Four-time Grammy Award winner, consummate folk song collector, TV personality, storyteller and acclaimed musician David Holt will perform the capstone concert for the fifth annual Frostburg State University Appalachian Festival on Saturday, Sept. 18, at 8 p.m. at the Palace Theatre in downtown Frostburg. Sharing the bill is Laura Boosinger, an Asheville, N.C., recording artist with a long list of recordings and performances to her credit.
Their performance will cap off a full day of regional music, workshops and activities featured as part of the annual FSU Appalachian Festival. The event celebrates the history, culture and environment of Mountain Maryland and the surrounding Appalachian region.
Holt offers a heady mix of intricately crafted songs and spoken-word folklore about his travels in Appalachia. His website describes his performances as featuring “… tales, ballads and tunes told, sung and played on the banjo, slide guitar, guitar, harmonica, bones, spoons and jaw harp. His audiences are constantly involved, learning to play the paper bag, applauding the vitality of his clog dancing, listening to the haunting sound of a 122-year-old mountain banjo or being spellbound by a ghost story.”
Holt’s latest album, “Live and Kickin’ at the National Storytelling Festival,” has been nominated for a Grammy, while his 2002 collaboration with the bluegrass legend Doc Watson, “Legacy,” netted a Grammy for Best Traditional Folk Recording.
Since the late ’60s, Holt has traveled throughout Appalachian mountain communities, where he learned to play the banjo. “In 1968, I sought out Carl Sprague,” he says, “the first of the recorded singing cowboys. Mr. Sprague taught me to play the harmonica and regaled me with old-time cowboy stories. This experience introduced me to the excitement of learning from the source … the old timers themselves."
Holt’s deep bag of songs and tales are part of the permanent collection of the Library of Congress, and the U.S. State Department has sponsored his performances as an ambassador of American roots music in countries such as Nepal and Thailand, and throughout South America and Africa.
Currently, Holt hosts North Carolina Public Television’s “Folkways,” dedicated to passing on that state’s heritage, as well as Public Radio International’s “Riverwalk: Classic Jazz From the Landing.” He is a member of the National Storyteller Association’s Circle of Excellence.
Laura Boosinger, best known for her banjo playing, offers old-time mountain ballads and has released four solo albums, along with one with George Shuffler.
Her albums, including “Most of All” and “Let Me Linger,” feature traditional songs such as “Cannonball,” “Peace Precious Peace,” “I’m S-A-V-E-D” and “Down in the Valley.”
According to Boosinger’s website: “Conventions, festivals, workshops and family concerts each provide a unique opportunity to showcase Laura’s talents as she features a variety of traditional stringed instruments, including old-time banjo, guitar, Appalachian dulcimer and finger-style autoharp.”
Boosinger has recently played at the Appalachian Summer Arts Festival at Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C.; MerleFest in North Wilkesboro, N.C.; and the Library of Congress. Another feature of her career is her Arts in Education program that takes her to schools, where she introduces various styles of music and gets the students participating.
Advance tickets for the concert will be available Aug. 1 at Main Street Books and Mountain City Traditional Arts in Frostburg. Advance tickets are $15, or $18 at the door; tickets for students and children are $8.
The FSU Appalachian Festival is supported in part by funding from the Maryland Humanities Council and the Maryland Traditions Program of the Maryland State Arts Council.
To learn more about the event, visit www.frostburg.edu/events/afestival, e-mail email@example.com or call 240-522-7635.
FSU is committed to making all of its programs, services and activities accessible to persons with disabilities. To request accommodations through the ADA Compliance Office, call 301-687-4102 or use a Voice Relay Operator at 1-800-735-2258.