Blues musicians to perform at Wheeler Theater

PORT TOWNSEND — Blues musicians Michael Roach and John Miller give the kind of performance that might make other musicians in the audience fight over front-row seats, said Mary Hilts, who manages the blues programs at Centrum.

“Their remarkable skills on guitar are a thrill to witness,” Hilts said.

“Equally thrilling is the connection to history they share, having learned directly from masters of country blues traditions.”

Roach and Miller will perform at Centrum at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in the Wheeler Theater at Fort Worden.

Tickets are $23. They can be purchased at centrum.org/tickets, by phone at 800-746-1982 between the hours of 6 a.m. and 4 p.m. today and Saturday or at the Centrum office at 223 Battery Way between noon and 4 p.m. today.

Each of the two musicians will complete a solo set before performing together. The concert concludes the Country Blues Intensive workshop at Centrum, during which Roach and Miller offered in-depth instruction to 30 students over a three-day period.

Roach, a singer and guitar player native to Washington, D.C., was a student of the legendary John Jackson. Jackson, who was born in Virginia in 1924, played the music of his birthplace, known as the northern Piedmont plateau region.

Roach also learned from guitarist John Cephas, who played secular songs and ballads, blues and hokum, folk revival tunes, dance reels and church music from the eastern Piedmont region.

He studied also with Archie Edwards, whose barbershop in Virginia was a practice ground for aspiring blues musicians, and Turner Foddrell, son of old-time musician Posey Foddrell, as well as Jerry Ricks.

Roach moved to the United Kingdom in the early 1990s, so this concert is a rare opportunity for American audiences.

When Miller was 12, he saw Mississippi John Hurt play at the Philadelphia Folk Festival. He taught himself to play in the years following and made his first record at the age of 21.

John Fahey described Miller at that time as “so good he’s scary.”

Miller went on to release six more solo recordings and appeared on more than 50 other CDs. He is well-known as a teacher and produced 17 video lessons released by Stefan Grossman’s Guitar Workshop.

For more information, call 360-385-3102, ext 110.

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