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Breakfast for the Arts May 22

The Cabarrus Arts Council’s 2015 Breakfast for the Arts will take place Friday, May 22, at Embassy Suites Hotel and Convention Center, Concord.

The fundraiser will include outstanding entertainment, inspirational talks, a free hot breakfast and lots of fun.  About 700 people are expected , and they will be immersed in the arts from the minute they arrive for the tightly packed one-hour program.

Reservations are required for admission; reserve your seat by Friday, May 15, by calling 704-920-2787 or emailing  Please help us meet our fund drive goal!

Blues Legend Mac Arnold Back at the Davis May 1

Mac Arnold and Plate Full O’ Blues is returning to the Davis Theatre, Friday, May 1, at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $26 and may be purchased 24 hours a day online and Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. in the box office, in person or via telephone, 704-920-2753.

Mac Arnold is a blues legend. His first band had James Brown, THE “I Feel Good” James Brown, on piano. He followed that up by recording with Muddy Waters, Otis Spann and John Lee Hooker. He co-produced Soul Train, provided bass for the Sanford and Son television show and played with Otis Redding and B.B. King. He even has an honorary doctorate in music from the University of South Carolina.

Arnold tells stories you’ll still be talking about a year from now and plays bass, rhythm gas can guitar, slide gas can guitar and sings. Plate Full O’ Blues also includes Austin Brashier, guitar and vocal; Max Hightower, harmonica, piano, keyboards, guitar, bass and vocals; and Jeffrey Scott Hawkins, drums.

Here’s what a few people have said about Mac Arnold and Plate Full O’ Blues:

  • “This is old-school at its finest.” Blues Review
  • “A plate full of blues?… this is the whole dang meal.” Creative Loafing
  • “One of the most original voices in blues.” Jazz Now
  • “…one remaining virtual blues goldmine is Mac Arnold.” All Music Guide
  • “The voice is appropriately seasoned and credible…his group able to match his bursts with formidable riffs and licks.” Nashville City Paper

Arnold has been nominated for best male Traditional Blues Artist at the Blues Music Awards and his return to music spawned a documentary Nothing to Prove: The Story of Mac Arnold’s Return to the Blues, which was nominated for a Blues Music Award. Click for more information about Arnold and his band.

This performance will be the last in the 2014-15 Davis Theatre season. Next year’s line-up will be announced soon.

David Domingo and the Fuzzbucket Music Company at the Davis April 23

David Domingo and the Fuzzbucket Music Company’s updated version of the old-fashioned variety show is returning to the Davis Theatre on Thursday, April 23.  The show was postponed from its original Feb. 26 date due to snow.

The show will be at 7:30 p.m. in the theatre located in the Cabarrus County Historic Courthouse, 65 Union St. S, Concord.  Tickets are $15 and may be purchased online 24 hours a day or at the box office, Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., in person of via telephone, 704-920-2753.

The Fuzzbucket Music Company show is what you would get if you merged The Ed Sullivan Show, A Prairie Home Companion and the Grand Ole Opry. It is the brainchild of David Domingo of Kannapolis who founded the group in 2001 while he was living in Florida. He operates Wigglyroad Multi Media Productions, a recording, film and art studio where the idea for Fuzzbucket was born. The show includes a revolving line-up of musicians, singers and other performers.

The show is anchored by the house band, the Fuzzbucket Players. The modern folk/bluegrass/country/gospel band includes Domingo, vocals, guitar and bass guitar; Jim Cooper, vocals and 12-string guitar; Marty DeJarnette, fingerstyle lead guitar; Sam Falls, percussion; and Miriam Stirewalt, vocals.

