Internationally known and award-winning guitarist Mary Flower will open the 2016/2017 Concert Season at the Franke Center for the Arts in Marshall on Saturday, September 17 at 8:00 PM. Flower, internationally known for her talents preserving Piedmont style acoustic guitar music, will bring to the Franke Center stage a luscious and lusty mix of rootsy, acoustic-blues guitar and vocal styles that span a number of idioms – from Piedmont to the Mississippi Delta, with stops in ragtime, swing, folk and hot jazz. Mary is a rare breed of American roots artist who is devoted to the preservation and enjoyment of this art form in a lovingly and historically accurate way, yet her creativity lends it vitality and energy that it might continue, evolve and flourish in an age of increasingly digitized and compressed music.
Flower is fluent and masterful in the artistically tricky Piedmont style of acoustic guitar, one that requires a deft touch, intricate picking, and an innate sense of subtle harmonics wrapped in a rousing good time. But the Pacific Northwest guitarist is equally rooted, schooled and dynamic with Mississippi blues, especially when rendered on a vintage lap-slide. Stir in her love of swing, ragtime, folk and hot jazz, plus a healthy dose of her own song craft, and you have a modern artist with an ear for the traditional who brings an immediate vibrancy and dynamism to any concert hall and stage performance.
Evolving from her native Indiana, Flower first relocated to the rich Denver music scene, working with Katy Moffatt, Randy Handley and Pat Donohue and was a founding member of the famed Mother Folkers. After building her career and reputation as a picker’s-picker, including top-3 finishes (and the only woman finalist) at the National Fingerpicking Guitar Championship in 2000 and 2002, Flower escaped the Denver orbit to land in culturally rich Portland, Oregon, where her career continued to flourish with four albums for Memphis’ famed Yellow Dog Records and constant touring. She continues to please crowds and critics at folk festivals and concert stages domestically and abroad, ones that include Merlefest, Kerrville, King Biscuit, Prairie Home Companion and the Calgary Folk Festival, among many.
The Franke Center’s intimate stage and outstanding acoustics promise to be a perfect venue as we welcome Mary Flower to Marshall for what promises to be a fantastic evening of solo acoustic music. Festivities begin at 7 PM with the Grand Opening of the new Lobby Bar, located adjacent to the Collins Room on the main floor of the auditorium. Pianist Tom Duffield will be performing pre-show music beginning at 7, followed by the main stage show at 8 PM. Tickets for the show are $20 advance, $22 at the door, and can be purchased by calling the box office at 269-781-0001, or on the website at www.frankecenterforthearts.org. Student tickets are half price. Make your plans now to be at “The Franke” on September 17!