Third Annual Folk Festival Set for April
The Third Annual Folk Music Festival at St. Andrews University is set for April 21 and will feature several well-known folk musicians.
Free and open to the public, this event, produced by St. Andrews alumnus John Null, will run from noon to 5 p.m. on the DeTamble Terrace.
Established folk music performers Lisa Null, David Via and Larry Keel are confirmed for the event. Amateur musicians from the St. Andrews family will also be performing, including student Spencer Phillips.
John Null's mother, Lisa Null, is one of the returning performers. This year she has been working on an album for the Smithsonian Institution of old war ballads and songs in commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812.
In the 1970s, Null toured the British Isles, festivals throughout North America and appeared frequently on Garrison Keillor's "A Prairie Home Companion." She also founded what became the leading Celtic label in this country, Green Linnet, and produced several festivals covered by Folk Music USA on National Public Radio.
Although her touring career was with Bill Shute, lead guitarist with the Fifth Estate, she now sings a cappella, working to generate a sense of musical community with her audiences. During the 1980s, Null became a folklorist and historian and now lives in the Washington, D.C., area where she still remains active singing and organizing in folk music circles.
Via's songs come from being raised and living in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. A well-known figure in bluegrass/newgrass circles, Via has spent more than 20 years singing, songwriting and performing. He began playing guitar at an early age and began playing blues from coast to coast while in college.
Over the years, Via has played in a variety of lineups, having also picked up the mandolin. David Via and Corn Tornado have released two CDs, "It All Comes Down to a Song" and "In a Holler on a Mountain."
The current Corn Tornado lineup features Daniel Knicely, John Flower and "Fiddly Dave" Van Deventer. Frequent guests in performance have included Curtis Burch, Woody Wood, Tommy Morse, David Knicely and Donica Christensen.
A one-time finalist in the Mountain Stage new song competition, he is a three-time winner of the MerleFest Songwriters' Award.
His song "Left this Country Boy (Sittin' all Alone)" was chosen as one of the decade's Top 200 Bluegrass Songs and was a top 10 on the IBMA bluegrass chart. Via and Corn Tornado were chosen by BMI, ASCAP, Sony Records, TNN and the Nashville Entertainment Association as one of the Top 20 Unsigned Bands in America.
Via's release "All Night Long" features his award-winning songwriting and soulful vocal support by bluegrass buddies Dan Tyminski, Rod McCourey, Ronnie Bowman, Randy Kohrs and many others.
Keel has been described as "the most powerful, innovative and all-out exhilarating acoustic Americana flatpicker performing today." He continues to honor the pioneers who introduced bluegrass and mountain music into popular culture while continuing to evolve in his music. He puts technical skill, honest emotion and fearlessness into his entertaining of audiences.
His group, Natural Bridge, includes Mark Schimick on mandolin and vocals, Will Lee on banjo and lead vocals, and Jenny Keel on bass and vocal harmonies.
Throughout his career, Keel has released 13 albums and is featured on 10 others. His 2010 release, "Thief," includes cover versions of such songs as Amy Winehouse's "Rehab" and Patterson Hood's "Uncle Disney."
For additional information on this free event, call (910) 277-5670.
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