Carnegie Hall is excited to announce its 2021-22 Mainstage Performance schedule as it prepares for its 38th season of “Bringing the Arts to Life.” Tickets go on sale to Carnegie Hall Members on Thursday, Sept. 23, and to the general public on Thursday, Sept. 30.
The season begins with Hillbilly Gypsies and Bobby Thompson on Friday, Oct. 22. The Hillbilly Gypsies are best known for their high-energy live performances. They have entertained the crowd at major festivals, fairs, and concert venues across the mid-Atlantic region and abroad. Their “Old Timey” approach adds an authentic barn party atmosphere to their shows. Watching the whole band work around the single mic is like taking a trip back in time. It’ll sure make you want to get up and dance!
Opening will be Bobby Thompson who is known for rarely slowing down, he’s fronted bands like Blueheart Revivial and Revelator Hill, and been a sideman for artists such as Justin Jones (930 Club Records), Laura Tsaggaris, and he once even toured with SOJA for three months back in 2009. He has taken all he has learned, playing an array of musical styles, and packaged them into who is he is today: a quintessential rock’n roll performer, that doubles as acoustic singer-songwriter, easily balancing between the two.
Following the opener will be John R. Miller with Drift Mouth on Friday, Nov. 19. John R Miller is a true hyphenate artist: singer-songwriter-picker. Every song on his thrilling upcoming debut solo album, Depreciated, is lush with intricate wordplay and haunting imagery, as well as being backed by a band that is on fire. One of his biggest long-time fans is roots music favorite Tyler Childers, who says he’s “a well-travelled wordsmith mapping out the world he’s seen, three chords at a time.” Miller is somehow able to transport us to a shadowy honkytonk and get existential all in the same line with his tightly written compositions. Miller’s own guitar playing is on fine display here along with vocals that evoke the whitewaters of the Potomac River rumbling below the high ridges of his native Shenandoah Valley.
Drift Mouth has been described by Mike Elliott, Americana UK as the sweet spot between the guitar crunch of Crazy Horse and Drive-By Truckers and the lyrical storytelling of the best hard country of Appalachia.
Back by popular demand, the holiday concert will feature the West Virginia Symphony Orchestra on Friday, Dec. 3. WVSO is West Virginia’s premier performing arts organization, presenting classical, pop, and chamber-music concerts annually throughout the Mountain State.
Carnegie Hall’s first show of 2022 will be Crys Matthews on Friday, Jan. 21. A southeastern North Carolina native who now calls Herndon, VA, home, Matthews blends Americana, folk, jazz, blues, bluegrass, and funk into a bold, complex performance steeped in traditional melodies and punctuated by honest, original lyrics. She has been compared to everyone from Toshi Reagon to Tracy Chapman to Ruthie Foster.
Amy Helm will grace Carnegie Hall’s stage on St. Patrick’s Day,Thursday, Mar. 17, 2022. This will be the first out of three shows within 15 days. Already being hailed as “the next Woody Guthrie,” DC resident Crys Matthews is among the brightest stars of the new generation of social justice music-makers. A powerful lyricist whose songs of compassionate dissent reflect her lived experience as what she lightheartedly calls “the poster-child for intersectionality,” Justin Hiltner of Bluegrass Situation called Matthews’s gift “a reminder of what beauty can occur when we bridge those divides.” She is made for these times and, with the release of her new, hope-fueled, love-filled social justice album Changemakers, Matthews hopes to take her place alongside some of her heroes in the world of social-justice music like Sweet Honey in the Rock and Holly Near. Of Matthews, ASCAP VP & Creative Director Eric Philbrook says, “By wrapping honest emotions around her socially conscious messages and dynamically delivering them with a warm heart and a strong voice, she lifts our spirits just when we need it most in these troubled times.
The following week Carnegie Hall will present Steel Wheels on Saturday, Mar. 26. The Steel Wheels have long been at home in the creative space between tradition and innovation, informed by the familiar sounds of the Virginia mountains where the band was formed, but always moving forward with insightful lyrics and an evolving sound. In 2005, Jay Lapp (vocals, guitars, mandolin) and Eric Brubaker (vocals, fiddle) joined lead singer Trent Wagler (guitar, banjo) in forming the band as a vehicle for Wagler’s songwriting. They released several albums under Wagler’s moniker, before officially adopting the The Steel Wheels name with the 2010 release of Red Wing. Quickly staking their claim as independent upstarts in the burgeoning Americana scene, The Steel Wheels followed up this release with three more self-produced albums in the next five years, before joining forces with producer Sam Kassirer for Wild As We Came Here (2017) and Over The Trees (2019). Kevin Garcia (drums, percussion, keys) joined in 2017, bringing a new level of sonic depth and polish to the outfit. Having gained the experience of thousands of shows, festivals and many miles on the road, the stubbornly independent band has formed deep bonds with each other and the audience that sustains them.
The third performance of the back-to-back-to-back will be the Honey Dewdrops on Friday, Apr. 1. Laura Wortman and Kagey Parrish, together known as Americana duo The Honey Dewdrops, have long felt the push and pull between their original roots in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia and their current home in Baltimore, MD. It is in the sound of their harmony-soaked songs, blended with the tones of guitar, banjo, and mandolin and also in the group’s songwriting, which reflects the beautiful and hard realities of today. Artistically, Wortman and Parrish are inspired by American folk and traditional music and their sound expands on that style and showcases the dynamism and intimacy of musical duos.
The final performance will be Tuba Skinny on Friday, May 20. Formed in in 2009, Tuba Skinny has steadily evolved from a loose collection of street musicians into a solid ensemble dedicated to bringing the traditional New Orleans sound to audiences around the world. Drawing on a wide range of musical influences – from spirituals to Depression-era blues, from ragtime to traditional jazz – their sound evokes the rich musical heritage of their New Orleans home. The band has gained a loyal following through their distinctive sound, their commitment to reviving long-lost songs, and their barnstorming live performances.
Carnegie Hall WV is a nonprofit organization supported by individual contributions, grants, and fundraising efforts such as TOOT and The Carnegie Hall Gala. The Hall is located at 611 Church Street, Lewisburg. For more information, please call 304-645-7917 or visit www.carnegiehallwv.org.