Westmoreland "Cast Fire" Album Release
Tony Williamson, Charly Lowry, Grand Shores
1711 Saxapahaw-Bethlehem Church Road
Saxapahaw, NC, 27340
A songwriter and musician who’s performed nationally and internationally, John Westmoreland is an eclectic artist. His guitar playing is masterful on both the electric and nylon string guitar, and his voice is a deep baritone with shades of Leonard Cohen. Raised in North Carolina, and educated at Berklee College of Music, he has the earthy, grounded voice of a folk balladeer, yet the sonic nimbleness of an elegant arranger.
The group, Westmoreland is comprised of accomplished musicians like drummer Kobie Watkins, Keyboard player Kevin Timmons, and others who came together to record John’s debut album, “Cast Fire”- a collection of original songs which meditate on life, death and the great mystery. The album release will feature special guests including 2018 NC Heritage Award recipient Tony Williamson, and the band will also perform forgotten songs of John’s recently discovered great granduncle, T-bone Slim- a mysterious hobo songwriter, poet, and labor activist in the IWW
North Carolina Heritage Award recipient Tony Williamson is a visionary musician, composer, musical instrument expert, teacher and mentor. He has played stringed instruments, most significantly mandolin, for six decades and has been receiving awards and honors for his music for 50 of those years. A seventh generation musician from rural Piedmont North Carolina, Tony continues to perform live and travel internationally. His new recording “Heritage” documents his half century in the music business. Chris Thile, host of Live From Here, sums up: “Tony Williamson is one of the best mandolinists in the world but it is the particularly scenic route that he has taken to greatness that makes him so remarkable. Tony stops along the way to study the great instances of innovation that lead to tradition and these instances are no mere plaques or monuments to him—they are living things and his wonder and delight in them shine through every note.”
Charly Lowry is a singer-songwriter from Pembroke, NC with roots in the Union Chapel Community. Charly received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies from UNC Chapel-Hill.
For over a decade, Charly has attained regional and national success as both a solo artist and lead singer of alternative rock/ soul/ folk band, Dark Water Rising. In addition to performing with Dark Water Rising and The Ulali Project, she often shares the stage with funk/soul band, “The New Mastersounds”. In 2004, Charly had the opportunity to compete on the wildly popular television show, American Idol. She ventured through several rounds of auditions to make it to the Top 32.
Charly enjoys performing, meeting people, and educating others on the Native American experience. Charly served as a Lumbee Ambassador for the Lumbee people in 1997-98; traveling throughout the country to attend various conferences, powwows, etc.. Lowry continues to work on her craft; immersing herself in the culture of American music and expanding her listening ear to various genres.
Grand Shores is Gabriel Pelli and Will Ridenour. They are busy refining an unprecedented blend of American folk and West African kora music. Gabe and Will met while playing music for the renowned Paperhand Puppet Intervention theater troupe, where they first got a taste of what a project together could yield. People from all walks of life relate to their cultured songs that spark images of love and remembrance, beauty and resistance, passion and strength.
Gabriel Pelli brings an indie rock and jazz background to the group from his work and touring with The Old Ceremony and the Squirrel Nut Zippers. He also has a passion for folk and old time fiddle, which is an integral part of this band's sound. Will Ridenour has studied the West African harp-lute kora since 1999, and with this collaboration brings his unique and universal style to fruition. He has toured 28 countries worldwide with punk outfit Zegota and dance band Diali Cissokho & Kaira Ba.
Together, they create an uplifting sound with profound capabilities.