated Kuznetsov into Wolf and Ed Snodderly's band, Brother Boys, for a couple of shows. A friendship of music and blini was forged and Kuznetsov returned to Russia.

They lost touch for a number of years until Wolf discovered Kuznetsov on Facebook in 2012. During that time, Mitya had become a solo folk artist and music producer in Russia and had produced a number of solo folk recordings, soundtracks for foreign films, and collaborations with two bands - Raznotravie and Seventh Water. They decided to pick up where the years left them and collaborate - in Russia. Kuznetsov had performed at the Carter Fold in 1990 with his band, Seventh Water, and they recorded their first album, Jolly Good, at Classic Studios in Bristol, Virginia. Wolf and Snodderly had recorded the first of the Brother Boys' three albums, Mulehead, at Classic Studios, too, and Wolf went on to create the role of A. P. Carter in Barter Theatre's original play, Keep on the Sunny Side. It seemed the Carter Family might be good musical ground to meet on.

Wolf traveled to Russia in the summer of 2013 with his guitar, an Appalaachian dulcimer, and a set of gospel and spiritual songs and Carter Family hymns. A last minute discovery of an American shape note hymn, Russia, written in 1768, lifted the intention of the collaboration. What do Americans and Russians share that is sacred? Are there answers in the music? He and Mitya put together a concert with singers from the church in Rybinsk and musicians from the town. They performed in Mitya's backyard on a stage he had built for summer concerts. He produces four concerts each summer with musical guests from all over the world. It turns out the intention of these old melodies tell stories that need no language. The folks of Rybinsk understood exactly what the songs were getting at. The concert was a success and new friendships were formed. They began recording and shot a video for the first song, Anchored in Love, and it has become one of the most popular versions of the song on Youtube. Wolf recorded 10 songs with only guitar and vocals before he returned to America. Over the past two years, Mitya has taken the simple tracks and created glorious arrangements around them. Mitya often works alone in the studio, arranging, performing on all the instruments and doing vocals. His wife, Anna, joins him on many of the vocals. For this project, he also enlisted string players and a saxophonist to fill out what he heard in these wonderful old melodies. The result is a fresh take on songs many of us have held close since the first time we sang them in church - songs of solace.

Joining Eugene and Mitya for the Carter Fold concert will be long time Carter Family friends Ronnie Williams, Tim White, and Teddy Helton. Ronnie has been playing since 1975. One of his fondest memories is playing for Sara and Maybelle Carter at the Fold in 1976. He remembers playing Gold Watch and Chain and Black Mountain Rag for “Mommy and Aunt Maybelle” at Janette’s request. Ronnie plays a Gibson guitar similar to Maybelle’s, and he also plays autoharp and sings beautifully. He’s been a friend of the Carter Family for years, and often visited various members of the family – a tradition he continues to this day. A great cook, he often helps out in the Fold’s and the family’s kitchens. You won’t find anyone who knows more about the Carter Family and their music or anyone who plays it with more reverence than Ronnie Williams does. Many people across America recognize Tim White as the host of Song of the Moutains – the nationally syndicated concert series seen on PBS each week. Tim founded the BCMA and the ACMA, and he plays all over the world with the VW Boys and other artists. Teddy Helton is known and much loved by everyone in the area. He plays with Fire in the Kitchen and others.

On Saturday, October 31, an American-Russian musical collaboration comes to WETS-FM and Dave Carter's Studio One. Listed below are their remaining tour dates for Eugene and Mitya:

  • Sun, Nov 1 – Carter Fold – Janette Carter Memorial Gospel Concert – 2:30 PM
  • Wed, Nov 4 – Barter Theatre – Abingdon, VA - 7:30 PM
  • Sat, Nov 7 – Song of the Mountains – Lincoln Theater - Marion, VA – 7 PM
  • Wed, Nov 11 – Down Home – Johnson City, TN – 8 PM

For some of the most beautiful gospel music this side of Heaven, make plans to join us for this special tribute concert. Music truly is the international language, and concerts like this one exemplify that. Proceeds from the concert will benefit the Janette Carter Memorial Endowment Fund and the Carter Music Center. Established in 2007 by the Center’s board of directors and attorney, the fund was set up to insure that Janette’s vision of preserving old time mountain music will continue for generations to come.

Carter Family Memorial Music Center, Inc., is a nonprofit, rural arts organization established to preserve traditional, acoustic, mountain music. For additional 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 recorded information on shows coming up at the Fold, call 276-386-6054. The Fold is on Facebook – page Carter Fold – and Twitter – Twitter @carterfoldinfo.

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