Sprout Wings and Fly

Saturday, 2011, May 7 - 8:00pm
5 E Edenton St
Raleigh, 27601

Tommy Jarrell was an influential musician whose style incorporated expressive syncopation and sliding ornamentation. Although he made his living from road construction (operating a motor grader for the North Carolina Highway Department until his retirement in 1966), his technique and timbre continue to influence modern-day practitioners of Appalachian old-time music, particularly the Round Peak Style of the clawhammer banjo. He got his first fiddle with 10 dollars he received from his grandpa. That fiddle is now in the Smithsonian Institution.

Jarrell was recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts in 1982, when they awarded him a National Heritage Fellowship. In his later years, Jarrell lived in the small unincorporated community of Toast, North Carolina. His life is documented in two films by Les Blank, of which Sprout Wings & Fly is the first.

This touching tribute to Appalachian culture profiles Jarrell, who is originally from Mt. Airy, NC. His unpretentious folk wisdom is interlaced with family scenes and reminiscences, plus plenty of old-time music. Musician Alice Gerrard and Appalachian State English Professor Cece Conway will introduce the film.

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