Valentine’s Day Concert: About the Players

Floyd County House Concert 2007
Floyd County House Concert 2007

In addition to yesterdays announcement about the Valentine’s Day ‘House Concert’ in Floyd County, Mac Traynham sent along a bit more detail about his association and history with the individuals that make up the Hearld Angels. Thought you might be interested in some background that will enrich your experience on February 14. Click image to enlarge.

Serving suggestion: check out the links to some great albums by these ladies, and come prepared to be blown away by the quality of the entertainment and community!

Some background info:  Alice Gerrard began a now successful magazine called the Old-time Herald almost 20 years ago. Hence the name ‘Herald angels’.

She eventually bowed out and Gail Gillespie took Alice’s position as Editor-in-Chief for a number of years and has recently retired from that position.   I have worked with each of them at one time or another in my musical jaunts other than with Jenny.

I was part of a quartet that went to perform at the 21st Alaska Folk festival in 1995 which included Kay Justice and her then singing partner Ginny Hawker along with Tracy Schwarz.

I have helped in some vocal workshops with Alice Gerrard at a summer music camp held on the campus of Mars Hill College near Asheville NC.  In more recent times,  I have been musically involved with Gail Gillespie playing in band contests at some local Fiddler’s conventions.

Alice has been a professional musician since the 60’s having made a name for herself as part of a acclaimed duo ‘Hazel & Alice’.  Hazel Dickens and Alice were some of the first ‘women in Bluegrass’ blazing the trail for other women to enter and make names for themselves in the higher profile ‘Bluegrass’ music world.

During the 1980’s Alice was involved in preserving the music of this region. She performed with and brought greater recognition to several traditional music masters. She has numerous recordings as a google search will show.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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