The Fuzzbucket Players will be joined by a diverse line-up of performers:

  • Rocksbury, Celtic fusion music featuring Corey Peña on the mandolin and Irish step dancer Hannah Simmons
  • Shane Manier, poet, artist and founder of Guerilla Poets
  • Michael G. Nolan, singer-songwriter who was nominated for Folk Artist of the Year by the Charlotte Music Awards
  • Mitch Hayes, singer-songwriter who plays original folk and Americana music
  • Cathy Taormina and Sylvia Schultz, classic opera duet

Art on Tap Invites You to a Lawn Party and Reggae Performance by the Sun-Dried Vibes on April 16

If the warm weather has you dreaming of going to a tropical island and your bank account makes that impossible, you will be happy to get a taste of the Caribbean at the arts council on Thursday, April 16.

Art on Tap is sponsoring a Caribbean-style party on the lawn outside the Historic Cabarrus Courthouse from 5:30 to 7 p.m. followed by a concert by the reggae rock group Sun-Dried Vibes at 7:30 p.m. in the Davis Theatre.

Art on Tap is the Cabarrus Arts Council’s new young adult group whose purpose is to develop arts leaders and awareness of the arts council. The group hopes to bring in 30 new members at this event. To join the group, come to the party and sit in the Art on Tap section at the concert, click.

The Sun-Dried Lawn Party will feature Jamaican food and drinks and reggae music.  The party will continue after the concert with free tropical flavored ice cream from Cabarrus Creamery at Lil’ Robert’s place. The party is an Art on Tap membership event but open to anyone attending the Sun-Dried Vibes concert for $20.  Reservations must be made by April 13 by calling 704-920-2787.

Sun-Dried Vibes provides a fresh twist to the reggae rock genre with their high-energy live performances that crank out infectious sing-a-longs laced with a positive message. Since the group’s inception in 2010, the trio has played about 275 shows a year and recorded two albums. Their second album, “Back2Square1″ debuted on the iTunes Reggae Charts at #6. They took home back-to-back “Rock Band of the Year” awards in 2012 and 2013 and were voted “Charlotte’s Best Local Band” by readers of Creative Loafing in 2012.

They played the major festival “Carolina Roots: Carolina Sessions” in Wilmington and toured the Virgin Islands in 2014. Their Davis Theatre performance is after their 23-stop spring “Look into the Stars” tour of North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida and before their first national tour in which they will play at the largest reggae festival in the world, the California Roots Music and Arts Festival.  A third album, to be recorded in California, is also in the works.

Sun-Dried Vibes is Zach Fowler, lead vocals and guitar; Evan Tyler, bass; and Alex Winchester, drums. Listen to their music.

Semantics on Display Through May 16 at The Galleries

A new exhibition featuring words, phrases, symbols, language and literature in conjunction with artworks of varying media will be on display at The Galleries through May 16.

The group invitational includes works by eight artists: Andrew Coombs, Stephanie DeArmond, Kiki Farish, Andy Farkas, Connie Norman, Merrill Shatzman, Geoffrey Stein, Barbara C. Thomas and Ali Wieboldt.

An opening reception for the show will be held during the downtown Concord Art Walk on Friday, March  27, 6-9 p.m.

For more information, call 704-920-2787.

Jeff Little Trio to Perform at the Davis Theatre March 20

“Jeff Little tore the place apart with his wondrously quick and articulate piano style. He is tricky and playful, yet always intelligent and richly melodic.” – The Boston Globe


“Jeff Little is a remarkable musician, steeped in the tradition of his native Blue Ridge, yet also a virtuosic and eclectic innovator.” – National Public Radio


“there is also a more contemporary mountain tradition in Jeff’s performance. His lead solos are breathtaking in their speed, precision and clarity.” – The National Council for the Traditional Arts “American Piano Masters”


“Jeff Little delivered impressive unaccompanied versions of both “Orange Blossom Special” and “Whole Lot of Shakin’ Goin’ On.” Just as Doc Watson once adapted fast tricky fiddle tunes to the guitar, so has Little to the piano.” The Washington Post



The Jeff Little Trio will perform at the Davis Theatre Friday, March 20, at 8 p.m. as part of the theatre’s flagship On Stage at the Davis series. Tickets are $25 and may be purchased online and at the box office.  Box office hours are Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.  For more information, call 704-920-2753 or visit Listen to a unique version of “Dueling Banjos.”

