Molsky, Williams Take Stage at Poplar Knight Spot
BY JANET KENWORTHY
Special to The Pilot
The Rooster's Wife announces the return of America's reigning old-time fiddler, Bruce Molsky, to Aberdeen, Sunday, May 20.
Molsky will share the stage at Poplar Knight Spot with blues guitarist and singer-songwriter Brooks Williams.
Located one block east of U.S. 1, on Knight Street, the Spot features covered seating and free admission to children under 12.
Most Sunday shows are $12 in advance and $15 at the door, available through the website with credit cards and at the door with cash or check. More information, including the complete summer lineup, is available at theroosters wife.org.
Named one of the Top 100 Acoustic Guitarists, with more than 17 recordings to his name and 23 years on the road, Brooks Williams, a Statesboro, Ga., native and Cambridge, England, resident, is one of the premier singer-guitarists on the "roots and blues" scene.
Williams has been wowing audiences worldwide with his silky voice and rockin' acoustic and resonator slide guitars, delivering the deepest and most intense interpretations of everything from early blues songs to his recent original compositions.
Bruce Molsky stands today as the premier old-time fiddler in the world, the defining virtuoso of Appalachia's timeless folk music traditions.
That must feel odd for a former engineer from the Bronx who didn't begin a music career until he was 40. But folded into those strange facts is the secret to his unique genius.
In addition to a prolific solo career, performing on fiddle, guitar and banjo, Molsky frequently joins genre-busting supergroups, like the Grammy-nominated Fiddlers Four; Mozaik, with Hungarian Nikola Parov; and Celtic giant Donal Lunny.
He was on Nickel Creek's farewell tour, and performs in a trio with Scottish fiddler Aly Bain and Sweden's great Ale Moller.
"Playing in these kinds of groups is an important part of what I do," Molsky says. "Regionalism was one of the hallmarks of traditional music in the old days. Now we're in the Information Age, and I don't think that's what folk music does anymore. But the more cultures I discover, the more I realize that folk music performs the same function for everybody, and therefore is the same thing everywhere - just spoken with different accents."
Molsky was born in the Bronx in 1955, and fell in love with old-time music as a teenager. He moved to Virginia in the 1970s, learning directly from old masters like Tommy Jarrell, and seeing how the music fit into people's lives.
"It was only the older people, of Tommy's generation, who still had the music as part of their everyday existence," Molsky says. "At first, I wanted to live like that; but then I realized I didn't want to claim the culture as my own - I just loved the music."
That personal authenticity deeply informs his music. Whether performing an ancient reel from Virginia, a Swedish waltz, or a loping cowboy ballad, Molsky presents himself as exactly who he is.
Rob Simons, executive director of the Cedar Cultural Center in Minneapolis, says that's the key to Molsky's enormous appeal as a live performer: "He's that unique blend of virtuoso and humble, nice guy that is irresistible to audiences."
After his Appalachian tenure, Molsky became a mechanical engineer, playing music in his spare time with his wife, Audrey.
By the time he turned 40, both his parents had died. That got him thinking.
"I had this sit-down with myself," he says, "and asked what I was saving for my retirement that I'd regret if I didn't get that chance. And it was playing more music. I thought, well, maybe I'll try it for one year. I asked Audrey, and she said, 'I can't believe you didn't do this 10 years ago. Go for it.' So I took the year off, and never went back."
The Rooster's Wife is a community arts organization committed to bringing the best in live music to the Sandhills.
The doors open at 6 p.m. for this week's show, with the music kicking off at 6:45 p.m. Patrons are welcome to bring their own picnics.
For more information visit www.theroosters wife.org or call (910) 944-7502.
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