‘Grass gets the spolight

First Posted: 1/15/2009

Michael Jaenicke-Assistant Features Editor
More than 30 concerts into its life, the Lumber River Regional Bluegrass Association has showcased a wide variety of music.
There are many different types of 'grass in this genre - a key point the Lumberton-based organization is trying to bring to the ears and eyes of the public. To do that, LRRBA almost always features two different 'grass styles at its monthly concert at Robeson Community College's A.D. Lewis Auditorium.
On Saturday, it will roll a trifecta as Four Wheel Drive, The Mark Newton Band and The Sounds of Grass lay down different flavored licks.
Liner notes for the bluegrass beginner: Bluegrass music is mainly acoustic, even though some electricity is piped on stage. Bluegrass music can be the “high and lonesome” variety but also range to more jazzy sounds, like those heard by Nickle Creek.
Another defining mark of bluegrass are three- and four-part harmonies. But understand that the tenor part is not necessarily tenor; it's the high harmony to the melody. The bass is likewise the low harmony to the melody.
It's a bit like old-timers comparing and contrasting Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw. Or country folk debating about George Jones, Garth Brooks and Tim McGraw. Or rockers talking about The Rolling Stone, The Beatles and U2.
The LRRBA is hoping the public will come out and hear the difference. They've had plenty of responses along these lines, “Gee, I don't normally like bluegrass, but that band tonight was really good.”
Ahhh, different types.
Here's the dish on Saturday's program. Four Wheel Drive of Charleston, S.C., is the headliner. This two-man, one woman, one girl quartet plays a variety of 'grass. Lead singer Lauren Barnes, who is still in high school, plays the mandolin and sings, and writes songs with Tracy Jackson, a cross-picking and flatpicking stylist.
Linda Cockrell has played banjo since the late 1970s and Kevin Bevins wandered to 'grass after being a jazz pianist, rocker and freelance studio musician.
The Mark Newton Band makes no bones about its contemporary 'grass approach. Newton played with the Virginia Squires for a decade before doing solo work, including his award winning Women of Bluegrass release, “Follow Me Back to The Fold,” that had tuneful vocals from Rhonda Vincent, Lynn Morris and The Whites. Newton's 2001 instrumental album, “Knee Deep in Bluegrass,” was another award winner.
Sounds of 'grass plays straight forward, traditional 'grass. Two of its members - Ernie Craft and James “Peanut” Springs - are original members from the group's 1972 roots.
Tickets for the show (member prices) are $10 for adults and $8 for students; non-member tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for children. LRRBA memberships are $20 for a family, $10 for and adults and $8 for students. The show begins at 6 p.m. The jam and open mic session starts at 4 p.m.
For information, call Wilbur Britt at 739-2935 or Roger Sessoms at 739-2011.
The Glenn Miller Orchestra will perform Friday at Robeson Community College's A.D. Lewis Auditorium. Tickets are $15.
For information, call 618-5680.
Bobby Vinton will perform Jan. 22 at the Crown Theatre in Fayetteville. Tim Conway and Harvey Korman will perform on Feb. 10. Tickets are $52, $42 and $32. For information, call (910) 323-5088.
College and high school bands will compete for cash and prizes Saturday beginning at 4:30 p.m. at the RBC Center's Original Battle of the Bands. Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 day of the show. For information, call (919) 834-4000.
The Del McCoury Band will perform Friday at 8 p.m. at N.C. State's Stewart Theatre. Tickets are $32, $25 and $15. For information, call (919) 515-1100.
Allison Krauss and Union Station will perform Feb. 2 at Greensboro War Memorial Auditorium. Tickets are $40. For information, call 888) 397-3100.
Josh Groban will perform Feb. 4 at the RBC Center in Raleigh. Tickets are $65 to $25.
For information, call (919) 843-4000.
“Movin' Out” will be performed at the Charlotte Coliseum theater Tuesday to Jan. 30. Tickets are $72 to $27.
For information, call (704) 522-6500.
Tony Award winning dancer Savion Glover will perform “Classic Savion” Jan. 31 at UNC-Pembroke's Givens Performing Arts Center. For information, call 521-6361.
“Fiddler on the Roof,” with Paul Sorvino will play Saturday through Jan. 20 at Raleigh's N.C. Theater. Tickets are $65 to $20. For information, call (910) 831-6950.
“Nixon's Nixon” will be performed through Jan. 29 at the Manbites Dog Theatre in Durham. Tickets are $15 to $9. For information, call (919) 682-3343.
“Ragtime” will be performed Jan. 28 to Feb. 20 at the Cape Fear Regional Theatre in Fayetteville. For information, call (910) 323-4233.
Jerry Seinfeld will perform Feb. 10 at the Charlotte Coliseum. Tickets are $76, $61 and $46. For information, call (704) 522-6500.
“Jack and the Beanstalk” will be performed at 2 and 4:30 p.m. Saturday at Wilmington's Thalian Hall. Tickets are $8. For information, call (800) 523-2820.
Michael Jaenicke is the assistant features editor for The Robesonian. He can be reached by calling 739-4322, Ext. 149, or by e-mail at lifestyles1@ bellsouth.net.

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