Little makes piano his lead instrument, rare in Appalachian or Americana music. His distinctive two-handed style, much influenced by the mountain flat-picked guitar tradition, is breathtaking in its speed, precision and clarity.

Little’s involvement with fiddle tunes, old time country, and traditional blues began in childhood in his family’s music shop in Boone, where he would sit in with Doc Watson and other musicians beginning around age 6.  He has been a professional musician since the age of 14 and has played at the Smithsonian Institution, the National Folk Festival and MerleFest.  He has performed in Sri Lanka, Bahrain, Oman, France and Tanzania on US Government goodwill tours and been on NPR and PBS several times.

Steve Lewis is one of the most respected acoustic musicians in the country.  He is well known for his flat picking on guitar and his mastery of the five string banjo. Steve is a two-time National Banjo Champion and also has won guitar and banjo competitions at the Walnut Valley Nationals, MerleFest, the Galax Old Time Fiddlers Convention, Renofest and the Wayne Henderson Guitar Competition.
Rounding out the trio is highly sought after upright bass master Josh Scott.  He has been featured on stage and in the studio with many critically acclaimed acoustic and Americana artists.

‘Interactive Lines’ Drawing Exhibition on Display Through March 6

An exhibition that explores the transformation of drawing as a medium will be on display through March 6 at The Galleries.

Interactive Lines includes two- and three-dimensional works by nine artists: David Bonagurio, Sue Bryan, Erin Canady, Tim Christensen, Tim Ford, Fred Johnston, Jennifer Mecca, Janvier Rollande and Art Venti.

“Works from this small group invitational intend to expand the definition of drawing in relation to line, form, gesture and representation,” said Rebecca Collins, curator for exhibition and visual arts director of the Cabarrus Council which operates The Galleries. “The exhibition will highlight how mark making has been pushed, stretched and redefined as a mechanism of expression.”

The second part of the exhibition includes a gallery space that will transform into a live drawing room.  “We will line the walls with paper, invite professional artists to initialize the manipulation of the space with original drawings and open this interactive experience to the general public,” Collins said.  “Materials and loose guidelines will be available.  The intention of this experience is to inspire people to become involved with both the viewing and the making of art.  All are welcome and none are expected to adhere to the traditional ideas of drawing.  My hope is to inspire creativity through interaction.”

Interactive Lines includes artists from several states, most of whom have not shown at The Galleries previously:

  • David Bonagurio lives and works in Syracuse, NY, and has taught at Syracuse University.  His work is primarily drawing and painting, in which he uses figurative imagery to address personal and larger social issues which affect perspective and perception.
  • Sue Bryan lives and works in New York City. Born and raised in Ireland, she says her” passion for drawing lies in the compelling urge to capture the things that inherently move me.” She finds the act of drawing always challenging, ever evolving and constantly changing.
  • Erin Canady lives and works in Chapel Hill. Her mixed media drawings focus on taking mechanical parts out of their original context and restructuring them to form undefined shapes and variation of line, leaving viewers with a visual puzzle in which they can search for their own connections.
  • Tim Christensen lives in a small cabin near the ocean in Surrey, ME, and often works on an island called Despair surrounded by seals, a family of eagles and his dog.  He makes narrative porcelain pieces that are “about the times in which we live, and the challenges of living in a time in which we are divorced from the natural world around us.”
  • Tim Ford lives in the North Carolina mountains and teaches at Appalachian State University. He uses a variety of tools, such as graphic, paint and charcoal, to express his ideas.  His work is a response to the people he interacts with and is influenced by memories, fears and desires.
  • Fred Johnston is a Seagrove potter who learned to make clay pieces by working odd jobs around some of the potteries there. His work is rooted in the Southern folk pottery traditions of North Carolina but also draws from many other cultures, including Greek, Korean, Chinese, Pre-Columbian, European and Mimbres.  His shapes and decorations are bold, distinctive and imaginative.
  • Jennifer Mecca is a New York native who lives and works in Gastonia.  She is a utilitarian potter whose goal is to make pots that visually pleasing and unique in character but also useful in everyday life. She enjoys making serving pieces and tableware that delight to the daily activity of setting a table and enjoying a meal.
  • Janvier Rollande lives and works in Maine.  Working solely in graphite, Maine artist she creates highly detailed yet sensitive portraits. She begins her work with photographic studies in an attempt to get a better sense of the sitter and capture natural poses.
  • Art Venti was born in New York City and now lives and works in southern California. He works predominantly in colored pencils, creating amorphic shapes that are gracefully caught in movement.  His work has elements of abstraction and glimpses of “reality.” His objective is to take a fresh look at the traditional landscape.

