Murray State’s history department has created a fun and free program for students, faculty and the community to enjoy in its Roots 3 concert.
“Roots will highlight Kentucky’s wealth of music traditions, from bluegrass to blues, from folk to the Scots-Irish sounds of 18th century Appalachia and more,” said Ted Belue, Murray State history professor. “These popular shows are part of public outreach – just one of the ways Murray State gives back to Western Kentucky’s local and regional community.”
Created by Belue at the suggestion of Terry Strieter, history department chair, in 2010, he said the event is now on its third installment and is expected to be better than ever.
“This is our third consecutive year,” Belue said. “We did it the first year and it went pretty well, but it had some glitches because you know, we hadn’t done anything like that before. Then the second year went better, and you know this year is our third year. This year should be even better because we had a variety of different people helping.”
Don Robertson, vice president of Student Affairs and Pam Wurgler, chair of the humanities and fine arts department, are among this year’s event’s newest contributors. With their help as well as a larger role played by WKMS, the local on-campus nonprofit radio and residential colleges this year’s event is expected to be even larger than its predecessors.
The event’s lineup features a mixture of bluegrass, folk and gospel that is sure to please any crowd.
First on the list will be the McKendrees. One of western Kentucky’s best Bluegrass bands, the Mckendrees are from Benton, Ky.
“(The McKendrees) specialize in tight family harmonies and precise instrumental interplay,” Belue said. “Especially noteworthy too are their a capella gospel arrangements.”
Jason McKendree, now the group’s banjo player, was once a math professor at Murray State.
Immediately following will be Fidula. Their name, a 17th century name for fiddle, indicates their specialty well. Their founder Jim Wood is an accomplished fiddle player and will be accompanied by his wife, Inge, who will sing in both English and Spanish throughout the show.
Hillary Bevels also plays the fiddle and viola for Fidula, and is known for her clogging skills. Nate Strasser is the group’s pianist, as well as cellist and is a successful songwriter.
The third and final group to preform will be Ranger Doug Green and Andy Reiss. Ranger Doug is a widely recognized musician through fronting the cowboy band, Riders in the Sky, as well as his work as lead guitarist for The Time Jumpers.
“Ranger Doug is a superb soloist and master rhythm guitarist in the steady four-chords-to-the-bar style of Freddie Green of Count Basie’s Orchestra,” Belue said. “But before his cowboy and swing days, he was a bluegrass boy.”
In addition to playing for the crowd, each group will also offer historic background to their particular genre of music. They will all explain, not lecture, how it is that their very brand of music came to be.
Roots 3 concert is Nov. 13 in Wrather Museum at 7:30 p.m. Admission for the concert is free.
Story by Shannon MacAllister, Staff writer.