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Blind Boy Paxton Visits Folk & Beyond, March 29


and Cece Conway

on Folk & Beyond

Thursday, March 29, 2012

5-7 pm (edt)

Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton, in town to take part in the University of Virginia's Soundscapes of Jefferson's America symposium, will stop by Folk & Beyond for some conversation and a live music performance on Thursday, 29 March. Accompanying him will be Cece Conway, a professor of American Literature - Appalachian & Southern Folklore, at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina.

Jerron Paxton, just 22, was born into a Creole family in Los Angeles. While growing up in the South Central area, he learned banjo, guitar, harmonica, piano and several other instruments in their authentic pre-war American styles. He cops licks from Blind Blake, Papa Charley Jackson, Robert Johnson, Charley Patton, Earl Scruggs, Willie "The Lion" Smith and Lonnie Johnson, recreating the sounds of pre-war music in America. His childhood would be pretty normal for someone born about sixty years earlier. He listened to Toretear Reed, his maternal grandmother’s stories and songs. She taught him life skills: how to make old "Gris Gris" medicines, how to fish, hunt and cook, and how to drive. She would sing him blues, ballads, Cajun lullabies and tell him folk stories. As Toretear approached the end of her life Jerron began to ask her more about herself, where she came from and who she knew. He was able to coax her to teach him the Creole French that she had not spoken since the early 1940s. When he was 12 years old an interest in mechanics led him to wonder how violins produced sound, so his loving Aunt LaShunder bought him a fiddle. That started him down the road of music, for it helped him find a love for bluegrass and early country music. Associations with mentor Brad Kay and his buddy Frank Fairfield have reinforced his love of the music on 78s and cylinders, and his respect for those bygone but still vital media themselves. He loves his music and his musical friends very much and brings to his listeners a vivid recreation of music as it was, and a strong hint of where it is headed. - Common Ground on the Hill

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