There are plenty of aging musicians who probably should’ve pumped the brakes on their music career decades ago, but Alice Gerrard
isn’t one of them. The Durham resident turns 80 today and has a new record, Follow the Music
, due on the acoustic-centric powerhouse Tompkins Square
Gerrard rose to prominence in the folk music boom of the ‘60s and ‘70s through her work with Hazel Dickens
; in the half century since, she has continued playing and recording, solidifying herself as a legendary figure in bluegrass and traditional music circles. Hiss Golden Messenger’s Michael Taylor
produced Follow the Music
, and the album features Megafaun brothers Phil and Brad Cook.
Follow the Music
is a mix of new original tunes by Gerrard as well as her own re-workings of traditional folk songs. You can stream “Boll Weevil,” a fiddle tune made popular by Tommy Jarrell
, below. Gerrard’s take on the song is steady and even-keeled, with a twinge of mournfulness that reflects the trouble boll weevils brought to farmers across the United States in the early part of the 20th century.