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Local Bluegrass Favorite to Host 10th Anniversary Show at the Carolina Theatre on January 14

By: Hunter Elliott

Durham, NC - One of the Triangle’s most well-loved bands, The Kickin Grass Band, celebrates ten years of signature Americana-style bluegrass with a special hometown concert and celebration on Saturday, January 14, 2012 at the Carolina Theatre of Durham. The show is a co-presentation of The Carolina Theatre of Durham and Pinecone – the Piedmont Council of Traditional Music. I recently had a chance to sit down and chat with two founding members of the band, Lynda and Jamie Dawson, at their home in Raleigh, NC:



Hunter - So, the band has been together for ten years. How did Kickin' Grass come to be?

Lynda - The Kickin Grass Band formed in early 2002 as the accompanying band for the Apple Chill Cloggers. We were writing and performing original songs as part of the show and realized we could put together enough material for our own gigs, so that’s how things started.

Hunter - The band has seen some changes over the years as far as the lineup. How has the band evolved?

Jamie – We’re extremely happy with our current lineup. The newest additions are Hank Smith on banjo, who was previously with Barefoot Manner and plays a contemporary style banjo, and Pattie Hopkins on fiddle. She’s a classically trained violinist from the Greenville, NC area who can also play a mean Bill Hicks' style fiddle and sing to boot. The rest of us are original members--Lynda Dawson on guitar and lead vocals, Patrick Walsh on bass and vocals, and myself on mandolin. Past members include Kyra Moore and Ben Walters who played banjo, Bobby Britt, who went on to play fiddle with Open Road and Town Mountain, and Matt Hooper who went to play fiddle with Don Rigsby and the Midnight Call.

Hunter – At this anniversary show, will you be playing material from all three of the albums you’ve released over the past ten years?

Lynda – You bet! We’re excited to pull out a lot of the original and traditional music that has defined our sound over the last ten years. We have both a respect for the tradition of bluegrass, as well as a spirit of adventuring into the new frontier of an ever-evolving Americana genre, and I believe our material reflects that. We’ll also be featuring some new songs set to come out on a fourth album in early 2012.

Hunter – You mentioned this upcoming release will be your fourth album, and that you have a respect for traditional music, as well as a love of pushing the envelope of acoustic music. Can you share some of your personal influences?

Jamie – I grew up listening to traditional bluegrass music and my favorites are Flatt & Scruggs, Bill Monroe, The Johnson Mountain Boys, the Bluegrass Cardinals, and Doc Watson. I strayed to the electric bass in high school and came back to roots music through Old and In The Way and The David Grisman Quintet in my late teens and early 20s. All of these have influenced my style as a mandolin player. Music that has influenced some of the other members are Gillian Welch and Bob Dylan for Lynda as a singer and songwriter, Bela Fleck and early jazz music for Hank Smith as a banjo player, Mark O’Connor and Bill Hicks for Pattie Hopkins as a fiddle player, and Steve Earle and classic rock for Patrick Walsh as a vocalist and bass player.

Hunter – So we’re at ten years now and you’ve played a lot of shows. This is obviously a special event and special venue. Can you give me a preview of how the night will unfold on stage?

Lynda – The past ten years have been a true joy for us, and we‘re thrilled to be celebrating this milestone with our hometown fans who have played a huge role in our success, so, we certainly have a big night planned. The set list will include old favorites, as well as brand new material from our upcoming album, and we’ll feature guest appearances by past band members and old friends including the world-renowned Apple Chill Cloggers. We’ll also be recording the show for an upcoming live DVD and anyone in attendance will be part of history, so I can promise we’ll have a big time.

Hunter – You mentioned the Apple Chill Cloggers. Tell me about the other organizations that are involved in helping this show come to life.

Jamie – We’re honored to be working with and playing this show at the Carolina Theatre, which is a beautiful theatre and historic landmark in Durham’s cultural scene. They’ve played a large role in putting on this event, as has Pinecone--the Piedmont Council for Traditional Music, which is an amazing organization that has succeeded in bringing awareness to and promoting roots-based music in the Carolinas and we’re proud to be working with them.

The big event is just a few weeks away. I’ll certainly be there and hope to see all the fans of bluegrass and roots music from the Triangle area at the show. Here are the details:

The Kickin Grass Band 10th Anniversary Show
Saturday, January 14, 2012
The Carolina Theatre of Durham
Tickets are $15 and available at www.carolinatheatre.org and www.pinecone.org, by phone at (919) 560-3030 or toll free (888) 241-8162 or at the Carolina Theatre box office.



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