The Berkeley Old Time Music Convention (9/20/19)

Real Deal Roots Music

The Berkeley Old Time Music Convention (9/20/19)

Geoff Muldaur & Jim Kweskin with Suzy Thompson, Modock Rounders, Donna Ray Norton

Friday, September 20th

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

$21 ADV / $25 DOOR (plus fees)

  • THREE DAY PASSES AVAILABLE: One ticket, good for Thursday and Friday night concerts at the Freight, plus the Saturday Night Dance Party at Ashkenaz.

  • All tickets are subject to a $4 facility fee.

The Berkeley Old Time Music Convention
The Berkeley Old Time Music Convention
The Berkeley Old Time Music Convention is a five day music festival featuring performances by local and national acts, a rollicking square dance, open cabaret, and the illustrious stringband contest in venues throughout Berkeley.
Geoff Muldaur & Jim Kweskin with Suzy Thompson
Geoff Muldaur & Jim Kweskin with Suzy Thompson
In 1963, when both were in their twenties, Jim Kweskin invited Geoff Muldaur to join his new jug band, which became hugely successful: 6 albums for Vanguard (including one with blues legends Otis Spann and Sippie Wallace) and major performances including Newport Folk Festival and the Johnny Carson Show. The Kweskin Jug Band disbanded in the late 1960s and Jim went on to record several solo albums before retiring as a performer. Geoff recorded albums with his then-wife, Maria, with Paul Butterfield’s“Better Days, and with Amos Garrett. He, too, withdrew from performing for several years, and focused on composing for film, winning an Emmy for his television scores. In 2009, Geoff put together the Texas Sheiks recording project around the dying Stephen Bruton, iconic Austin guitarist and longtime Bonnie Raitt sideman. Geoff invited fiddler Suzy Thompson to be in the band, and also brought his old pal Jim Kweskin in as a guest singer. Since then, Jim and Geoff have toured and recorded together as a duo. Jim has retired from the construction company and also performs with Meredith Axelrod and with Samoa Wilson. Geoff performs solo and works on his “serious music” compositions, mostly in Germany.

Suzy Thompson has been working with Geoff since the 1990s, and was very honored to be included in the Texas Sheiks project, for which she not only played fiddle but also provided a lot of the material. Suzy has been active in the Bay Area acoustic music scene for over 40 years, as a member of such bands as Any Old Time and the California Cajun Orchestra, and as a teacher and arts activist. She is Artistic Director Emeritus of Festival of American Fiddle Tunes (Port Townsend) and current Director of the BOTMC, which she founded in 2003. She feels very, very fortunate to have the opportunity to perform with two of her longtime musical heroes.
Modock Rounders
Modock Rounders
Jesse and Cody both hail from Point Pleasant, WV, and were able to learn from local masters like Bobby Taylor, Franklin George, Lester McCumbers, and John Morris. Jesse’s fiddling focuses on the traditions of Central West Virginia, Eastern Kentucky, and South-west Virginia. Cody has been playing guitar since before he and Jesse met in middle school. Being influenced by folks like the Stanley Brothers and Ginny Hawker & Tracy Schwarz, Cody belts out traditional ballads and songs with a conviction that is rare in modern music. In addition to singing and playing guitar, Cody is an award-winning fiddle and banjo player. Kim Johnson was born in Clendenin, WV, and began playing clawhammer banjo in the 1970s. Wilson took her under his wing and taught her everything he knew about old-time music. Kim has since had the honor of playing with and knowing some of the most highly influential West Virginia fiddlers of the last 40 years including Lester McCumbers, Frank George, Ernie Carpenter, John Morris and Bobby Taylor. She met Jesse and Cody in 2014 and has been playing with them ever since! Kim is the Modock Rounder's connection to a past generation of generation of musicians that live on through her lively banjo playing and hilarious storytelling. Kim has performed at the BOTMC several times before, with Frank George and Bobby Taylor; we are pleased to welcome her back with the Modock Rounders.
Donna Ray Norton
Donna Ray Norton
Donna Ray Norton is an eighth-generation ballad singer, kin to Dellie Norton, Byard Ray, Sheila Kay Adams and other distinguished Madison County musicians. She grew up hearing her family’s music and stories at home, but didn’t fully appreciate her heritage until a senior project in high school led her to research her family’s ballad tradition, which led to learning the songs themselves. Donna has performed at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, the Bascom Lamar Lunsford Festival, Mars Hill University Heritage Day, and has toured as a featured performer with the North Carolina Symphony Orchestra. In 2018, she received a Grammy nomination for her work on the “Big Bend Killing, The Appalachian Ballad Tradition”, a compilation which also included Sheila Kay Adams, Alice Gerrard, David Holt and Roseanne Cash. Donna made her first trip to the West Coast when she performed at the BOTMC in 2007; we are happy to welcome her back to Berkeley.