Arts & Culture

Appalachia Concert Series Closes with Kentucky Traditional Music



LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 17, 2011) − The John Jacob Niles Center for American Music will wrap up its "Appalachia in the Bluegrass" concert series in the coming weeks with two more concerts of traditional music. This week the series welcomes to campus father-son duo Randy Wilson and Gabe Dansereau to perform noon Friday, Nov. 18. The series will close with the reunion of Red State Ramblers at noon Friday, Dec. 2, 2011. Both concerts, which are free and open to the public, will be presented in the Niles Gallery, located in University of Kentucky's Lucille C. Little Fine Arts Library and Learning Center.

Father-son Duo to Play Traditional Appalachian Music

Randy Wilson, the director of the Folk Arts Education Program at the Hindman Settlement School, is an accomplished songwriter, performer, storyteller and dance-caller.

Wilson has a talent for teaching young children the traditional songs, dances and stories of Appalachia. He currently works with public school students in Knott County, has served as Folk Artist in Residence in Leslie and Knott County Schools, has taught core curriculum in humanities, and led cultural exchanges with multi-racial urban schools.  

Outside of the classroom, Wilson's "Kids Radio" productions are broadcast on WMMT 88.7 FM in Whitesburg, Ky. He has performed at numerous venues across the U.S. and has recorded several CDs.

Wilson's son, high school student Gabe Dansereau, will join the artist for the UK concert. Gabe is a fiddler and guitarist who plays regularly at the Carcassonne Square Dance.

To see Randy Wilson talk about and play a banjo made from a fruit cake tin, visit YouTube at

Red State Ramblers Return to UK Roots for Concert

The Red State Ramblers features native and adopted Kentuckians playing music rooted in Kentucky's heritage. The group has performed around Kentucky for many years and at additional shows in the northeast, as well as the Bristol Rhythm and Roots Festival held in Tennessee.

In 2006, the band released its first CD, comprised of favorite old-time songs that displayed both old and new Kentucky traditions. In 2008, the group received the Red Ribbon for a performance at the 2008 Appalachian String Band Music Festival held in Clifftop, W.Va. Most recently, the band released its second CD, "Commonwealth," based on the traditional music of Kentucky.

The Red State Ramblers, whose members all have attended or are still attending UK, features Will Bacon on the banjo and kazoo; Kevin Kehrberg on bass and guitar; Jeff Keith on the guitar and mandolin; and musicology doctoral candidate Nikos Pappas on the fiddle. Since finishing their degrees at UK, Keith and Kehrberg have taken faculty positions at Warren Wilson College. Bacon received his bachelor's degree in business from UK and is the owner of BaConstruction.

This performance will be a reunion for the Ramblers, some of which have traveled to reunite at the Niles Gallery to close out the series where they have played every year the "Appalachia in the Bluegrass" series has been presented.

To hear music from the Red State Ramblers, visit the group's MySpace page at  

The annual "Appalachia in the Bluegrass" concert series, presented by the John Jacob Niles Center for American Music, explores and celebrates traditional music of the Appalachian region. A variety of traditional Appalachian music has been represented through the past few years; from old time sounds of a mountain banjo player to blues-infused styles of music. This year's concert series focuses on different types of American folk music celebrating its roots in old-time music. The Niles Center is a collaborative research and performance center of the UK College of Fine Arts, UK School of Music and UK Libraries.

This year's concert series is sponsored by the Office of the Provost, the Niles Center and the Appalachian Studies Program.

For more information on these or other "Appalachia in the Bluegrass" concerts, contact Ron Pen, director of the Niles Center by email to or visit

MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Hale, (859) 257-1754 ext. 229,