The ArtsCenter’s annual Songs from the Circle shows are a celebration of the best in classic American Folk and Bluegrass.
In spring 2012 local guitarist Danny Gotham organized a memorable benefit concert involving a live presentation of songs from the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s iconic album of 40 years prior, Will the Circle Be Unbroken. Danny and his colleagues have made this a tradition at The ArtsCenter, and Songs from the Circle returns for its ninth incarnation this year on June 8th. This event builds on the material of the album, paying homage in a more general sense to the classics, with an occasional original that stays in the spirit of classic country and bluegrass.
“Some folks may hail a landmark birthday by skydiving or visiting Machu Picchu. Chapel Hill musician Danny Gotham celebrated his 60th by recording “Repast,” a 32-track double CD featuring a host of his musical friends. Gotham is a well-known guitar and mandolin teacher who’s recorded and performed with a who’s who of Triangle-area musicians. He’s also toured with Peter Ostroushko, former music director for public radio’s “A Prairie Home Companion.” Ostroushko is one of 39 guest musicians featured on “Repast.”” – Jack Bernhart, News & Observer.com review
Watson enjoys playing music different from the Fine Group does: playing solo jobs, lead guitar with the world-famous country duet Duke LaCrosse and Pinky Wyoming, and string bass with a bluegrass band, the Green Level Entertainers which features Shady Grove Band guitar player Jerry Brown, Mandolin Central proprietor Tony Williamson, Gary Williamson and New Deal String Band lead singer Leroy Savage. He gets a lot of pleasure playing different kinds of and acoustic music and doing a lot of singing. Watson is also a board member of the Old Time Music Group, which publishes the Old Time Herald.
Rebecca’s music career began in 1975 with her first band, “Mother Country” – a bluegrass, country band based in North Carolina. In 1978 she played in a 4-piece swing band (un-creatively) named “Rebecca & Friends.” Mid 1981 she and co-writer Keith Guile put together “Rebecca & the Hi-Tones,” still a North Carolina institution after 30 years. The Hi-Tones are a 7-piece swing/jazz/r&b band containing the “core four” members from 1981. Rebecca has been commissioned by National Public Radio to write and produce feature music for “All Things Considered,” and was mentored by Tony Award winning playwright Jim Wann (Diamond Studs, Pump Boys & Dinettes).
Jan Johansson is well-known throughout the United States, Europe and Japan as an accomplished acoustic musician, producer, and music instructor. Jan was born in Skelleftea, Sweden in 1958 and began playing acoustic music at the age of 14. By the time he was 18, Jan was playing guitar, fiddle, and mandolin. At an early age, his passion for music developed into a love of the traditional and bluegrass music of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Jan is a person who embodies the spirit of this American-born genre of music. With that spirit and determination, Jan came to the United States in 1986 to fulfill his dream of playing traditional and bluegrass music.
Based in Chapel Hill, NC, FJ Ventre plays upright and electric bass and sings with several acts from The Triangle area, including Jon Shain, The Swang Brothers, The Chris Stamey Group, Mary Johnson Rockers and others. He has also played with Rebecca and The Hi-Tones, Mel Melton and the Wicked Mojos, The Stars Explode, and Tom Maxwell. FJ is the owner-operator of Good Luck Studio and has recorded and mixed projects for Jon Shain, The Swang Brothers, Jeff Hart, Hailey Clark, The Infidels, Tad Walters, and Tom Maxwell, to name a few.