Whitney Hale


College: Fine Arts

Regional String Bands to Perform at ‘Appalachia in the Bluegrass’

Published: Oct 3, 2013


LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 3, 2013) — Two old time string bands come to Lexington as the next two acts in the “Appalachia in the Bluegrass” concert series. On Friday, Oct. 4, Rich and the Po’ Folks will return to perform music straight from the eastern Kentucky coal fields. The next Friday, Oct. 11, UK will hear musical traditions from Virginia, North Carolina and Kentucky when The Rail Splitters are in the spotlight. Both free public concerts will take place at noon, at the Niles Gallery, located in the University of Kentucky Lucille C. Little Fine Arts Library and Learning Center.



Friends with a Common Goal

Rich and the Po' Folks perform at Niles Gallery as part of "Appalachia in the Bluegrass."

Video courtesy of John Jacob Niles Center for American Music. A transcript of the video can be found here


In the spring of 2006, a group of friends decided to build a band on their shared love for the traditional music of east Kentucky and southwest Virginia. Taking their inspiration from old Appalachian musicians, Rich and the Po’ Folks was formed.


Rich and the Po' Folks use sounds from old time artists like Art Stamper, Ed Haley, Charlie Osborne, George Gibson, Addie Graham and John Morgan Salyer. Using the fiddle, banjo, bass, mandolin and guitar, Rich and the Po’ Folks have revised classic bluegrass to release their newest CD, “When the Whistle Blew.”


A Mountain Musical Tradition

The next performance for “Appalachia in the Bluegrass” features the work of Adrian Powell, Julie Shepherd-Powell and Brett Ratliff. The Rail Splitters formed around its members’ deep roots in traditional music.


Adrian Powell, a native of Crimora, Va., has won contests at fiddlers’ conventions across the southeast United States. Powell has performed at Hillbilly Days in Pikeville, Ky., and the Old Time Fiddler’s Convention in Galax, Va. His fiddle style is straight forward with a hard driving bow, and he currently plays with the Pea Ridge Ramblers, Matt Kinman's Old Time Serenaders, the Cabin Creek Boys and The Rail Splitters.


Julie Shepherd-Powell is an award-winning clawhammer banjo player and flatfoot dancer originally from North Carolina. Shepherd-Powell previously taught beginning and advanced old time banjo at Mountain Empire Community College in Big Stone Gap, Va. She has also played with the Letcher County band Rich and the Po’ Folks. She currently competes in flatfoot dance competitions at fiddlers' conventions all over the southeast and calls square dances anywhere from Knoxville, Tenn., to New York City. Shepherd-Powell is currently completing her doctorate in anthropology at UK.


Raised by a coal miner and teacher in Van Lear, Ky., Brett Ratliff grew up with a love for the mountains, its people and its culture. As a young boy, Ratliff started singing in church and sang along to recordings of Loretta Lynn and Hank Williams. As a teenager he began playing guitar for bluegrass bands. But when Ratliff met musical father and son duo Jamie and Jesse Wells he became hooked on the moving, emotionally charged mountain music of his home. Since then, Ratliff has learned banjo tunes and ballads from some of the masters of old time music, like knock-down banjo player George Gibson of Knott County, Ky., and Pike County fiddle and banjo player Paul David Smith. Ratliff’s solo album, “Cold Icy Mountain,” was released on June Appal Recordings. He is currently music director for WMMT Radio in Whitesburg, Ky.


The “Appalachia in the Bluegrass” concert series celebrates the old time roots of American folk music by featuring a diverse range of traditional musical expression. The concert series will showcase 13 different artists, duos and groups from southern Appalachia ranging from artists straight off their front porch to those who have earned international acclaim. The concert series is generously presented by the John Jacob Niles Center for American Music, a collaborative research and performance center maintained by the UK College of Fine Arts, UK School of Music and UK Libraries.


For more information on the “Appalachia in the Bluegrass” concert series or the concerts featuring Rich and the Po’ Folks or The Rail Splitters, contact Ron Pen, director of the Niles Center, by email to Ron.Pen@uky.edu or visit the website at http://finearts.uky.edu/music/niles.




MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Hale, 859-257-8716whitney.hale@uky.edu

