Get ready to welcome the all-female band BattleAxe, February 25, 2017, for contra dancing at the Sautee Nacoochee Center. BattleAxe is known for delivering a highly spirited mixture of old-time traditional Appalachian dance tunes and country root, rags and blues music, all peppered with occasional singing of old ballad lyrics.
The four members of BattleAxe are seasoned musicians and performers with years of experience playing with other bands in the field of traditional Appalachian music. Based in the upstate South Carolina Blue Ridge area, the band is: Amy Buckingham on fiddle and guitar, Lucy Allen on guitar, Brooke Lauer on banjo and fiddle, and Nancy Hamilton on upright bass. Amy is also well-known to the Sautee dance community for the band Blue Ridge Rounders, with her husband Bob Buckingham, that has played for the Sautee community dance several times.
BattleAxe formed in 2014 as a way to express the fun and delight the members have garnered through their musical experiences over the years. The women love to play hard-driving old-time Appalachian dance tunes, original songs, singer-songwriter songs from Gillian Welch and The Wailin’ Jennys, and even a traditional gospel number or two. The band’s 2015 recording showcases powerful vocal harmonies and instrumental music playing.
Quite fitting as a match for these Appalachian musicians is caller Warren Doyle from Tennessee. Though “institutionally retired,” Dr. Doyle, Director of the Appalachian Trail Institute, is an advocate of Appalachian life and culture and has hiked the entire Appalachian Trail over sixteen times. He helped found a folk school near Mountain City that offers quality contra dancing and music for people who want to visit the area while providing economic support to the local community. He has been involved in the contra dance scene as a dancer, caller, and dance event organizer for over forty years. A life-long educator, his calling style is marked by clarity and patience, and he is especially helpful in instructing beginner dancers.
Introductory lesson, 7:30 pm; dance, 8-11 pm. No partner or prior experience necessary. SNCA members, $7; non-members, $10; students, $5; children 12 and under, free. The SNC historic gym is located at 283 Highway 255 North, ¼ mile off Highway 17 in Sautee, Georgia.
Contact: (706) 878-3300; www.snca.org or www.sauteecontra.com.
By Charles Hawkins and Beth Marsh Hawkins
Dedicated volunteers who help keep the Sautee Community Contra Dance in the public eye.