Simply put, Alice Gerrard is a talent of legendary status. In a career spanning some 50 years, she has known, learned from, and performed with many of the old-time and bluegrass greats and has in turn earned worldwide respect for her own important contributions to the music.
Alice is particularly known for her groundbreaking collaboration with Appalachian singer Hazel Dickens during the 1960s and ’70s. The duo produced four classic LPs (recently reissued by Rounder on CD) and influenced scores of young women singers — even The Judds acknowledge Hazel and Alice as an important early inspiration.
One of the most respected guitar players in old time music today, Beverly Smith is also in demand as a singer, fiddler, and dance caller. Besides her three highly praised recordings of early country duets with mandolinist Carl Jones, her guitar playing has been featured on recordings of fiddlers Bruce Molsky, Rafe Stefanini, Tara Nevins and Brad Leftwich, and her singing with Mick Moloney, John Doyle, Laurie Lewis and others. Along with June Drucker, Rose Sinclair and Tara Nevins, she was a founding member of The Heartbeats Rhythm Quartet. She has taught guitar, fiddle and dance at music camps including Ashokan Southern Week, Augusta Heritage, Swannanoa Gathering, Blue Ridge Old-Time Music Week, Festival of American Fiddle Tunes and Summer Acoustic Music Week as well as Sore Fingers UK; Haapavesi, Finland; and La Fuente del Musica in Spain. She has been a featured guest on A Prairie Home Companion, ETown, Mountain Stage and Voice of America, has toured extensively in both the US and the UK, and has played concert halls and festivals all over Europe, Canada and the US. Her guitar playing was featured in the October 2000 issue of Acoustic Guitar Magazine. Besides her duo with John Grimm, Beverly currently plays and tours with Alice Gerrard, the indisputable Queen of Old Time Music.
Although Ginny Hawker and Tracy Schwarz have been singing together only 16 years, their strong, soul-stirring singing makes you feel their devotion to the place from which their music springs. As they wrap their songs in stories of the people and the places of the music, audiences are transported to another time when life was more real and families were held close. Their harmonies are hair-raising and representative of the finest American traditional music.
Home for Ginny and Tracy is the small village of Tanner, West Virginia in the heart of Appalachia. Ginny is a native of Halifax County, Virginia where she grew up in a large extended family of singers and musicians. Tracy grew up in New jersey and New England where his strongest memories are of days spent on the neighbors’ farm in southern Vermont. Ginny and Tracy met in 1988 when both were on staff at the Ashokan Fiddle and Dance Camp near Woodstock, NY. They soon discovered that, despite their differing childhoods, they shared a deep understanding of and love for the music of the rural south. It was Ginny’s birthright and Tracy’s lifetime devotion.
Ginny’s father, Ben Hawker, was her mentor growing up. Together, they taught the beautiful old singing of his Primitive Baptist Church for ten years at the Augusta Heritage Workshops in Elkins, WV. He went with her to the Smithsonian, the Chicago Folk Festival and the Vancouver Folk Festival where their family harmony left an indelible memory with their listeners. Ben also introduced her to early Bluegrass harmony through the oral tradition. Ginny continues to honor his style and grace with her singing and storytelling.
When they met in 1988, Tracy had already spent 26 years as a member of The New Lost City Ramblers, the traditional stringband responsible for introducing urban audiences to southern rural music in the 60’s and 70’s. He was also deep into Cajun music, playing accordion, fiddle, guitar, and always singing in such a soulful way that many people worldwide were drawn to the music he represented so well. The Ramblers have twice been nominated for a Grammy.
For the past 15 years, Ginny and Tracy have appeared in concerts and festivals throughout the United States, Canada, and England. Each summer they teach southern traditional singing at several music camps introducing people to the music they love. Recently they have started teaching students in their West Virginia home.
In concert, Ginny and Tracy will cover everything from the beautiful unaccompanied ballads of the south to early Bluegrass duets to the songs of The Carter Family. You’ll hear fiddle tunes, gospel songs as done in rural families, even some classic country songs. What their concerts will lack is “fillers.” Every song they do means something special to them and will invite you to join them in the celebration of your heritage.
Suzannah comes from a family of three generations of traditional singers, storytellers and dancers and is happily making music touring about the country from concert halls to music parties back at home.
Currently living in her native town of Asheville, NC she finds time for many sewing projects and grand meals while off the road. In 2008 she married her singing partner and childhood friend, Nathan Morrison and together they lead the Wild Asheville Community Chorus. While in town Suzannah also gleefully dons her orange calico dress and matching bloomers and dances with the Green Grass Cloggers.
While on the road Suzannah travels mostly up and down both American coasts but finds time to jump over seas as well. Weather singing solo or in her various ensembles you can find her teaching singing at camps performing at festivals and kicking up her heels when the music starts.