Friday, September 13, 2013
Allen’s free folk festival returns with headliner trio 3 Penny Acre
The show starts at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, September 14.
ALLEN In its continuing quest to entertain the masses on the cheap, the Allen Public Library will welcome a little something for the next generation of folk music fans at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
Headlining the free show is 3 Penny Acre, an Arkansas trio priding itself in combining traditional folk harmonies with original lyrics. The band, which played at the Fayetteville Roots Festival last month, will be joined by a few local talents including Kevin Vaught, production specialist for the city of Allen.
When he's not in charge of lighting and sound for events like these, Vaught also enjoys a little stage time as well. His lead vocals and guitar will be accompanied by fellow residents Michael Carroll on the mandolin and Dennis Brown on keyboards.
Having performed at the library's 300-seat civic auditorium at previous folk fests, Vaught was tasked this year to perform some historic songs native to Texas, an endeavor that allowed him to learn many tunes he had never heard before.
"This is our third annual folk festival concert, and it's been very popular," Vaught said. "Quite often we will just sell out, meaning all the seats will be taken and there will be only room for others to stand.
One of the classics Vaught and his trio will perform is a little ditty called "Deep Ellum Blues," a song written shortly after the turn of the 20th century that reflects the time when the neighborhood was Dallas' premier hot spot. Another popular Texas tune on their lineup is "Pain on the Brazos," a song steeped in history that has crossed generations.
"It started out like a prison work song because in the late 1800s or early 1900s because there were a lot of prison work farms along the Brazos River. It's been played by Bob Dylan in the early 1960s and also by some other people; it's real nice song," Vaught said. "A lot of great music comes through this state, not just the older songs but some more modern stuff, as well."
During his time as cultural arts manager for the library, Tom Keener said resident feedback has been tremendous in helping attract unique and enjoyable events to a venue some might surely underestimate in terms of quality entertainment. Having three generations of family members in the entertainment business, Kenner learned not to be shy when it comes to experimenting with various genres and subjects. Events like Celtic Night, the Bluegrass and Folk Festival and the "Shakespeare Man" performances by Robert Clover-Brown have all managed to pack the 300-seat auditorium over the years, complete with standing ovations.
The annual lineup is also the library's response to patron requests, combined with the occasional experiments featuring wide ranges of music and programs, Keener said.
A supportive library director and friends group are other reasons for its success. Because of them, Keener said, the library has been able to provide programs featuring outstanding academicians, authors and performing artists for free.
"Programs that touch our patron's inner soul are one of our goals," he said. "When guests depart with huge smiles and/or tears on their faces, the program was a success. An engaged audience that submits a large number of comments and questions is another barometer of success. Although large numbers are preferred, an engaged audience that cheers, smiles and asks numerous questions are my favorite regardless of size."
The Allen Public Library is located at 300 N. Allen Drive. For information about the festival and other upcoming events, visit cityofallen.org.
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