Monday, October 15, 2012

Music at the Market: Folk Musician Bob Clayton

 Please help us welcome Bob Clayton -- a talented  singer, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter -- back to Cheverly Community Market this Saturday! He’s an old-time folkie with a penchant for playing and singing a wide variety of songs, from traditional American to contemporary compositions, and for writing songs that are musical, literate, and singable. With close to 50 years’ playing experience, Bob is seldom at a loss for a song when the situation calls for it.

Bob is a founding member of the “frontier and western” group Sidekicks, who originally performed a mixture of traditional and contemporary songs from the American West, but has morphed into a group offering a wide variety of songs from other genres. Bob is also a member of the Civil War Comrades, a reenactment musical ensemble that features parlor songs, Minstrel walk-arounds, soldier songs, and popular ditties of the mid-19th Century. Bob brings his banjo and mandolin skills to that band, and often includes numbers from that repertoire in his solo shows.

Bob’s influences include songwriters like Woody Guthrie and Tom Paxton, dedicated traditionalists like Mike Seeger and Tom Paley, old-line folk songsters like Cisco Houston and Jack Elliott, more modern performers like Lucinda Williams and Gillian Welch, and, of course, traditional singers too numerous to name. Bob spent more than 10 years (back in “the day”) playing in string bands and among old-timey musicians, learning banjo and fiddle tunes, mandolin and guitar numbers, and hundreds of songs. Starting first on guitar, in the '60s he took up banjo, mandolin, fiddle, Autoharp, dulcimer (Appalachian as well as hammered), Jew’s harp and harmonica. He has a Master of Arts degree in American Studies, concentrating on regional American Banjo styles, and is the author of “The Old-Timey Banjo Book,” an instructional tutor and songbook on American banjo styles. He has been known to sing a song at the drop of a hat (and he’ll supply the hat), and is the writer of perhaps 100 songs in various stages of completion.

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