A BRIGHT, SHINY CONSTELLATION
by Clyde Edgerton
In the late seventies I was sitting at a big round table in Breadman’s, a Chapel Hill, North Carolina diner. It was late, and around me were some people I knew and some I didn’t know. I managed to get everybody’s attention and started talking about a bluegrass band I’d heard about, one of the first in a string of musical explosions starting in Chapel Hill about a decade earlier (among those later explosions were the Red Clay Ramblers, Mike Cross, and Bluegrass Experience). This particular early big bang band was already legendary, but the members weren’t performing together any more: the New Deal String Band. What I wanted to tell people around the table (at that time) was not about band’s music but about the music of the band members’ names: Bob White (nickname: Quail), Buck Peacock, Fiddling Al McCanless, LeRoy Savage, Clean Gene Knight, and Six-Toe Frank Greathouse.
January 2013, Featured in
The News & Observer :
Music review: ‘Tunes from a Tarheel Town featuring Sidetrack’
A regional showcase
North Carolina’s Central Piedmont has earned a well-deserved reputation as home to a brilliant coterie of old-time, bluegrass and early country instrumentalists and singers.
Equally impressive, if less well-known, is the number of outstanding songwriters in the region. “Tunes from a Tarheel Town,” the second release from producer Penny Knight, showcases regional talents with an eclectic 18-track CD of original and standard tunes and songs.
The town of the title is Chapel Hill, home of such 1960s and 1970s bands as New Deal String Band and Red Clay Ramblers, which served as both magnet and catalyst for artists who followed. The popular duo Mandolin Orange, and others, carry on the tradition. They launch the CD with “Mockingbird,” a snappy bluegrass gem written by Andrew Marlin and sung by Emily Franz.
October 2010, Featured in
Our State Magazine :
After putting aside his professional music dreams to support his family, Gene Knight and his band, Sidetrack, release an eclectic new bluegrass album. You can read the full story beginning on page 18 of the November 2010 issue of Our State and enjoy these select songs from Sidetrack’s CD, Rowdy to Reverent. LeRoy Savage, Joe Newberry, Mike Aldridge, Gene Knight, Bobb Head, and Dewey Brown make up Sidetrack.
August 2010, Featured in
The News & Observer :
Sidetrack, North Carolina's hot new sextet, belongs squarely on the bluegrass mainline.
Named in honor of Sidetrack Coffeehouse, Raleigh's fabled acoustic music club of the 1960s, the talented combo features well-known members of local and national bands: Leroy Savage and Gene Knight (New Deal String Band), Joe Newberry and Bobb Head (Big Medicine), Mike Aldridge (Bluegrass Experience), and Dewey Brown (Ralph Stanley's Clinch Mountain Boys).
The 15-track "Rowdy to Reverent" features a remarkable blend of traditional bluegrass, country, folk, and gospel songs, along with snappy instrumental breakdowns. Savage's lead vocals are brilliantly understated on such favorites as Bill Monroe's "Highway of Sorrow," Stonewall Jackson's "Don't be Angry," Grateful Dead's newgrassy "Friend of the Devil," and Pee Wee King's "Tennessee Waltz."
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CDs can be purchased at mikecraver.com, cdbaby.com, Red Gate Music in Pittsboro, NC, and Dewey Brown's Music & Lessons in Graham, NC.
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Buy the album on Mike Craver's website
|Click highlighted tracks for an internet sample:|
CD recorded, mixed, and mastered at the Rubber Room in Chapel Hill, NC. Jerry Brown, Engineer
Produced by Penny Knight.
Cover photos by Dean Hoffmeyer and Gene Knight.
Cover design by Penny Knight.
Produced by Penny Knight 2010-2013.