Joe Penland in concert at the Madison County Arts Center April 16

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Joe Penland in Concert
Saturday, April 16, 7:30 $15
The Madison County Arts Center
90 S. Main Street Marshall

To Catch A Love Song  or  Cecil and Maud In The Laurels

It was hot and humid when English folksong collectors Cecil Sharp and Maud Karpeles made their way through the flood ravaged town of Marshall, North Carolina.

Most of the town was gone. “Fifty three houses, most of the stores, and the café where we used to eat”* were ripped from their foundations and washed away. Boulders, trees and axle deep mud greeted the weary travelers on their way to the Presbyterian outpost at Allen’s Stand on Little Laurel Creek.

How could they know they were only hours from discovering what Sharp would later describe as “the largest repository of the English folk song in the world.”

This year, 2016, is the one hundredth anniversary of their arrival. It is also the centennial of the most devastating flood of the French Broad River in modern history and, on a brighter note, the establishment of the Pisgah National Forest.

In the inaugural performance of his 2016 season, balladeer, songwriter and master storyteller Joe Penland will dive headlong into these stories and more. Growing up on the streets of Marshall and roaming the backwoods of the Laurel Valleys with his friend Jerry Adams, Joe’s tales open the past with words, music, humor and emotion.

Sam Lee, organizer of England’s most awarded Folk Club and BBC 2’s 2016 Folk Singer of the Year, says: “Joe transports you to his world and you come away knowing those most haloed people and places of the past.” Or as someone else said: “His humor and hypnotizing southern drawl delight the ears and relax the senses. Joe Penland, he’s like a slug of real good bourbon.”

Show time is 7:30, Saturday, April 16th at the Madison County Arts Center, 90 South Main Street, Marshall. Tickets are $16. For more information call (828) 649-1301 or visit

*From Roar, Old River, Roar by Joe Penland

About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall is the arts section editor at Mountain Xpress. She's lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs. Alli is the winner of the 2016 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize and the author of the novel "How to Talk to Rockstars," published by Logosophia Books. Follow me @alli_marshall

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