Musicians show their ‘Roots’ at historic show

Anna Taylor
Assistant Features Editor

File photo

Itching for a night of genuine music? The Murray State department of History is sponsoring a concert sure to take audience members back to their roots.

The second ever “Roots” concert, “Roots 2,” is at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in Wrather Auditorium. The concert will feature four acts: Josh Williams, The Dorians, Wil Maring & Robert Bowlin, and Kailey Stone Starks.

Ted Belue, senior lecturer of history at Murray State, classifies roots music as traditional American music. Belue describes it as part of the DNA of more modern types of music.

“(These modern genres) had an origin and the origin really begins in the Appalachians and begins with the Celtic traditions, the blues traditions and the gospel traditions,” Belue said. “America has great music and we have distinctly different forms like blues and jazz and bluegrass.”

The idea for having “Roots” concerts was suggested by the chair of the department of history.

“Every semester or so, I would meet with some musician friends of mine on campus and we would put out a small concert for whoever would show up,” Belue said. “Last fall, Terry Strieter, our chair, approached me with the idea of doing this. He said why don’t you do this and plan it out and set a date and I said ‘OK.’”

Belue is hoping these concerts can become an annual event.

One performer is Murray State advertising student Kailey Stone Starks, junior from Murray, who grew up singing gospel music in church and has been around music her entire life.

“(Kailey) sings wonderfully,” Belue said. “She’s got a good, robust, kind of deep voice and she will be singing some classic country like Patsy Cline.”

Starks used to play music with Belue, and was asked by him to perform at the “Roots 2” concert.

“He said, ‘Well, we had it last year and it was a pretty good turn-out so I think you might like to do this,’ because I do a lot of Patsy Cline and stuff like that.” Starks said. “He said it would be kind of cool to get someone from that angle.”

Starks began playing the piano when she was 6 and got her first guitar when she was 8. Starks recalls her start with performing by learning how to play and sing at church.

“There was a few older men probably in their 70s and that is how I got started, just sitting around playing guitar with them,” Starks said. “After a little while I started knowing more than they did.”

While Starks might have learned how to play many years ago, she is a firm believer that you don’t have to be a certain age or gender to enjoy bluegrass or roots music.

“The main thing about me playing here at Murray State is that it’s not that uncool for people my age or even girls to play banjo or be in a bluegrass band or even listen to bluegrass music,” she said. “It’s not just all knee-slapping and playing a jug, it’s actual musical talent.”

Since the concert is sponsored by the department of history, it is only appropriate that audience members get some type of cultural history lesson out of the evening.

“One different thing about this concert than other concerts that people will go to is this really does have a historic slant,” Belue said. “The performers will be talking about their music and the artists and historically, their role. They will be talking about the instruments and where they come from. As they perform and play in a very unobtrusive way, you are also getting some good history lessons.”

The concert is free to the public and there will be refreshments sold by the MSU honor society, Phi Alpha Theta.

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