Alex Caton& Dick Harrington
Alex and Dick are friends who love old-time Appalachian music, love playing and singing together, and love sharing their music with others. Each of them moved to central Virginia to sweat for PhDs at UVa, Alex in anthropology, Dick in English. Once here, each of them latched onto old-time mountain music like Thom Jefferson to an Albemarle Pippin.
Alex took up piano and violin at the age of 5, and music has been a constant in her life ever since. Born in England, she grew up living in England, Scotland, and America, where her family settled when she was 12. At 20, she stumbled on a precious secret: the traditional fiddle music of Appalachia and Ireland. She’s dedicated her musical life to those two cousins, singing and playing fiddle, banjo, and guitar.
As a boy in South Dakota, Dick learned folk songs from his playful Scots-Irish-American grandma, who called him Dickus, and he sang in youth choirs and a boys’ glee club. He took up guitar in the 1950s and has been singing and playing American roots music ever since. In Charlottesville, about 1976, the archaic fiddle-and-banjo music at the weekly Prism Coffee House jams lured him to ditch other music strains for the traditional music of the Southern Appalachians. He took up the devil’s instrument, fiddle, at the late age of 36.
Separately, Alex and Dick have made numerous recordings with various musicians/bands and performed in numerous states and countries. Some years ago, they met at a big old-time-music festival in West Virginia. Dick says, “It’s been delightful sharing friendship, both musical and personal, with Alex and Dave, her sweet, talented husband, who, like Jefferson, also fiddles.”
In 2013, Alex invited Dick and the Irish phenomenon Pat Egan to play guitar and sing harmony with her on a new recording, “Swimming to Lindsay.” “It showcases,” says Dick, “Alex’s very expressive song writing, singing, and playing. It’s always an honor to play and sing with her.”
Her latest project, Never Take a Daisy Down the Mine, also involving Pat, Dick, and others, is a collection of songs, poems, and tunes that honor both her family history, including forebears who were underground coal miners in the English midlands, and the vanishing miners and mining communities worldwide that have sacrificed so much to provide heat and power.
Alex and Dick are very excited about the upcoming evening of music and camaraderie at RVCC—always a sweet gathering place!
Listen at www.alexcaton.com.
7:30pm, $7. In the Rockfish Lounge. Refreshments available.
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