The Galleries are open Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.  There will be an opening reception for the exhibition Friday, Jan. 30, 6-9 p.m., during Art Walk. There are special activities for children, including the “I Spy” in conjunction with the exhibition.  Admission and activities are free.  For more information, call 704-920-2787.

See Jim Avett at the Davis Theatre Thursday, Feb. 12

Singer/songwriter Jim Avett will be back at the Davis Theatre Thursday, Feb. 12, with the band he’ll be taking to the iconic Merlefest in North Wilkesboro in April. They will be playing a blend of country, folk and gospel music.

The show will be at 7:30 p.m. in the theatre located at 65 Union St. S, Concord, in the Cabarrus County Historic Courthouse.  Tickets are $17 and may be purchased online 24 hours a day or at the box office, Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., in person of via telephone, 704-920-2753. Only a few tickets remain, so don’t delay if you want to see this show.

Joining Avett will be Patrick Crouch, bass and guitar; Hannah Flowers, fiddle; and his daughter, Bonnie Avett Rini, harmonies.

Avett calls Crouch of Lenoir a “master musician.”  He plays in a band called “Strictly Clean and Decent” that has opened for Ricky Skaggs, Doc Watson and Vassar Clements and played everywhere from the Biltmore House to the Bluegrass and Old Tyme Music Festival in Cork, Ireland. With the assistance of Grassroots Grants from the NC Arts Council, the band recorded a series of 10 CDs featuring traditional Caldwell County musicians.

Fiddler Hannah Flowers is part of the Flowers Family Band, which is the backbone of the current version of WBT radio’s Legendary Briarhoppers.

Avett’s daughter, Bonnie, has been singing with her dad and her famous brothers, Scott and Seth of The Avett Brothers, all her life.  The four of them released an album of gospel songs, Jim Avett and Family, in 2008.  This will be the third time that Bonnie has appeared at the Davis Theatre with her father.

Avett has been all over the place since his show last year at the Davis.  In September and October, he did 14 shows in 30 days in places as far flung as Portland, Chicago, Michigan, California and Texas. He is looking forward to playing at the Davis and will include a few songs that “you wouldn’t ever hear anywhere else unless you were in Tom T. Hall’s house.”

Brand New Opry at the Davis Theatre Jan. 29

Local favorite Brand New Opry be back at the Davis Theatre on Thursday, Jan. 29.

The traditional bluegrass show hosted by Jeff Whittington begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Davis Theatre, 65 Union St. S in the Cabarrus County Historic Courthouse. Tickets are $15 and may be purchased 24 hours a day online.  Tickets also may be purchased at the box office, Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., in person or via telephone, 704-920-2753. The box office will be closed Dec. 20-Jan. 4.

Brand New Opry features an all-star line-up of some of the best musicians in our area:  Whittington, banjo; John Culbreath, fiddle; Pete Corum, bass; Mike Wood, guitar; and Jason Wood, mandolin. The show will include some newer classics and the band’s most requested songs.

Whittington performed on the Grand Ole Opry and was a staff musician with the Arthur Smith Show. He has been featured on commercials and movie soundtracks.  A former North Carolina Banjo Champion, he plays banjo, pedal steel, Dobro, and guitar with the Brand New Opry.

