Sunday, January 3, 2010

Rita Forrester Benefit at the Carter Fold

Fans of mountain music gathered Sunday at the Carter Family Fold up in Hiltons, Virginia to show support for Rita Forrester. Rita has been the keeper of the faith up at the Fold since her mother Janette passed away in 2006. Rita Forrester is the granddaughter of A.P. and Sara Carter. If you are not from this area, you may not know about the Carter Family Fold. Located in Poor Valley, at the foot of Clinch Mountain in southwest Virginia, it was established in 1974. The Fold is a small concert hall that celebrates old-time country and folk music and the legacy of A.P. and Sara Carter, country music pioneers. Music, clogging (country dancing) and food are served up there each and every Saturday night.

In the early hours of Sunday, December 6, 2009 Rita's home burnt to the ground claiming the life of her husband Bob. Rita and her son Tyler managed to escape with their lives, but little else.
This benefit offered love and spiritual support as well as financial resources.

So many musicians and groups volunteered their time for this benefit, that each group was limited to performing 2 songs or for about 10 minutes. Many drove several hours and from out- of- state to be able to take part and as many musicians said "give back" through this benefit. Their love and appreciation for both Rita and the Fold was manifest.

The audience was large and enjoyed this excellent opportunity to sample the multiplicity of talent on display.

During the benefit,I am fairly certain that the Fold had one of the largest aggregate collections of upright basses in the state of Virginia. I have never seen so many of these large instruments in one place.

The benefit started at 3pm Sunday afternoon, and I ducked out at a little after 5:30. There were 3 bands yet to play, with the last one promising an extended set for those that wanted some extra dance time.

Dancing is serious business up at the fold. Here the people clog. Clogging is a truly American dance that has it's origins in these Appalachian mountains. The word "clog" comes from Gaelic and means time. Clogging focuses on the downbeat, with the heel keeping the rhythm. Many of the dancers wear special shoes with taps.

Lessons might be in order.

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