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Kentucky Banjo Legend Returns to Birthplace for Historic Performance

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2007-10-20 15:32:01     
Turniptown Productions

Kentucky banjo virtuoso, Uncle Dave Dougherty and his band perform with a special guest star Saturday and Sunday, November 3 and 4, 2007, at the historic Canton Theatre in downtown Canton, Georgia.

Born in Canton and raised in nearby Acworth, Dougherty got his first guitar at age five and was taught banjo by his grandmother. Dougherty left Georgia at age 19 to tour with the "Bluegrass Express" which included Country Music Hall of Famer Bill Monroe. He learned his show business skills with the legendary Stoneman Family, enshrined since 1981 at the Country Music Hall of Fame's Walk of The Stars, and one of the first country acts to sell one million records. In the 1920's!

A special member of The Stonemans, Dougherty's friend of 35 years, Patsy Stoneman, a singer and autoharpist, will join him onstage, sure to be an important reunion for this special kind of music. Dougherty, a musical scholar himself, says, "Patsy is a living link to the earliest country music."

The young Dougherty's singing style was influenced by the greats of country music like Roy Acuff, Carl Smith and, of course, Pop Stoneman. Instrumentally, Bill Monroe is a personal icon.

Today, he goes to great pains to explain he does not play 'bluegrass' music. "I play what used to be called 'hillbilly music' or 'good time music'," says Dougherty. "I'm somewhere between Webb Pierce and The Fruit Jar Drinkers." His repertoire ranges from Broadway tunes of the 1850s, and Library of Congress archival material to country music classics.

"I do a song called 'Carve Dat Possum' but I also do 'Crazy Arms.' I try to stick with tunes I have a feeling for and can put over to an audience."

Dougherty has won rave reviews for his banjo technique, which entails playing the same notes a fiddle would play on a tune instead of what he calls the "monotonous banjo clawhammer, bum-tiddy-bum-tiddy rhythm." Dave says, "I've quit playing the banjo per se and instead play music on the banjo. Big difference."

In a career that has seen performances at The Royal Albert Hall in London, New York's Lincoln Center and a fabled television appearance on The Johnny Cash show with Bill Monroe, Dougherty lately has been staying close to home in the mountains of eastern Kentucky playing small local festivals. Coaxed by many admirers before a larger audience, Dougherty still burns with a desire to please an audience.

"I don't care if people don't think I'm a great singer or picker as long as they go home and say, 'That Uncle Dave has the best show I've ever seen.'"

Performing with Dougherty in addition to Patsy Stoneman:

John Hoskins, fiddle; Eric Gant, guitar; Justin Roberts, stand-up bass.

Showtimes are Saturday, November 3 at 8 pm; Sunday November 4 at 2 pm.

Ticket info: 770 704-0755

Specialized in: Kentucky Banjo Legend
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