Culbreath has performed with such bluegrass greats as Vassar Clements and Mac Wiseman, as well as being a former SC State Banjo Champion. He plays fiddle, guitar, mandolin, and banjo.

Corum toured with bluegrass legend Lester Flatt’s Nashville Grass, playing at the Grand Ole Opry, on television and all over the United States and Canada, and appeared Off Broadway and in the movie Cotton Patch Gospel. He plays bass and sings.

Mike Wood began his career at the age of 14 as guitar player for his father and renowned banjoist, Al Wood and the Smokey Mountain Boys.  His first major show was Bill Monroe’s world famous bluegrass festival in Bean Blossom, Indiana.  In the 1980s, he joined with mandolinist Herschel Sizemore to form the Country Grass.  He also sings bluegrass-gospel with his wife and family band, The Wood Family Tradition.

Jason Wood, Mike Wood’s son, began playing guitar when he was 7, began playing bass with his grandfather’s band when he was 13 and took up his main instrument, the left-handed mandolin, at 17.  He toured with Constant Change and recorded “The Song of the Mountain” with bluegrass legend Curly Seckler. He also has played with Audie Blaylock and Redline and The Band.

The Jan. 29 show is the second of three Brand New Opry shows at the Davis Theatre this season. The other performance is on Thursday, March 5.

Davis Theatre Tickets Make Great Gifts

Davis Theatre tickets make great holiday gifts!

While the box office will be closed Dec. 25-Jan. 5, you may continue to buy tickets online 24 hours a day. The Davis Theatre is located in the Historic Cabarrus County Courthouse at 65 Union St., S, Concod

The 2014-15 season includes eight performances January-May:

On Stage at the Davis

  • The Steel Wheels, Americana
    Saturday, Jan. 24, 8 p.m., $34

This dynamic four-piece string band from the Blue Ridge Mountains marries old-time musical style with their own innovation.  They are renowned for their raw energy and chemistry on stage and memorable bell-clear four-part harmonies.  They have won the Independent Music Award for Best Country Song and Americana Album of the Year.  Tickets are extremely limited.

  • Jeff Little Trio, Appalachian Blues
    Friday, March 20, 8 p.m., $25

Deemed the “Piano Man of the Blue Ridge,’ Jeff Little makes piano his lead instrument, rare in Appalachian or Americana music.  His distinctive two-handed style, much influenced by the mountain flat-picked guitar tradition, is breathtaking in its speed, precision and clarity.  He is joined by Steve Lewis, a two-time National Banjo Champion, and Josh Scott, a highly sought-after bassist.

  • Mac Arnold and Plate Full ‘O Blues, Blues
    Friday, May 1, 8 p.m., $26

Mac Arnold’s first band had James Brown on piano.  He followed that up by recording with Otis Spann and John Lee Hooker.  He co-produced Soul Train, provided bass for the Sanford and Son television show and played with Otis Redding and B.B. King.  Now, by popular demand, the blues legend and his band are back at the Davis Theatre.

Other Davis Theatre Performances

  • Brand New Opry, Bluegrass
    Thursday, Jan. 29, and Thursday, March 5, 7:30 p.m., $15

A thoroughly enjoyable evening of traditional bluegrass featuring Jeff Whittington, banjo; John Culbreath, fiddle; Pete Corum, bass; Mike Wood, guitar; and Jason Wood, mandolin.

  • Jim Avett, Folk
    Thursday, Feb. 12, 7:30 p.m., $17

Singer/songwriter Avett plays beloved country songs and his original tunes as he tells stories about his life.

  • David Domingo and the Fuzzbucket Music Company, Variety
    Thursday, Feb. 26, 7:30 p., $15

This contemporary take on the old-fashioned variety show includes ragtime, piano, country, gospel, folk, acoustic, R&B and alternative music as well as poetry and family-friendly humor.

  • Sun-Dried Vibes, Reggae Rock
    Thursday, April 16, 7:30 p.m., $15

South Carolina’s 2012 and 2013 Rock Band of the Year, this trio brings a fresh new twist to the reggae/rock genre.