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Carrboro Town News

Posted on: June 2, 2022

Freight Train Blues Concerts featured on Fridays

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CARRBORO, N.C. -- The Town of Carrboro, continues to present the Music Maker Foundation’s Freight Train Blues series of live concerts every Friday evening through June 10 at the Carrboro Town Commons, 301 W. Main St. The series is a collaboration among the Town of Carrboro; the Music Maker Foundation; and WUNC 91.5FM. 

More information: www.freighttrainblues.com 

An annual event, the concert series highlights GRAMMY-winning folk and blues artist and North Carolina Music Hall of Famer Elizabeth “Libba” Cotten, born in Carrboro in 1893. Cotten’s soulful voice and unique guitar style have rendered her a legend in the world of blues, leading her to receive National Heritage Fellowship in 1984 and a GRAMMY award in 1985. She lived to be 104 years old and died in 1987. Her songs, like the iconic “Freight Train,” have been reimagined by artists like The Grateful Dead and Bob Dylan.

Music Maker Foundation honors Cotten’s legacy in the world of roots music by emphasizing the cultural diversity, complexity, and vitality of her music and the music of many other artists local to her community and all over the country. 

Coming Up: 

June 3- La Banda de los Guanajuatenses, Joe Troop w/ Larry Bellorín
Since its founding in 1999 in Guanajuato, Mexico, La Banda de Los Guanajuatenses has been heard on radios all over the state of North Carolina. The thirteen members of the group prove to be fan-favorites among many Mexican immigrants residing in the state. 

Joe Troop is a multi-instrumentalist, singer, and songwriter hailing originally from Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The founder of GRAMMY-nominated stringband Che Apalache, Troop’s music is deeply embedded with and inspired by his activism. The radical folk singer’s first proper solo album Borrowed Time. The record features music luminaries like Béla Fleck (who produced Che Apalache’s GRAMMY-nominated album), Abigail Washburn, Tim O’Brien, and Charlie Hunter, but the visceral songwriting is influenced both by Troop’s time spent living abroad as well as his upbringing as an openly gay bluegrass musician in rural North Carolina.

The last place you’d expect to hear one of the world’s finest Llanera harpists is in a dimly lit warehouse in Durham, NC. Larry Bellorín grew up in Punta de Mata in the state of Monagas, Venezuela. By age 6, he built a faithful clientele as a shoe shiner by singing as he polished. As an adolescent, he was supporting himself through music alone and was well-versed in the folk music of his region (valse, pasaje, joropo, música oriental) as a multi-instrumentalist. internationally acclaimed harpist Urbino Ruiz, affectionately known as the King of the Strong Harp, later mentored Bellorín on the instrument, on which he has become a master.

With the collapse of Venezuela, he arrived in the United States with only thirty dollars and slept on the floor of an unfurnished room while doing construction day labor. Larry and his family of now four are still waiting for their asylum case to be reviewed. Last year, he met and began to collaborate with North Carolina Bluegrass evangelist and human rights activist Joe Troop, who has long drawn connections between Appalachian roots music and folkloric traditions from Central and South America.

Larry is excited at the opportunity to begin working with the Music Maker Foundation. He has dedicated his life to mastering the musical traditions of Venezuela, sharing it with audiences and teaching eager students.

June 10- Music Maker Blues Revue featuring Gail Ceasar, Tad Walters & Lil’ Jimmy Reed
The roots of Gail Ceasar’s’ music run deep into the Virginia soil. Music Maker met an elderly blues guitarist from Pittsylvania County, VA named Pete Witcher. Returning several times to record Pete, he made a point of taking Music Maker staff to see his niece Gail Ceasar. She plays with incredible precision.

Since his youth, Tad Walters has played the guitar and harmonica, using his skills to join the band of Bob Mangolin (Muddy Waters) in 1996. After years of making music with another group, the Big Bill Morganfield Band (led by Muddy’s son). He has played with luminaries like GRAMMY-winning pianist Pinetop Perkins, Howlin’ Wolf lead guitarist Hubert Sumlin, Blues Hall of Famer Billy Boy Arnold.

Lil’ Jimmy Reed comes from an era of Louisiana bluesmen who tell stories of poverty, segregation, and hard work. Though most of the artists of his era have passed on, Jimmy still makes Louisiana Blues music to this day. Though not related to his famous namesake, he was once booked by a promoter as Lil’ Jimmy Reed and kept the moniker, as he is a master of the elder Reed’s style and repertoire on guitar and harmonica.

About WUNC
North Carolina Public Radio – WUNC creates, acquires, and distributes programming that enhances and reflects the diverse communities it serves. Through a blend of newscasts, feature radio, and digital reports, WUNC provides balanced information in a manner designed to help listeners make informed decisions as citizens. WUNC also produces culturally rich music programming that celebrates the diverse musical community in North Carolina. As an NPR affiliate, the station provides a 24 hour-a-day, 7-day-a-week news and public affairs service to listeners each week throughout the state of North Carolina. WUNC serves a wide geographic area with broadcasts that reach into more than half of North Carolina’s 100 counties.

The broadcast license of North Carolina Public Radio – WUNC is held by the Board of WUNC Public Radio, LLC. More than 90 percent of WUNC’s annual budget comes from the support of individual donors, businesses, and foundations.

For more information about the station, please visit www.wunc.org 

About Carrboro 
Carrboro is located just west of Chapel Hill in the Central Piedmont region of North Carolina. Home to a thriving local arts scene, Carrboro was recently named one of the country’s Top 5 Small Arts Towns by 24/7 Tempo. In addition to the Freight Train Blues Concert Series, the town also sponsors a variety of other signature events including the Carrboro Music Festival, Carrboro Film Fest, and the West End Poetry Festival.

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