Father, son duo to play Appalachian music series

By Laura Edwards

Students can enjoy a free show of Appalachian Music every Friday at noon in the Fine Arts Library.

This Friday’s concert will feature Randy Wilson and Gabe Dansereau — a father son combo that plays folk mountain music. Dansereau accompanies Wilson on the fiddle and guitar.

At the Appalachia series, musicians play on the same level as their audience allowing constant interaction. The warm mahogany on the floors and walls create a perfect sound chamber for the instruments played, said Rob Pen, director of the Niles Center and organizer of the music series.

“Its like playing in a big guitar,” said Pen, who is also a music professor at UK.

Pen has taught Appalachian studies for 30 years and wanted to make Appalachian music real to his students.

“Seeing people play music that was handed down to them is so easy to absorb when you are watching them,” said Carol Seiler, an agriculture communications and leadership senior. “I get a better understanding.”

Pen’s goal is to make the show feel like you are sitting on a back porch because that is where Appalachian music is usually played, he said. About every three classes, he requests his students come see the show.

“You can only play so many songs out of the same stereo in the same class room,” Pen said. “This experience makes the music so real.”

Pen said the room is usually full and that people who are not attending UK travel to see the bands. He refers to the family tradition as “blood harmony” — music that is passed down generations and still played today.

“The music comes from a more organic place,” said Matt Gibson, an arts administration senior. “These people play music that they learned from their families, they are not trying to make a career.”

Gibson took Appalachian studies a year ago. He continues to go see the show every Friday, although he is no longer required to go.

“This area is where Appalachian music comes from,” Gibson said. “When you can put a face to the musician it makes it much more vibrant.”

The show lasts about 50 minutes, but students can come an hour early to talk to the band members while they are setting up.

if you go
What: Appalachia in the Bluegrass: Randy Wilson and Gabe Dansereau
When: Friday at Noon
Where: John Jacob Niles Gallery, Lucille Little Fine Arts Library
Admission: Free