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Released March 13, 2003


HATTIESBURG - Celtic music, acoustic blues, bluegrass, gospel, old-time country and comedy will be on tap March 22 at the spring 2003 edition of the popular Roots Reunion concert series.

The concert – a production of The University of Southern Mississippi's Center for Oral History and Cultural Heritage – will be held from 7-9 p.m. at the Interaction Factory (formerly Walthall school), 601 Court Street, Hattiesburg.

The show, which is free and open to the public, is the continuation of a successful series of live radio shows and concerts featuring traditional South Mississippi artists. It will be broadcast live on South Mississippi's public radio station based at Southern Miss, WUSM, 88.5 FM. Hot food also will be served starting at 6 p.m. for the benefit of the Southern Miss Feral Cat Association.

The spring show will feature an exciting mix of music – including acoustic blues by Fat Possum Records artist and Woodville resident Robert Cage; Celtic music by the Jackson band, Bounds Street; bluegrass band Foxfire; the True Light Baptist Church Sanctuary Choir; and old-time country by the Patchwork String Band. Joyce Shearer, a comedienne and old-style entertainer also will perform. The program is hosted by Public Radio Mississippi emcee Kevin Farrell.

"We pride ourselves on presenting an exciting sample of the traditional music of South Mississippi," says Chris Goertzen, ethnomusicologist at Southern Miss and Roots Reunion programming consultant. "Roots showcases both older traditions and forms that may be new to us, but are traditional elsewhere or based on tradition in fascinating ways."

Robert Cage, who released an album entitled Robert Cage Can See What You're Doing on the Fat Possum label in 1998, has played clubs and festivals in the South Mississippi area for decades. A disciple of South Mississippi blues legend Scott Dunbar, Cage has an unusual and haunting vocal and guitar style.

Bounds Street -- a five-piece band that includes traditional Irish instrumentation such as the tin whistle, bodhran and bouzouki -- plays a mix of new and traditional Celtic songs. The band is listed on the Mississippi Arts Commission Touring Roster and performs at festivals throughout the South. Bounds Street released its first CD, Diaspora, in the spring of 1998. The title reflects the infusion of multicultural flavor that is subtly woven into the band's work.

Foxfire is a group of South Mississippi bluegrass artists who frequent the active bluegrass festival circuit in the region. They play a combination of traditional bluegrass and gospel grass. Foxfire also may be heard on their recent release, Come on Down, recorded in Magee, Mississippi.

Returning to the Roots Reunion after a long hiatus is the True Light Baptist Church Sanctuary Choir. True Light is a Hattiesburg-based church with a choir that performs and tours around the area. It promises to be a rousing and uplifting performance.

The Patchwork String Band brings a very traditional style of music to the stage with its old-time country and string numbers. The group of South Mississippians form the house band, opening and closing the show. Shearer will entertain audiences during the changeovers.

"Roots Reunion is becoming a South Mississippi institution. The performers continue to get stronger and the audiences are better each time," said Scott McCraw, interim assistant director of the Center for Oral History. "We look forward to the shows as much as anyone. It's a treat for the center to bring this to the community."

Roots Reunion is sponsored by the Mississippi Arts Commission, the Magnolia State Bluegrass Association, the Purple Parrot Café and Crescent City Grill, the Center for Oral History and Cultural Heritage at Southern Miss, the Southern Miss Department of History and the Southern Miss School of Music. For more information, call 266-4574.



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July 16, 2003 9:33 AM