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Released October 23, 2003


HATTIESBURG - Acoustic blues, bluegrass, gospel, and early country will be on tap November 1st at the fall 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 USM Feral Cat Association.

The fall show will feature an exciting mix of music - including acoustic blues by local legend "T-Bone" Pruitt; Bluegrass by the Larry Wallace band, Old-time fiddling with George Cecil McLeod, Gospel with The New Additions; and early country by the Patchwork String Band. 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.

Tommie "T-Bone" Pruitt is part of a long tradition of bluesman to come out of southern Mississippi. Renown for his acoustic blues, Pruitt has played with such greats as played with artists such as the Five Royales, Bo Diddley, Ivory Joe Hunter, and Ernie K-Doe.

Larry Wallace brings his bluegrass group, The Larry Wallace Band to the Roots Reunion stage this fall. From southwest Misssissippi, Larry is recognized as one of the top banjo players in the state. The group promises to continue a Roots tradition of showcasing some of the finest bluegrass artists in the Mississippi.

Returning to the Roots Reunion stage this fall is a long-time favorite of the show, George Cecil McLeod, Jr. Known as the "Fiddling Senator," Mr. McLeod served in the Mississippi senate and has had a musical career spanning seven decades. His skill on the fiddle has been widely recognized. As Bill Monroe once noted, "I like his fiddle playing; it's a good Mississippi style. People respect him at the Grand Ole Opry, he treats his audience right."

With their first appearance at Roots Reunion, The New Additions promise to become an instant crowd favorite. This locally based quartet promises a rousing and uplifting performance of traditional gospel.

The Patchwork String Band brings a much older 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. Returning to the Roots Reunion stage, David McCoy's skill of the harmonica will also be featured during the November 1st performance.

"Roots Reunion is becoming a South Mississippi institution. The performers continue to get stronger and the audiences are better each time," said Stephen Sloan, 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 Purple Parrot Café and Crescent City Grill, the Center for Oral History and Cultural Heritage at Southern Miss, the USM Department of History and the USM School of Music. For more information, call 266-4574.


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April 20, 2004 4:09 PM