CARRBORO, N.C. -- Join us this Friday, May 5, 2023 to kickoff the Freight Train Blues concert series with Gail Ceasar and Lil’ Jimmy Reed. This series of eight concerts will run every Friday evening between May 5 and June 23, 2023, at the Carrboro Town Commons, 301 W. Main St from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. The series is a collaboration among Music Maker Foundation; the Town of Carrboro; WUNC 91.5 FM; and The Forests at Duke.
An annual event, the concert series honors GRAMMY-winning folk and blues artist and North Carolina Music Hall of Famer Elizabeth “Libba” Cotten, born in Carrboro, N.C. in 1893. Cotten’s soulful voice and unique guitar style have rendered her a legend in the world of blues, leading her to receive National Heritage Fellowship in 1984 and a GRAMMY award in 1985. She lived to be 104 years old and died in 1987. Her songs, like the iconic “Freight Train,” have been reimagined by artists like The Grateful Dead and Bob Dylan. In 2022, she was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
Bring your picnic, lawn chairs and blankets for an evening of live music on the lawn. Public parking is available and free in downtown Carrboro.
May 5 - Gail Ceasar, Lil’ Jimmy Reed
Gail Ceasar floats somewhere between bluegrass and the blues. Her music has roots that run deep in Virginia soil. Taught the blues by her uncle, Pete Witcher, Gail’s Piedmont style is “reminiscent of Etta Baker and Elizabeth Cotten” (Bluegrass Situation). Losing her home to a fire in 2022 didn’t stop her from releasing her debut album, Guitar Woman Blues. The album, produced by Music Maker, has been called “sweet and captivating” and “gritty and raw as the high lonesome wind” (Americana Highways). She performed with Music Maker at the National Gallery of Art in February 2023.
Lil’ Jimmy Reed began writing his own music the moment he picked up a guitar. Since then he has played across the world, from London to Jerusalem. Though not related to his famous namesake, he was once booked by a promoter as Lil’ Jimmy Reed and kept the moniker, as he is a master of the elder Reed’s style and repertoire on guitar and harmonica. In addition to being a triple threat, he is also a military veteran, who served our country for 20 years. As the last of the early Baton Rouge bluesmen, Lil' Jimmy Reed embodies the down-home Louisiana blues tradition. Recently signed by NOLA Blue Records, the octogenarian has no intention of slowing down anytime soon.
More information: www.freighttrainblues.com