American Roots Music Program on 2012 Tour

By 
Nick Balkin
March 7, 2012
Old-time musician Bruce Molsky performs with Berklee students at Club Passim on March 27.

Berklee, whose alumni include renowned folk artists Gillian Welch, David Rawlings, Casey Driessen, Sierra Hull, and Rushad Eggleston, among others, is taking a new generation of emerging roots musicians on the road, and launching a concert series at an iconic folk venue in its own backyard. 

The Berklee Roots Road Show brings rising talent from the college's American Roots Music Program to audiences beyond Boston. The variety show rolls into One Longfellow Square, Portland, ME on March 29; the Jalopy Theatre in Brooklyn, NY on April 5; and the Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage in Washington, D.C. on April 6. 

The Berklee American Roots Music Series at Club Passim takes place on the fourth Tuesday of every month at the historic venue in Harvard Square. March 27 will feature faculty mandolinist John McGann's Celtic ensemble and the college's Old-Time Ensemble. April 24, billed as "fiddle night," will feature guest fiddle master Fletcher Bright. Club Passim, which opened in 1958 as Club 47, holds an iconic place in folk history: Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Tom Rush, Taj Mahal, Patty Larkin, and others cut their teeth at the club before playing larger venues. The series is made possible by the Sam Eisenson Fund for Country Music at Berklee. 

See below for schedule and ticket information.

The Berklee American Roots Music Program teaches blues, gospel, early country, bluegrass, old-time, Cajun, Tex-Mex, western swing, polka, and other styles—some of the building blocks of today's contemporary music—through a curriculum based on folk music's oral tradition. Also, using a broader definition of "roots," the program explores the origins of our western musical traditions, from Bach to traditional African music. 

The artistic director is Matt Glaser, a violinist who was chair of Berklee's String Department for 28 years and has performed with Stephane Grappelli, Yo-Yo Ma, and Bob Dylan. The managing director is Joe Walsh, who was Berklee's first-ever mandolin major and a current member of the Gibson Brothers. The board of advisors includes Béla Fleck, Darol Anger, Charlie Haden, Ricky Skaggs, Lloyd Maines, Edgar Meyer, and others. 

Among its many projects, the program has hosted acclaimed visiting artists Alison Krauss, Béla Fleck, Mark O'Connor, Tony Trischka, Del McCoury, Punch Brothers, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Crooked Still, and others; and showcased students at the Grey Fox, RockyGrass, MerleFest, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, and Celtic Connection festivals. In September, the program will present Inspired by Ray, a three-day symposium on Ray Charles. 

Schedule: 

Tuesday, March 27
Club Passim 
47 Palmer Street
Cambridge, MA 
8:00 p.m. $10/$5 
passim.org

Thursday, March 29
One Longfellow Square
181 State Street
Portland, ME 
8:00 p.m. $7/$10 
onelongfellowsquare.com

Thursday, April 5
Jalopy Theatre 
315 Columbia Street
Brooklyn, NY 
8:00 p.m. $5
jalopy.biz

Friday, April 6
Kennedy Center Millennium Stage 
2700 F Street NW 
Washington, DC  
6:00 p.m. Free
kennedy-center.org

Tuesday, April 24
Club Passim 
47 Palmer Street
Cambridge, MA 
8 p.m. $10/$5 
passim.org