Ballads:Archie Fisher, Sheila Kay Adams and Elizabeth LaPrelle


E&H College - McGlothlin Center for the Arts

30481 Garnand Drive, Emory VA

Crooked Road Concerts


7:00 PM

Archie Fisher, a native of Glasgow, Scotland, 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.

A seventh-generation ballad singer, storyteller, and claw-hammer banjo player, Sheila Kay Adams was born and raised in the Sodom Laurel community of Madison County, North Carolina, an area renowned for its unbroken tradition of unaccompanied singing of traditional southern Appalachian ballads dating back to the early Scots/Irish and English settlers in the mid-17th century. Adams learned to sing from her great-aunt Dellie Chandler Norton and other notable singers in the community such as, Dillard Chandler and the Wallin Family. In addition to ballad singing, Adams is an accomplished clawhammer-style banjo player and storyteller. She began performing in public in her teens and, throughout her career she has performed at festivals, events, music camps, and workshops around the USA and the United Kingdom. Adams has also recorded several albums of ballads, songs and stories, and she appeared in the movies Last of the Mohicans (1992) and Songcatcher (2000), a movie for which she also served as technical advisor and singing coach. In recent years she has received the prestigious National Endowment for the Arts Heritage Fellowship and the North Carolina Heritage Award.

Elizabeth LaPrelle is one of the leading interpreters of traditional Appalachian balladry, though her repertoire also includes a wide range of traditional and contemporary songs. And as half of her award-winning duo with Anna Roberts-Gevalt (Anna and Elizabeth), LaPrelle is receiving widespread recognition among fans of Americana music. Raised in Rural Retreat, Virginia, Elizabeth grew up in a community blessed with many fine old-time musicians, including her early mentor Jim Lloyd, who played banjo and guitar on her solo albums. Inspired by Sheila Kay Adams and Ginny Hawker to interpret the Appalachian ballad tradition, LaPrelle also studied field recordings of legendary singers. In addition to performing at festivals and concerts all over the USA and abroad, including appearances on A Prairie Home Companion and Mountain Stage, LaPrelle has toured as part of the National Council for the Traditional Arts (NCTA) Music from the Crooked Road project, has taught workshops at Augusta Heritage Center and Centrum Voice Works, and has been a guest speaker and performer for numerous college classes. LaPrelle has released three of her own albums, and two with Anna Roberts-Gevalt.