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Gathering showcases region’s musical heritage

Rebekah Wilson • May 19, 2013 at 12:38 AM

Musician, author and producer John Carter Cash will headline the seventh annual Gathering in the Gap Music Festival at the Southwest Virginia Museum Historical State Park in Big Stone Gap, Va., on May 25.

The festival is a gathering of musicians whose talents display the colorful musical heritage of southwest Virginia. Among them are Mountain Heart, Dale Jett and Hello Stranger, and Dave Eggar and Deoro with Amber Rubarth.

John Carter Cash is a well-known name in this area. As the son of the late June Carter Cash and Johnny Cash and the grandson of the late Maybelle Carter, he continues his family’s rich musical legacy.

His most recent CD, “The Family Secret,” received three stars in Rolling Stone review. Cash has also produced five Grammy Award-winning records.

He began his production career by helping his mother produce two Grammy Award-winning albums, “Press On,” and “Wildwood Flower.” He was associate producer with Rick Rubin on Johnny Cash’s Grammy-winning albums “American III: Solitary Man” and “American IV: The Man Comes Around,” which won three Country Music Association awards. “Unbroken Circle: The Musical Heritage of the Carter Family,” which Cash produced in 2004, received three Grammy nominations.

He has produced material for Loretta Lynn, Josh Turner, Brooks & Dunn, Elvis Costello, Wylie and the Wild West, Dr. Ralph Stanley, George Jones, Mavis Staples, Lynda Carter, The Mighty Clouds of Joy, Sheryl Crow, John Randal and Jessi Alexander, Norman and Nancy Blake, Tim O’ Brien, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Kris Kristofferson, Emmylou Harris, Willie Nelson, Earl and Randy Scruggs, Rosanne Cash, John Cowan, Rodney Crowell, Vince Gill, Tony Rice and John Prine.

He is also the author of five books, including three for children — “The Cat in the Rhinestone Suit,” “Momma Loves Her Little Son” and “Daddy Loves His Little Girl.” “Anchored in Love” is a biography about his mother, and “House of Cash: Legacies of My Father Johnny Cash,” details his relationship with his father. He will sign copies of his books at the festival.

Cash will play a set with his cousin, Dale Jett, and Jett’s band Hello Stranger, and both will play separate sets.

The festival will also feature a youth music workshop with cellist Dave Eggar and a songwriting workshop with Mountain Stage Songwriting Contest winner Amber Rubarth.

Rubarth was Jason Mraz’s special guest at a performance at Carnegie Hall. She has also shared stages with Emmylou Harris, Loudon Wainwright III, Kenny Loggins, Colin Hay, Lisa Loeb and Dave Eggar.

Rubarth’s workshop will begin at 12:30 p.m. in the museum’s Victorian Parlor. Pre-registration is required.

Eggar graduated from Harvard University and the Juliard School’s doctoral program, but he began playing the piano and cello at age 3. He had performed on Broadway and with the Metropolitan Opera by the age of 7, and at Carnegie Hall by 15.

He has performed with Evanescence, The Who, Josh Groban, Coldplay, Beyonce, Pearl Jam, Fall Out Boy, Dave Sanborn, Ray Lamontagne, Roberta Flack, The Spin Doctors, Dianne Reeves, Hannah Montana, Bon Jovi, Manhattan Transfer and Corinne Bailey Ray, among others.

Eggar’s workshop will begin at 2:30 p.m. in the museum’s Victorian Parlor. Participation is limited to ages 17 and under, and those interested must pre-register.

Local musicians will have the opportunity to demonstrate their talent on a variety of instruments in a bluegrass and old-time competition.

Categories include bluegrass guitar, bluegrass mandolin, fiddle, banjo, bluegrass band and old-time band. With the exception of old-time band and bluegrass band, the competition will be divided by age: 17 and under, and 18 and over.

Winners will receive certificates and cash prizes in each category. The first-place winner in the bluegrass band and old-time band categories will win $500.

Applicants must pay admission to the festival and register for the competition. Registration is free.

Competing bands must have at least three members. All competitors will play one fast song and one slow song.

When rating performances, judges will consider rhythm and timing, arrangement, technique, stage presence and musicianship.

The registration form, event schedule and rules are available under the “Competitions” tab on the Gathering in the Gap website.

The festival will also feature an induction ceremony for the Southwest Virginia Walk of Fame, a songwriting competition, a children’s area, the “Stitch in Time” quilt show, and food, craft and antique vendors.

Adult tickets cost $10 in advance or $15 at the gate. Children ages 12 and under get in free. Tickets may be purchased online, in person at the museum or by calling the museum.

For more information regarding schedules, ticket information and competition rules, visit the festival website at www.gatheringinthegapmusicfestival.com or call the museum at (276) 523-1322.

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