Friday, November 2, 2007

2007 – 2008 Bluegrass, Big Bands, and More series opens with CLAIRE LYNCH

David Allgood from Tuscaloosa's Bama Theatre emailed this info to me:

( Tuscaloosa ) The Arts Council's fifth annual Bluegrass, Big Bands, and More performing arts series will again bring the sounds of Americana to West Alabama audiences. All concerts will take place at the Bama Theatre, 600 Greensboro Avenue , in downtown Tuscaloosa , Alabama and will begin at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are on sale now at , in person at the Arts Council offices - located on the 2nd floor of the PARA Building , or by phone at 205-758-5195. VISA/MasterCard, Discover, cash, and checks are accepted. All seating is reserved on the floor and in the balcony. Sponsors include Hampton Inn , Alabama Public Radio, and Jim Walter Resources, Inc. For more information and complete biographies of the performers, go to

Claire Lynch -
with opening act Ruby Jane Smith -
Thursday, November 8, 2007
7:30 p.m.
Tickets: $16 (reserved-floor and balcony)

Claire Lynch has long been recognized as a creative influence in bluegrass music – first for her early years with Alabama's Front Porch String Band (which was labeled as “a musical force to be reckoned with” by John Starling), and later for her superb singing and songwriting which have been recorded on five projects for Rounder Records. Two of those recordings were nominated for a Grammy and, among her many other nominations, a win was scored for “Female Vocalist of the Year” with the IBMA (International Bluegrass Music Association) in 1997.

In 2006, after a six-year hiatus from touring, she landed on her feet again with New Day which enjoyed a run on the Bluegrass Album Chart reaching #2, while “Train Long Gone” topped the Bluegrass Song Chart at #1 for two consecutive months. Much of the credit was due to her touring and recording mates (Jim Hurst, Missy Raines, Jason Thomas) who comprise the Claire Lynch Band and are award-winners themselves. Dolly Parton credits Claire with “one of the sweetest, purest and best lead voices in the music business today.” Claire's harmonies have graced the recordings of many stellar musicians, from Ralph Stanley to Linda Ronstadt. Equally gifted as a songwriter, her songs have been recorded by the Seldom Scene, Patty Loveless, Kathy Mattea, the Cherryholmes, the Whites, and others.

By any measure, the Claire Lynch Band is high on the bluegrass world's A-List, with musicians whose accolades include IBMA Female Vocalist of the Year and two Grammy nominations for Best Bluegrass Album (Claire); six IBMA Bass Player of the Year awards ( Missy Raines ); and two IBMA Guitar Player of the Year awards (Jim Hurst). Claire's collaboration with Missy Raines and Jim Hurst dates back to the days of the Front Porch String Band, resulting in a seasoned sound that is simultaneously unpretentious and richly textured. It has a down-home, front porch sensibility—until you realize that it is a rare front porch, indeed, that has ever hosted musicians of this caliber. Jim Hurst throws out impossible leads effortlessly, and the band is grounded by Missy Raines' unerring instinct for the right groove and her lithe, boundary-stretching bass lines. The band's newest member, Toronto native Jason Thomas, brings monster chops on fiddle and mandolin, supported by remarkable musical versatility and imagination that have made him instantly at home in one of the greatest bluegrass bands currently on the scene.

Born on November 17, 1994, in Dallas , TX , Ruby Jane Smith is one of the world's premiere junior fiddlers and a fast-rising star in the landscape of country, bluegrass-Americana music. With deep familial and cultural ties throughout the Southeast, she resides in Columbus , MS , where she homeschools with her mother, JoBelle Smith, when not traveling as a musician, actress, or model.

Ruby Jane exhibited a strong connection to music, beyond a keen interest, as early as age one. The responses to the ancient sounds and rhythms of traditional Hebrew music were noted as remarkable and she began classical violin instruction at age two. At age eight, she was introduced to the sounds of Americana music in Santa Fe , NM , which led to a complete devotion to the stylings of old-time and bluegrass music. Subsequently, she began old-time fiddle lessons, which included the study of its unique bowing techniques, archaic tunings, and depth of expression. After only six fiddle lessons, she won first place in the first fiddle competition she entered, beginning a run of victories that continues to gain momentum.

She was granted an apprenticeship by the Mississippi Arts Commission at age eight to apprentice with Charles T. Smith, one of the last great Mississippi old-time fiddlers. For the past two years, she has competed in dozens of prestigious music competitions and performed with many bluegrass greats, including Marty Stuart, Rhonda Vincent ("The Queen of Bluegrass"), Mike Snider, Jesse McReynolds, Jim Brock, James Monroe, Carl Jackson, and many others.

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