Joe Newberry grew up in a family full of singers and dancers. He took up the guitar and banjo as a teenager and learned fiddle tunes from great Missouri fiddlers. April Verch grew up listening to her Dad’s country band play for dances in the Ottawa Valley. She started step dancing at age three and fiddling at age six. Both Newberry and Verch became masters of their traditions and tour the world with their respective bands and projects. Yet they never forget the roots of their music, that connection to the people in the audience, on the dance floor, to the community sparked by a good song. For these veteran performers who come from distinct traditions and parts of the world, their collaboration is fueled by their kindred passion for bringing people together to celebrate traditional music. Blues and ballads stem into Canadian regional styles and originals. Their voices blend in harmony, their tasteful instrumentals prove that these masters have nothing left to prove, and then their feet kick up the dust in perfect rhythm…and together, they make you remember why this music existed in the first place.
Joe Newberry is a Missouri native and North Carolina transplant who has played music most of his life. A frequent guest on Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion, Joe performs in a duo with Mike Compton, and also performs with guitarist Jon Shain. Another special side project pairs Joe with old-time music legends Bill Hicks, Mike Craver, and Jim Watson. He was recently a featured singer on the Transatlantic Sessions tour of the United Kingdom with fiddler Aly Bain and Dobro master Jerry Douglas, along with an all-star band and fellow singers Rhiannon Giddens, the Milk Carton Kids, Carla Dillon, and Karen Matheson.
A noted teacher of traditional music and song, Joe has taught at numerous camps and festivals, including Ashokan, Pinewoods Camp, Vocal Week and Old-Time Week at the Augusta Heritage Center, the Australia National Folk Festival, the Blue Ridge Old-Time Music Week, and the Bluff Country Gathering. He was for many years the coordinator of Old-Time Week at the Augusta Heritage Center in Elkins, WV. He won the songwriting prize for Gospel Recorded Performance at the 2012 IBMA Awards for his song Singing As We Rise, and was co-writer, with Eric Gibson, of the 2013 IBMA Song of the Year for They Called It Music.
Joe came to North Carolina as a young man and quickly became an anchor of the incredible music scene in the state. Still going strong more than 30 years later, he writes songs that consistently show up on Bluegrass charts, does solo and studio work, and plays and teaches at festivals and workshops in North America and abroad.
Fiddler, singer, and stepdancer April Verch knows how relevant an old tune can be. She grew up surrounded by living, breathing roots music and decided early she wanted to be a professional musician.
She took that leap, and has been quietly leaping into new, nuanced places for more than two decades. Moving from exuberant stepdancer to fiddle wunderkind and silver-voiced singer. Verch keeps the community-fired celebratory side of her music at the forefront, honing a keen awareness of how to engage contemporary listeners.
With countless awards, ten albums and sixteen years of touring under her belt with “The April Verch Band”, Verch has moved from upstart prodigy to mature and reflective songwriter, interpreter, and storyteller. She has performed around the world, including festival, theatre and performing arts centre appearances in Canada, USA, China, Australia, United Kingdom, Belgium, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Germany, Austria, France, Czech Republic and the United Arab Emirates. Passionate about giving back, she makes master classes, workshops and camps a regular part of her touring activity. Verch was one of 6 fiddlers who represented the Canadian fiddle tradition to the world at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, as part of a segment called "Fiddle Nation”.
Joe Newberry and April Verch Showcase Versatile Muscianship and Muscial Roots from the Ottawa Valley to The Ozarks on New Album "Going Home"
With their strong musical traditions of the Ozarks and Canada’s Ottawa Valley, Joe Newberry and April Verch take a little bit of home with them wherever they go. Now, through their new release Going Home (May 12, Slab Town Records), audiences can do the same. The duo’s debut release features 12 tracks recorded in November, 2016, at Good Luck Studios in Chapel Hill, NC. The songs range from exciting fiddle and banjo duets, to tender love songs and original compositions from the two well-known musicians.
Verch, best known for two decades of international touring with The April Verch Band, and Newberry, well-known for his work with mandolin icon Mike Compton, as well as The Transatlantic Sessions and A Prairie Home Companion, say that this collaboration holds a special place in their hearts. They are looking forward to developing it alongside their other projects, which will continue.
“Joe and I had known of each other’s music for years, but had never met,” Verch said. “We had talked on the phone a few times and felt so confident that we would love playing together, that when some time opened up in each of our schedules, we decided to go ahead and book some shows. In our first face to face meeting, and that first rehearsal in August, 2016, we knew that we were right. This was going to be special!”
In October, 2016, the pair performed their first concerts, among which were multiple appearances at the Celtic Colours International Festival across Cape Breton, NS. “By the end of that run, we knew that we wanted to record an album,” Newberry said. “The music that we make inspires us and we wanted to capture some of that feeling that we were sharing on stage in the studio.”
The result is an album that sounds like two old friends who have been playing together for years. In the words of Barry Poss, founder of Sugar Hill Records: “Oh, but this is a good one! Going Home is a simply gorgeous and intimate expression of musical multiculturalism. Joe and April each bring superb musicianship from their respective Ozark/Appalachian and Canadian Ottawa Valley roots and while they never lose sight of their own unique traditions, their work together also serves to craft an entirely new musical aesthetic, one with its own melting pot integrity.”
|Release Type:||Digital & Physical|
|Record Label:||Slab Town Records|
|Release Title:||Going Home|