The Explorations in The ARTS series is a unique mix of “informances,” created by a recipe of live performance, stirred together with a pinch of Q&A and a dash of audience participation.
This year’s Explorations in The ARTS series is inspired by Public Radio East’s THE SOUND, hosted by George Olsen. THE SOUND can be heard weeknights from 8 p.m. to midnight on PRE’s News and Ideas Network and features four hours of Americana, roots rock and contemporary folk music with an emphasis on performers from North Carolina. We were inspired by this program and are pleased to present this exciting line-up of North Carolina musicians.
Three-Event Series Tickets are now on sale! $60 Adults / $30 Students
Jon Shain and FJ Ventre
Thursday, November 21, 2019
Jon Shain is a veteran singer-songwriter who’s been turning heads for years with his words, his fiery acoustic guitar work and his evolved musical style – combining improvised Piedmont blues with bluegrass, swing and ragtime. Shain’s most recent solo disc, Gettin’ Handy with the Blues: A Tribute to the Legacy of WC Handy, was released in January 2018. Shain’s newest release is the gorgeous roots album, Tomorrow Will Be Yesterday Soon, recorded along with long-time collaborator FJ Ventre on bass, who will join him for this concert.
Jon and FJ began playing music together back in 1982 when they met in high school. FJ went on to attend the University of Massachusetts-Lowell, earned a B.A. in Music Performance and Sound Recording and then relocated to Chapel Hill in 2000. FJ has performed with his own group, The Swang Brothers, and is a highly sought-after sideman for many projects.
Recent News about Jon Shain!
Jon Shain is the 2019 International Blues Challenge Winner
Jon took first place in the solo/duo category of the 2019 International Blues Challenge in Memphis, besting over 260 competitors for the win. Watch video of Jon’s winning performance and read the News & Observer’s feature.
Last August at Durham’s Blue Note Grill, Jon won the 2018 Triangle Blues Society‘s Blues Challenge in the solo/duo category, sending him on to the International Challenge.
Saturday, February 22, 2020
Back by popular demand, Ocracoke Island’s own Molasses Creek returns to the Explorations series this February. As phenomenal songwriters and interpreters of song, Molasses Creek concerts run the gamut from traditional to contemporary acoustic folk, from sweet ballads with ensnaring vocal harmonies, to truly hot instrumentals.
Fiddler Dave Tweedie, Gary Mitchell, Gerald Hampton and Kim France are the four members of this amazing band who together create musical sparks.
The band performs frequently throughout the eastern seaboard and New England, and as far west as Oklahoma and New Mexico. They own and operate Deepwater Theater on Ocracoke, performing and hosting shows there and touring off the island extensively from October-May. Their 14 recordings have received airplay around the world, including releases in 2012 and 2014 reaching the top 5 in the National Folk Charts. They have won awards on “A Prairie Home Companion” and have also received a nomination for European Country Music Association Band of the Year.
Cane Mill Road
Friday, March 20, 2020
Growing up just down the road from Doc Watson, Billboard-charting artists Cane Mill Road rock the traditional bluegrass standards they grew up on, yet boldly tackle writing original music that often walks the lines between Bluegrass, Americana, Old-time and Folk. Audiences love Cane Mill Road’s high-energy performances, easy going rapport and the eclectic mix of originals and standards they present at each of their shows.
Peers in the bluegrass industry voted Cane Mill Road as one of five nominees for the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Momentum Band-of-the-Year for 2018 — an award to honor rising music stars under 30 years of age.
The band’s two albums spent a total of seven weeks on Billboard’s Bluegrass Albums charts. The four young men roam the Blue Ridge Mountain back roads driving between Deep Gap, NC and Rocky Gap, VA to meet and make music together — thus the title track of the band’s sophomore album, Gap to Gap.
Jennifer L. Baer
Director of Lifetime Learning Center
And Community Outreach
800 College Court
New Bern, NC 28562
Office (252) 633-2618