Our Rugby Roots-Appalachian Arts with a British Beat series continues with the Festival of Music, Dance and Storytelling on Saturday, May 23 from Noon until 6:30 p.m., Eastern time.

There will be outdoor concerts and storytelling venues during the day featuring various performers including musical acts The Empty Bottle String Band, Junction South, Michael Jacobs, Roy Harper, Butch and Doug and The Twangtown Paramours; dance troupes Lark in the Morn English Country Dancers and the Tenpenny Rapper sword dancers, and Storytellers Judy Baker, Tim Mangan and Joni Lovegrove. Click on the link to see the complete Festival schedule.

In this post we are featuring Roy Harper, old-time singer from Manchester and winner of the Tennessee Folklife Heritage Award in 2003. As a boy in Coffee County, Roy Harper (1925-   ) was struck by the lure of the railroad and the yodeling songs of Jimmie Rodgers, “The Singing Brakeman.”   He started gaining firsthand experience with both before he was twenty, working railroad jobs in several parts of the country while also performing as an itinerant musician.  During stints in Manchester in the later 1940s and 50s, he became known throughout the region for his partnership with Blake Bynum in the Sand Mountain Boys.  During the 1960s he began recording his huge repertory of both “blue yodels” and sentimental songs, and he also made reputation for himself as a self-taught painter of railroad scenes from his own experience.  Harper performed in the Tennessee program at the 1986 Smithsonian Festival of American Folklife and continues to maintain an active touring schedule at regional festivals and heritage music programs, where he is without peer in preserving the songs and vocal stylings of early country music.

An evening concert at 7:00 p.m., ET, will feature Twangtown Paramours from Nashville!

Day admission: $5

Evening Concert: $5

Combined ticket (for both day and evening concerts): $8

Discounts available for residents of the tri-county area-must show ID

Hikes to the Rugby State Natural Areas’ Massengale Trail will be offered prior to noon

Rugby Roots events are made possible in part by a grant from the Arts Fund of the East Tennessee Foundation

 

 

 

As a boy in Coffee County, Roy Harper (1925-   ) was struck by the lure of the railroad and the yodeling songs of Jimmie Rodgers, “The Singing Brakeman.”   He started gaining firsthand experience with both before he was twenty, working railroad jobs in several parts of the country while also performing as an itinerant musician.  During stints in Manchester in the later 1940s and 50s, he became known throughout the region for his partnership with Blake Bynum in the Sand Mountain Boys.  During the 1960s he began recording his huge repertory of both “blue yodels” and sentimental songs, and he also made reputation for himself as a self-taught painter of railroad scenes from his own experience.  Harper performed in the Tennessee program at the 1986 Smithsonian Festival of American Folklife and continues to maintain an active touring schedule at regional festivals and heritage music programs, where he is without peer in preserving the songs and vocal stylings of early country music.