Courthouse Reopening Street Party on 4-20

Pittsboro is celebrating the reopening of the Chatham County Courthouse with a Street Party on April 20, 2013. We'll feature some great local entertainment, so be sure to come out to join the crowd. Here's the lineup:

6PM - 7PM - Bluegrass
Tommy Edwards and the Chatham County Friends

7PM - 8PM - Vintage Country
Kitty Box and the Johnnys

8PM - 9PM - Rock and Roll
The Breaks

The bands will play in front of the courthouse on Hillsboro Street.  

Parking and Transportation:

Parking available at the Alpha Install Lot and the Old Ford Lot. Chatham Transit Network will provide a shuttle service running every 15 minutes between 5:30 PM and 9:00 PM.  Their vehicles will be wheelchair accessible.  We humbly thank our event sponsors for generously providing this free parking and transit service.    

Detailed Bios:

The Chatham County Friends

Chatham County is known for its contribution to the traditional string music known as Bluegrass. The Chatham County Friends is a foursome composed of pickers from across that county. They sing and accompany themselves on guitar, mandolin, banjo and acoustic bass. All have performed professionally for many years.

John Fredericks. A mainstay of several area bands, John is known for his distinctive voice and his rock solid guitar playing. He lives in the northern part of Chatham.

Acoustic bassist Thomas “Snuffy” Smith and multi-instrumentalist Tommy Edwards live in Pittsboro and are among the co-founders of one of North Carolina’s most respected bluegrass bands, The Bluegrass Experience. They have performed and recorded together for over 42 years. And speaking of recordings, Tommy’s latest solo project, “North Carolina: History, Mystery, Lore and More” has been received favorably by both critics and the public. It was subject of an article in Our State magazine last year. And The Bluegrass Experience has twice been chosen to perform at that publications “Best of Our State” events.

Siler City’s Jerry Stuart is a true pioneer in bluegrass music. The internationally known songwriter and mandolinist began performing while still in high school, playing at special events and on a weekly radio show. After high school he continued his education in the Washington, DC area where he became a standout performer in the area’s lively bluegrass music scene. He subbed for Bluegrass Hall of Honor member John Duffy in the Country Gentlemen, played in a band with Hall of Honor bassist Tom Gray and collaborated with him in writing several songs. One of his original compositions was featured on Folkways’ “Mountain Music, Bluegrass Style”, which was the second “Long Playing” album of bluegrass music ever released. Forsaking a career as a touring musician (he turned down an offer from the legendary Stanley Brothers) he returned to Siler City where he continued to play extensively with The Green Valley Ramblers, winning prizes at national and regional competitions and continuing to write. He was recruited by County Records to do a solo project which he recorded with the help of several of his band mates as well as his old friend Tom Gray. “Rocky Run” showcased Stuarts’ mandolin virtuosity as well as several of his original tunes. He has been named a Chatham County Treasure by ChathamArts, one of only two artists to have been so designated. The other is Clyde Jones. Stuart continues to perform frequently with his son Doug and daughter-in-law Stacey in the band Coyote Ridge.

The Chatham County Friends look forward to playing for their neighbors and visitors at the celebration of the restoration of The Chatham County Courthouse.

Kitty Box and the Johnnys
Taz Halloween started Kitty Box and The Johnnys  way back in 2001. She shamelessly wrote the original songs in as many styles of vintage country as she could, "borrowing" from the styles of Roy Orbison, Patsy Cline, George Jones, Loretta Lynn, even the Beatles (yes, The Beatles had a country flavored song or 2) and, of course, Johnny Cash. Most of the originals that they will be performing today are those songs. 

Her pen went scratchin' to paper (a paper bag one time when the inspiration hit & no notepad was in sight) every time there was a breakup between her and a particular "beau". She noticed that the only thing that they really had in common was a love for Dwight Yoakum, so it was only fittin' for the songs to be in a country style of some sort or another. 

Many Johnnys have come and gone through the years - all lent their styles and interpretations to the tunes. Most of the songs are what Taz calls tongue in cheek and furrowed brow. Darkly funny. She was born in Chatham County, Georgia (Savannah) but grew old, not up, in North Carolina. She is very proud to reside in Chatham County, North Carolina. 

Marty Johnson has been her pillar of strength & humor since 2003. He joined the band draggin' his feet, yet willingly. He is a multitalented/faceted musician, but when they met, he was more of a funk bass player. Country is in his genes, but he belongs to the Church of Bootsy Collins and Curtis Mayfield. He is the only Chatham County native in the band and has many colorful, rib achin' tales to tell. Luke McMahan used  to live in Asheboro, but recently relocated to Pittsboro with his young bride, Kristen. He is a genius mixologist of the sound board kind & drummer extraordinaire. His musical background is more that of a  rockin', harder edge, but he knows how to mix the batter and make sounds like curtains swayin' to a warm spring breeze in a kitchen window. He is the youngest in the band, yet is always spoutin' words of wisdom and info and keeps us laughin'. We all love to laugh. We are so lucky to have such a wiz as a drummer and sound savant. 

And Lastly, but not least, Pete Gamble on guitar. Pete most recently was in the band Killer Filler, a surf instrumental group. He has played in many bands, lived many places on the globe, but he comes to Chatham County to practice, tell tales, wail and laugh with us and we, again are so very grateful. He is an ace locksmith by day. Night. Noon. He picks us out of and into a jam all of the time. Pete also has many anecdotes, loves to laugh and loves us and that is key. 

Much more to tell, but you'll just have to get to know us and we'll trade stories. Taz is very honored and grateful that even when she doesn't feed her Johnnys, they keep comin' back. Lucky gal and lucky Ya'll. Kitty Box and The Johnnys will be playing at Sadlacks on 4/21/13, at The Cozy Cabin in Chatham on 5/05/13 and at The City Tap on 5/24/13. It is our honor to be playing for Ya'll today on this occasion. Thank You.

The Breaks
Electric General is the third release from the North Carolina ensemble and it marks a significant development for the band. Most strikingly, the synth textures that were a prominent part of their sound are gone.

The band has emerged with a leaner and more aggressive sound as each member carved out new territory in the frequencies abdicated by the keyboards. Steve Carr’s guitar is more massive and detailed while the rhythm section of Traywick Batson and Brunson Hoole is decidedly more active. John Enslinn’s taut delivery is as potent as ever and his lyrics benefit from the extra space in the midrange.

Appreciation for our Event Partners:

Alpha Install is contracted to perform installations of computers, wireless data network devices, GPS receivers, and specialty antennas into vehicle fleets and, in some cases, into fixed-point locations like retail outlets, or substations.  Check out the very cool facade improvements they have planned for their building. Its great to see positive investments in downtown properties.  

The Chatham Transit Network offers public transportation around Chatham County, between Siler City, Pittsboro and Chapel Hill, as well as point to point service for medical appointments. 

Thanks also to the owners and managing realtors of the Old Ford Lot; your civic mindedness is much appreciated.  

Celebrations and Ceremonies earlier in the day:  

The County has a Grand Reopening Ceremony planned for earlier in the day. Tours of the interior will be available including the new museum managed by the Chatham Historical Association.  I'll update the Parks Blog with details as they're released.  This will be an historic event you wont want to miss.  


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