July 1 Song of the Mountains taping to be a family affair 

Song of the Mountains, a public television program presented by PBS NC., will, on July 1, 2023, host a Bluegrass Celebration involving acts with family connections. Set to perform at the taping are Tim O’Brien and Jan Fabricius, Marc and Anita Pruett, the Lilly Fame (Songcathers), Cabin Creek Boys, and Williamson Branch.

This live taping will provide content for several of the hour-long episodes for Song of the Mountain.

Everett Lilly, Jr., volunteered …. 

“I have organized a musical celebration of bluegrass music and heritage involving our Songcatchers, featuring Ashley Rose Lilly, Tim O’Brien and Jan Fabricius, and Marc and Anita Pruett. All are my friends and we enjoy playing together on the rare occasions that can happen. Rather than ‘bluegrass,’ I actually prefer what my father called American Folk Mountain Country Music but, you know, bluegrass is the more popular term. Anyway, my dad always opened the Lilly Brothers shows by saying ‘Welcome to a friendly gathering…………’ and that’s surely what this collaboration is.”

Also appearing are old-time band the Cabin Creek Boys, featuring Erika and Chris Testerman. 

Multi-Grammy award winner singer/song writer Tim O’Brien (Hot Rize) and his wife Jan Fabricius have performed together nationally and internationally either as a duo or as part of the Tim O’Brien Band since 2015. Fabricius grew up in WaKeeney, Kansas, and from an early age sang in church and school, taking up clarinet and then mandolin. 

In a duet setting with a guitar, a mandolin, and their two voices, they bring an intimate and warm acoustic music roots repertoire that’s at once both original and traditional.

O’Brien’s 2021 CD He Walked On, and his recent release, Cup of Sugar, both feature original songs co-written by the couple. 

Marc (Balsam Range) and Anita Pruett have a deep history in mountain music and mountain culture and love to share their heritage through songs, stories, and instrumentals.  Marc’s wife, Anita Pruett, is a gifted musician who plays both banjo and guitar and has deep experience in singing bluegrass, gospel and the traditional styles of country music. 

The Songcatchers are a multi-generational, traditional country/folk music group and are led by Dr. Everett Lilly, a long-time professional musician. 

The lead singer of the group is Everett’s 23-year-old daughter, Ashley Lilly, who is rapidly rising in the world of country music. She is both a singer and a songwriter with many recordings to her credit including her own original songs. She is a country singer who is also at home with folk, pop, gospel, and bluegrass music. 

The Songcatchers have played numerous venues from Boston to Los Angeles and many points in between. 

As well as having her own more recent solo recordings Ashley Lilly can be head on the band’s Baby Blue Eyes CD (2015).  

When it comes to music, there’s a closeness among family members that cannot be overstated. Harmonies are sweeter, rhythms are tighter, and emotions are heightened. For Williamson Branch, formed in 2014, music and family have been melding for three generations.

Despite a varied background that incorporates bluegrass, country, gospel music, and dance, this family band are traditionalists in every sense, carrying on a sound that springs from the very roots those archival styles imply.

Pinecastle recording artists, they have a handful of CDs to their credit, the latest being Very Merry Christmas

The Cabin Creek Boys play old-time hillbilly music from the mountains of south-west Virginia and north-west North Carolina, and for 15 years have been performing at area fiddlers’ conventions, festivals, square dances, and other community events.

The Song of the Mountains Bluegrass Celebration takes place this coming Saturday (July 1, 2023) at 7:00 p.m. at The Lincoln Theatre on Main Street in Marion, VA. The July 1st tickets are available online and at the box office.

For information visit the website at www.songofthemountains.org  or call 276-783-6092.

Song of the Mountains, hosted by Executive Coordinator Tim White, presents concert tapings every month for broadcast across America on Public Television.

The show is supported by tax-deductible contributions to Song of the Mountains.

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About the Author

Richard Thompson

Richard F. Thompson is a long-standing free-lance writer specialising in bluegrass music topics. A two-time Editor of British Bluegrass News, he has been seriously interested in bluegrass music since about 1970. As well as contributing to that magazine, he has, in the past 30 plus years, had articles published by Country Music World, International Country Music News, Country Music People, Bluegrass Unlimited, MoonShiner (the Japanese bluegrass music journal) and Bluegrass Europe. He wrote the annotated series I'm On My Way Back To Old Kentucky, a daily memorial to Bill Monroe that culminated with an acknowledgement of what would have been his 100th birthday, on September 13, 2011.