Easton-based folk and traditional string band Ampersand kicks off the fall music season with a free community concert at St. Paul’s Church, 225 S. Morris St. Oxford, MD on Thursday, September 8th at 7pm.
The four-member group brings guitars, banjo, mandolin, bouzouki, hammered dulcimer, mountain dulcimer, cello, penny whistles, percussion, and four-part harmony to this concert of songs and tunes from colonial America up to the Civil War period.
One of the band’s members, Beth Lawton, notes that many of the songs reflect a modern sensibility even when they use old-fashioned language. She explains, “for example, Robin Adair is a song of unrequited love that echoes feelings that might be experienced by modern ghosting!” Another member, Dick Hogle, describes an early song, “Rye Whiskey” as a perfect lullaby for easing his young daughter to sleep – even as the song tells of diving into a river of whiskey and drinking “ten thousands of bottles.” With voice, various percussion instruments, newly-adopted cello, and penny whistles, multi-instrumentalist Topher Lawton focuses on even earlier tunes and songs, such as the lively “Sailor’s Hornpipe” (16th century) and energetic “Bear Dance” (15th century). Another multi-instrumentalist, Dave Moore keeps the band on the beat with his solid bass playing, joyful banjo tunes, and harmony singing.
Although many of the songs deal with the hardships of early colonial life and the ever-present alcohol use, misbehavior, and even death, the concert is deemed “family-friendly” and the whole group takes delight in sharing this music with a modern audience.
This group serves up a love of history through their music, and are happy when audience members singalong, ask questions, or come up afterwards to try out one of the instruments.
For more information, please go to Ampersand’s website.