File Downloads
Internship Info Session
LNFS Presents: Dallas Buyers Club
College of Law Welcomes Trevor Potter
Dancing at Lughnasa
LNFS Presents: Notes on Marie Menken
LNFS Presents: Edge of Tomorrow
UK Jazz Ensemble/ UK Lab Band
Earth & Environmental Science Student Open House
"Nerd Night" Exhibit and Concert
"Anne Braden: Southern Patriot" Film Screening and Discussion
Dancing at Lughnasa
LNFS Presents: My Neighbor Totoro
LNFS Presents: (500) Days of Summer
Men's Soccer vs. Old Dominion
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Alabama
Dancing at Lughnasa
Kentucky Football vs. South Carolina
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Rock Climbing @ Red River Gorge
Cross Cultural Workshop 2014
Swing Dancing!
Dancing at Lughnasa
Cross Cultural Workshop 2014
UK Children's Hospital/Birthing Center Annual Perinatal Loss "Walk To Remember"
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Texas A&M
Dancing at Lughnasa
Murals of Baltimore
Resumes and Cover Letters
Dancing at Lughnasa
Murals of Baltimore
Networking and Job Search
UK Choristers
Rock Star Professionalism Series
Stillness in Motion: The Essence of Symmetry - presented by Dr. Carl Lee, Mathematics
Dancing at Lughnasa
Murals of Baltimore
LNFS Presents: Night of the Living Dead
UK Law Day
Dancing at Lughnasa
Murals of Baltimore
LNFS Presents: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Mark Berry, Guest Percussion Recital
National Depression Screening Day
LNFS Presents: Torch Song Trilogy
Dancing at Lughnasa
LNFS Presents: Shut Up and Play the Hits
LNFS Presents: Watchmen
KLJ Data Privacy Symposium
Family Weekend Check-in
Big Blue Pantry Food Drive #1
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. South Carolina
Family Weekend: Derek Hughes
Dancing at Lughnasa
Kentucky Football vs. ULM
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
UK International Tent/ Tailgate Party
CT Surgery Symposium: Advances in the Surgical Management of Cardiothoracic Diseases:
Family Weekend Tent Party
Dancing at Lughnasa
DNT 101: A Taste of the Kentucky Doughnut Trail
Big Blue Pantry Food Drive #2
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Auburn
Sunday Lunch at Historic Spindletop Hall
Men's Soccer vs. Marshall
Job Club - Social Media and Your Career
Massage on the Go
LNFS Presents: The Last Samurai
UK Symphony Band Concert
Women's Forum Conference 2014
#TrendingTopics: Pornography vs. Morality
Career Assessment Workshop
LNFS Presents: The Tree of Life
LNFS Presents: Guardians of the Galaxy
UK Wind Symphony
LNFS Presents: Princess Mononoke
LNFS Presents: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Ole Miss
Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet
Paint the Town Blue
Free Kaplan Entrance Practice Exams
4th Annual Big Blue Soccer Tournament
Men's Soccer vs. New Mexico
Swing Dancing and Costumes?
Paint the Town Blue
UK Men's Chorus and acoUstiKats
Jazz Spectacular
UK Student Pajama Party
Kentucky Volleyball vs. LSU
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Florida
Paint the Town Blue
Midterm of 2014 Fall Semester
Returning to Work and Breastfeeding
Open Access Week Kickoff Event (Webcast)
Grad School 101
Royalty Showcase
Graduate and Professional School Prep Week: Preparing for Law School
Graduate and Professional School Prep Week: Grad School Panel: Surviving Your 1st Year
Film & Panel Discussion: Be Like Others
Graduate and Professional School Showcase
Your Publication, Your Choice: Choosing the Right Open Access Journal
Graduate and Professional School Prep Week
Graduate and Professional School Prep Week
Kitty Karnival
Study Tips for Medical School
LNFS Presents: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Thank-A-Donor Day
Campus Sustainability Day
Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Information Session
Getting Into Medical School
Writing a Winning Personal Statement
Career Assessment Workshop
LNFS Presents: Marimbas From Hell
LNFS Presents: The Fault in Our Stars
Generation Open: Researchers' Roles in the Age of Openness
Homecoming Street Fair
LNFS Presents: Kiki's Delivery Service
LNFS Presents: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
"see blue." Day at Keeneland
Peanut Butter Drive
Pumpkin Carving Tournament
Kentucky Football vs. Mississippi State
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
UK Women's Choir and Paws and Listen
Bill Cooper Faculty Recital
What Makes You "YOU: with Brett T. Spear
UK Trumpet Ensemble
Undergraduate Research Information Session "How to Find A Mentor"
Kentucky Men's Basketball Blue/White Scrimmage
Job Club - How To Get A Job at UK: Updates on IES Applicant Tracking System
Common Reading Experience Author Lecture: Presenting Ishmael Beah
Screening of the documentary Teached
Internship Info Session
LNFS Presents: The Shining
Pinterest Party
UK Lab Safety Fair
Leadership Assessment
"see boo." Halloween Party
Society for the Promotion of Undergraduate Research (SPUR) Meeting
#UKEDTALKS: Design Thinking with Dr. John Nash
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Tennessee
Career Assessment Workshop
LNFS Presents: Lucy
Film Viewing and Discussion of The Other Boleyn Girl
LNFS Presents: Papirosen
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Alabama
LNFS Presents: ParaNorman
LNFS Presents: Carrie
All Hallow's Eve Concert (UK Symphony Orchestra)
Work-Life Retirement Conference
Reset Page