Ballads: Archie Fisher, Rich Kirby, Kay Justice, Carol Elizabeth Jones


Mountain Lake Lodge

115 Hotel Circle, Pembroke VA

Crooked Road Concerts


7:00 PM

This concert truly brings “The Year We Sang” 2017 Homecoming theme to life through outstanding interpreters of ballad and traditional songs from four master tradition bearers, who will share their stories and songs in a beautiful setting beside Mountain Lake.

Archie Fisher is a Scottish folk singer and songwriter of legendary status. A native of Glasgow, Scotland, he grew up in a musical family, listening to opera and vaudeville as well as traditional ballads and Gaelic songs. During the 1950s Fisher was influenced by British Skiffle music as well as by the American urban folk music group The Weavers. In the 1960s and 1970s, Fisher performed regularly with his younger sister Ray on television in Scotland. He recorded his first album in 1968, and thereafter he performed as a backing musician (on guitar) and arranger for the Tommy Makem and Liam Clancy duo. In the 1970s, Fisher recorded his acclaimed albums The Man With A Rhyme and Will Ye Gang, Love. Meanwhile, he produced recordings for other musicians, including of the popular Scottish band Silly Wizard. During the 1980s Fisher produced several series of documentary radio programs and also released a popular live album with his touring partner Garnet Rogers. In 1996 Fisher’s next album Sunsets I’ve Galloped Into was spotlighted on National Public Radio. Following the success of that release, Archie toured throughout North America with British guitarists John Renbourn and Bert Jansch. Fisher has released two subsequent albums, Windward Away (2008) and A Silent Song (2015), combining performances of his own compositions with those of traditional Scottish songs.

For several decades Scott County, Virginia-native Rich Kirby has been committed to uplifting old-time mountain music in multiple roles—as performer, researcher, radio host, record producer, and workshop leader. He performs many kinds of old-time music, including ballads, many of which he learned from his grandmother, traditional singer Addie Graham (1890-1978), who lived in eastern Kentucky. For years Kirby worked as a radio host and producer at Appalshop, the media cooperative located in Whitesburg, Kentucky. During the 1970s he performed with John McCutcheon and Tom Bledsoe as the trio known as Wry Straw, and he recorded three albums for the June Appal label, including an acclaimed album of coal mining songs recorded with folklorist Michael Kline. In 1978 Kirby produced an album of his grandmother’s music, Been A Long Time Traveling, and in 2015 he produced the compilation album, The Very Day I’m Gone: The Songs of Addie Graham, featuring performances of his grandmother’s repertoire by a range of talented roots musicians, including Kirby himself.

Kay Justice, a talented folk and old-time singer, lives in Wytheville, Virginia. She has a rich repertoire of traditional songs and ballads, and she is equally compelling when singing solo and as part of a duo. In the latter role, she has recorded three critically acclaimed albums as a duo with Ginny Hawker, Signs & Wonders, Come All You Tenderhearted and Bristol: A Tribute to the Music of the Original Carter Family. Justice has shared her singing abilities and repertoire as a master artist with the Apprenticeship Program of the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities.

Carol Elizabeth Jones is a songwriter and an acclaimed traditional singer with many albums to her credit, including two as part of the folk duo Jones and Leva, two of country and bluegrass duets with Laurel Bliss, an album with Hazel Dickens and Ginny Hawker, and a solo album entitled Cataloochee. Jones has also been included on several anthologies, including the best-selling O Sister: Women In Bluegrassand the award-winning On Top of Old Smoky: New Old-Time Smoky Mountain Music. A regular on Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion during 2006-07, she has performed with several groups, including the Wildcats, the Wandering Ramblers, The New Reeltime Travelers, and the Green Grass Cloggers, and she has performed and taught at festivals throughout North America. Additionally, Jones toured in Africa and in Southeast Asia as a cultural ambassador for the U.S. Information Agency. Her ballad singing will be showcased on a compilation of Appalachian balladry to be released by the Great Smoky Mountains Association in 2017.