Paul Brown, Terri McMurray and John Schwab played a house concert on 24 May at Gene Bowlen’s home in Harrisonburg, VA. Great concert space and a great concert.. See www.bearcademusic.com Gene built a studio in which he does a lot of local recording work for musicians and his own band. A big two story building adjacent to their home near Harrisonburg, but in the midst of farm country. They have many hounds wandering around, goats and cats.
The band is THE MOSTLY MOUNTAIN BOYS. Two guys and a lady. John Schwab is the author of “Old-Time Backup Guitar: Learn from the Masters.” He has played with the Hoover Uprights, a popular band in northern VA. Paul Brown, a long time broadcast and online journalist with NPR, is a very talented fiddler and banjo player, and the producer of several significant old time recordings including several that immortalized the music of Benton Flippen and the Smokey Valley Boys. He just retired, and almost immediately after that had open heart surgery but he’s looking good. An old friend. Terri McMurray plays fine banjo and banjo uke. As her bio says, she “caught the attention of Paul Brown when she beat him in the banjo contest at the 1982 Old Fiddlers' Convention in Galax, VA and later joined him in matrimony and in the Toast String Stretchers.”
They make great old time music, playing a great range of styles. Even Mom liked it. I especially liked the version of Cluck Old Hen that Paul learned from Ed Weaver of Stuarts Draft, VA. They played it last night. I purchased the CD and went right home with the goal of learning this version from their CD. Quite different from the Cluck Old Hen we all know and love.
The young lady sitting in front of us at Paul Brown’s house concert turned out to be the fiddler for a band called THE BUCK STOPS HERE.
They will be playing at Genes from 2 to 5 PM on 15 June.
Looking forward to a summer of local music!