PORT TOWNSEND — Whether you’re hungry for a flavorful afternoon of music on the Fourth of July holiday or a night full of rich American tunes, Fort Worden State Park and Centrum are preparing it for you.
This Independence Day Monday, Centrum’s traditional “Fourth at the Fort” party starts at 1:30 p.m. at McCurdy Pavilion. Titled “Old Time Glory,” the matinee concert stars bluegrass pioneer Alice Gerrard, who will be backed by the big Resonator banjo in the hands of Rick Good.
“Gerrard doesn’t simply interpret the song; she lives in it,” wrote one critic at the Raleigh News & Observer.
Her album “Calling Me Home” won her more adoration in magazines such as Sing Out, where a writer marveled at her “exquisite singing” and “ability to weave her heartstrings around songs.”
Other “Glory” luminaries include Washington old-time fiddle champion Hank Bradley, old-time banjo player Candy Goldman with Seattle guitarist Dan Lockshon and Acadian dance fiddlers Bertrand Deraspe and Alain Turbide.
Monday’s concert will also delve into the Cajun realm, with fiddler and National Heritage Fellow Michael Doucet, and take listeners on a trip down the Gulf Coast of Mexico via Trio Chicontepec’s Huastecan danzas, sones viejos and huapangos.
Finally on Monday afternoon, Eddie Bond and Kirk Sutphin will celebrate the spirit of the Round Peak tradition.
Tickets to “Old Time Glory” are $17 and $36 and may be ordered by phoning 800-746-1982, at www.
centrum.org and at the Centrum office at Fort Worden, 223 Battery Way.
The fort’s Fourth of July evening concert, “Fiddles and Fireworks,” will get under way at 7 p.m. in McCurdy Pavilion, with old-time Kentucky masters Paul David Smith and Jimmy McCown, longtime Bill Monroe sideman Bobby Hicks with Adam Masters, and Andrea Beaton with Troy MacGillivray. Beaton, who turns 32 this year, is the youngest member of the legendary Mabou Beaton Family of fiddlers from Cape Breton in Nova Scotia.
Tickets to “Fiddles” are $16 and $34, and available at the Centrum outlets.
Throughout Monday evening, dinner will be available from Port Townsend’s Cape Cleare, which offers wild-caught Alaskan salmon, organic greens and sandwiches; a beer garden will be also open.
The finale for the night will of course be Port Townsend’s fireworks display, to start around 10 p.m. The pyrotechnics can be seen from the bluff at Fort Worden State Park.
“Fiddles and Fireworks” is the kickoff of the 35th Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, which will bring to the fort a “Country Cajun Stomp” next Friday, July 8. This event features the Savoy Family Band, fiddle prodigy and Balfa family member Courtney Granger and the country-roots band Marley’s Ghost, playing on Littlefield Green at 6 p.m.
Another Fiddle Tunes event comes Saturday, July 9, in the Master Hands Project. This rare gathering of winners of the National Endowment for the Arts Heritage Award — the country’s highest honor for traditional artists — starts at 1:30 p.m. in McCurdy Pavilion. The players are Appalachian guitarist Wayne Henderson, New England contra and barn dance caller Dudley Laufman and family, Cajun accordionist Marc Savoy and his family band, American Swedish Spelmans Trio founder Paul Dahlin and family, and All-Ireland fiddle champion Liz Carroll. Joining Carroll will be guitarist John Doyle, a former member of the Irish-American group Solas.Centrum, the presenter of Fiddle Tunes as well as Jazz Port Townsend, the Port Townsend Writers’ Conference and the Acoustic Blues Festival this summer, is accepting applications for the workshops that are part of those events. For details, visit www.centrum.org or phone 800-733-3608 or 360-385-3102.