Music : The real deal
For those of us who ordinarily cringe at the faintest sound or mention of the modern folk/country music genre, so dominated by hokey lyrics, pretentious open-tuned finger-picked guitar noodlings, and affected southern drawls, the concert on Friday, June 13 presents no cause to cower. Bruce Molsky, who has spent the past two decades exploring and performing a wide range of traditional music, possesses none of these negative attributes.
His appearance on the Vineyard is much anticipated by both Island musicians and fans because, in straight terms, Mr. Molsky is the real deal. He sings with a strong, honest voice and, with masterful dexterity, plays guitar, fiddle, and banjo in a manner that dazzles both ear and eye. Mr. Molsky, who tours internationally, has performed at Lincoln Center in New York and The Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, D.C.
It is a rare opportunity to hear this music of the Appalachian, European, and blues folk traditions played with such authenticity and originality.
Mr. Molsky's style can be likened to that of the late John Hartford or perhaps to the earlier folk recordings of Tom Rush, but Mr. Molsky has paid his dues and stands on his own. He is a regular instructor at Mark O'Connor Fiddle Camp, Rocky Mountain Fiddle Camp, Alasdair Fraser's Valley of the Moon, Sierra Fiddle Camps, and Swannanoa Gathering. He has appeared on "A Prairie Home Companion," NPR's "All Things Considered," as well as on the BBC. He received a Grammy nomination for his work on the album "Fiddlers Four" with Darol Anger, Michael Doucet, and Rushad Eggleston.
Mr. Molsky's most recent record, "Soon Be Time" is an impressive recording that richly captures the depth of his stage performance. It is filled with soulful adaptations of familiar melodies.
He is now in the midst of a full touring schedule that will take him up and down the eastern seaboard, and then on to Europe, Japan, and Australia.
All this and Martha's Vineyard too. Bruce Molsky will play at the Katharine Cornell Theatre as part of KCT Concerts, the series organized by musical couple Mary Wolverton and Gregg Harcourt, and which is funded in part by a grant from the Martha's Vineyard Cultural Council.
Bruce Molsky, Friday, June 13, 8 pm, Katharine Cornell Theatre. Tickets can be purchased ahead of time at Alley's General Store, Island Entertainment, or at Aboveground Records for $20, or at the door for $25.
Colin Ruel writes regularly about music for The Times.