The Original Fat City Stringband Plays for Danby!

What: Danby Community Council presents Old-time stringband music with Mac Benford, Walt Koken, and Bob Potts
When: Sunday, December 9, 2001
Where: Danby Town Hall,
NYS Route 96B, south of Ithaca
Danby, NY
How Much: Free!

Don't miss the Fat City Stringband in a free concert at 2pm on Sunday, December 9th, when it brews up a storm of good ol'-time country music and high spirits in the Danby Town Hall. You'll hear some hot licks and wisecracks from Mac Benford, on guitar and banjo, Walt Koken, on five-string banjo, and Bob Potts, on fiddle. Based vaguely in the Mecklenburg area, these three local legends have been recognized worldwide for their importance in preserving and reviving old-time music. What is Old-Time? It is the music that flourished in the isolated hollers of the Appalachian Mountains and found its voice, once records and radio came along, through the likes of Uncle Dave Macon and Charlie Poole and other pre-bluegrass country artists of the 1920s and 30s. But definitions aside, these guys are good and a "pure pleasure" to listen to.

Mac, Walt, and Bob started playing together as "Fat City" over 30 years ago in the streets and coffeehouses of Berkeley, California. In 1971, when fiddle conventions and the Folklife Festival brought them East, they discovered the Finger Lakes and had the good sense to stick around. With Doug Dorschug and Jennifer Cleland, they formed the internationally renowned Highwoods Stringband (1972-1978), which introduced at least one generation to traditional stringband music through many tours and recordings. Since then, they have made great music with other fine bands (Mac has been a member of Backwoods, the Uncles, Woodshed All-Stars, and Up South) and in solo careers (Walt is an acclaimed master of the banjo).

Over the years, they have remained friends, neighbors, and music-making buddies. It's our good luck that, almost by accident, they decided to revive their Original Fat City Stringband to record a CD in 1999. Once that was done, they figured they had better book several gigs to promote it. They had enough fun to keep touring, wowing crowds at festivals from as far north as Minneapolis, as near as Lodi, NY, and as deep the heart of Appalachia as the MerleFest in Wilkesboro, North Carolina. Who knows where they'll go next?

Catch them at their Danby concert, free for all ages! It is sponsored by the Danby Community Council as part of the concert series supported by a grant from the New York State Council on the Arts/Community Arts Partnership of Tompkins County Decentralization Program.

(Margaret Shepard)

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