Some bands seem to embody the community from which they spring, and Bloomsbury is one such band for Raleigh. Raleigh has long been a hotbed for string band music. As host to one of the largest radio stations in the Southeast prior to World War II, Raleigh’s WPTF was a prominent stop on the country music radio circuit, attracting the likes of Charlie Poole’s Swingbillies, the Monroe Brothers, Delmore Brothers, Blue Sky Boys, J.E. Mainer’s Mountaineers, Johnny & Jack/The Tennessee Hillbillies (w/Kitty Wells & Chet Atkins), to name but a few. Raleigh’s history of high-quality acoustic roots music runs long and deep. And for more than 40 years, Raleigh’s own Bloomsbury has continued this long-standing tradition of music making. With tight vocal blends and a constant swapping of instruments, the group showcases the wide range of folk music prominent in the region, including blues, bluegrass, gospel, old-time fiddle & banjo tunes, and much more.
And please join us for a special pre-concert reception at Raleigh Little Theatre beginning at 7 p.m. (concert ticket required)!
Bloomsbury performs for a special fundraising concert benefiting PineCone, the Piedmont Council of Traditional Music, at the Raleigh Little Theatre, one of the band’s favorite venues, on Friday, Jan. 25. The music begins at 8 p.m.
Raleigh Little Theatre was one of the first venues where PineCone presented concerts! From PineCone’s inception in 1984, its free summer shows at the Raleigh Little Theatre‘s Rose Garden and winter ticketed series inside RLT grew rapidly in popularity. By 1986, the ticketed concerts had started to fill the theater, and the free summer shows were bringing hundreds of music lovers to the Rose Garden. In a standout show in August 1986, blues performers Lightnin’ Wells and Guitar Slim drew 1200 blues fans to the Rose Garden.
Other performers who appeared at Raleigh Little Theatre thanks to PineCone:
- Algia Mae Hinton
- Piedmont String Band & Apple Chill Cloggers
- The Bluegrass Experience & Wayne and Margaret Martin
- The Original Briarhoppers & Etta Baker
- John Cephas and Phil Wiggins & Moses Rascoe
- Norman and Nancy Blake
- and many more!
The band’s original lineup included Lemma Mackie, Wade Hargrove, Mel Williams, and Wade Smith. They played at hundreds of picnics and gatherings of all kinds. They played for clubs and banquets and for children and grownups wherever they were gathered. Their music took them to England for two tours, and they played in Central Park at the Tavern on the Green, and they played at the Greenbriar in West Virginia. Along the way, they attracted a loyal following. The band took a hiatus after Mackie’s death, and over time, the three remaining band members started working with other musicians, including Crumpler, Raxter, and the Linehans. is Wade Hargrove, Mel Williams, Wade Smith, John Crumpler, Ron Raxter, and Karen Linehan. Although veteran musicians, each member enjoys a full-time profession other than music, and regularly performs with other bands in the area. Thus, Bloomsbury performances are indeed rare and special occurrences as good friends reunite to share their passion for the music that makes Raleigh special.
PineCone – the Piedmont Council of Traditional Music, Inc., is dedicated to preserving, presenting, and promoting all forms of traditional music, dance and other folk performing arts. PineCone was incorporated as a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization in 1984.
The role of PineCone is to increase the visibility of Piedmont music and musicians and to provide public programs and educational resources about the depth and breadth of cultural expression in the region today. PineCone is the largest and most active traditional music organization in North Carolina measured by people served, budget size and total number of programs presented. PineCone supports the livelihoods of working artists, inspires and connects fans, educates youth and adult audiences, documents traditions, and provides opportunities for musicians to learn from one another. Each of the three elements – preservation, presentation, and promotion – plays an important role in ensuring the continued vitality and viability of traditional arts in North Carolina’s Piedmont.