Live Irish, bluegrass and old time music performed by Fiddlin’ Al & the Lads in the STARworks Cafe and Taproom. No admission fee, but tips for the performers are very much appreciated. All ages welcome! Fiddlin’ Al & the Lads is comprised of Allen McCanless, Will McCanless, Colin Shoemaker & Charles Pettee. The band will be introduced by folklorist CeCe Conway.
Fiddlin' Al McCanless is one of the most versatile NC fiddlers equally at home in Bluegrass, Old Time and Celtic music. He was a founding member of the legendary New Deal String Band. He played many years with the Bluegrass Experience, which won the World Champion Bluegrass prize at the Union Grove Old Time Fiddlers Convention. Al appeared on the first Red Clay Rambler recording on Folkways Record, "The Red Clay Ramblers With Fiddlin' Al McCanless". Al plays in the Celtic group Contentment is Wealth and The Merry Gadflies, a string band specializing in songs of freedom, joy and justice. In his spare time Al is potter and open-back banjo maker.
Colin Shoemaker began playing fife at Revolutionary War Reenactments while still a child, then later took up pennywhistle, flute and bombard. Colin is a virtuoso combining lightning fast speed and flawless execution. Though he is equally at home playing slow airs with great sensitivity and phrasing. Colin brings a vast repertoire to the band including dance tunes from Ireland, Brittany and France, and Scottish piping tunes. He has the amazing ability to listen to a tune being played and commit it to memory in a very short time, even when it's played presto! In addition to music, Colin is well versed on just about any topic imaginable and his broad general knowledge never ceases to amaze.
Charles Pettee is a founding member of The Shady Grove Band, guitar/mandolin player and songwriter. He mostly performs these days in educational settings all around NC and SC. However, Charles jumps at any chance to play music with Fiddlin' Al McCanless, with whom he has collaborated with for many years. Currently, Al and Charles also perform with The Merry Gadflies, as well as The Leroy Savage Group. www.charlespettee.com
Will McCanless took up guitar when 6 years old and began accompanying his dad, Fiddlin' Al at fiddlers conventions. In high school, he began playing rock n' roll. The summer after graduation, he attended Irish Week at the Augusta Heritage Festival where he learned DADGAD guitar and cittern with Zan McLeod. Through the years he has divided his time between pottery and playing in any number of rock and Celtic bands. Will is equally at home on guitar, cittern, mandolin, tenor banjo and most recently fiddle. He brings energy, drive and creative harmonies to the music, providing not only a chordal but percussive rhythm to the tunes.