Railroad & Work Songs: 2014 Theme for RiddleFest in the Appalachians

Railroad & Work Songs: 2014 Theme for RiddleFest in the Appalachians

RiddleFest, presented annually by Traditional Voices Group, honors native son and musician Lesley Riddle, who played a critical role in the development and early practice of American country music. This year's celebration, June 21 and 22, focuses on railroad and work songs of the southern Appalachian Mountains through a variety of programs and performances in Burnsville NC and at the Historic Orchard at Altapass off the Blue Ridge Parkway near Spruce Pine. Professor Lee Bidgood and students from East Tennessee State University's Program in Bluegrass, Old Time, and Country Music Studies will be the featured musicians.

 Lee Bidgood is a musician and scholar, performing and researching a wide range of traditional musical styles. He has performed on mandolin and fiddle with North Carolina bands the Steep Canyon Rangers and Big Fat Gap.

The 2014 RiddleFest celebration begins with Super Saturday at the Orchard at Altapass, 10:30-noon, where children will learn mountain railroad and work songs from ETSU students and make a take-away CD of their singing. Saturday afternoon, 2-4 pm, Prof. Bidgood will lead a lecture/demonstration at the Burnsville Town Center about the history and variety of railroad and work songs in the mountains.

Saturday evening the annual RiddleFest Concert takes place at the Burnsville Town Center, 7-9 pm, presented by Lee Bidgood and the ETSU Bluegrass and Old Time Bands. Tickets to the Concert are $10.00 each and are available from Traditional Voices Group by calling 828-682-9654 or through the Burnsville Town Center at 828-682-7209.

On Sunday, Bidgood and the ETSU students will play the regular free afternoon concert, 1-4 pm, at the Historic Orchard at Altapass. Visitors can dance and sing along to traditional work and railroad songs.

 Free programs are made possible by a grant from the North Carolina Humanities Council. For questions, please call Traditional Voices Group at 828-682-9654.