Little Black Train House Concert

Mike Melnyk Photo
Little Black Train. Mike Melnyk Photo

Time and Date: 7:00 pm. Saturday June 1, 2013

Location: near Lockwood, CA

Cost: $15 suggested donation

Call (805) 472‐2884 for reservations/information.


Three times in the past, the trio Little Black Train has played to enthusiastic audiences at Hesperia Hall. Look for the return of bluegrass mandolinist Kenny Blackwell, traditional Irish fiddler John Weed, and old timey songster Stuart Mason, coming this time to a Smith Road house concert. A suggested donation of $15 will give you an evening of lively bluegrass, old‐timey tunes, fiery fiddling, Celtic music, and virtuosic improvisation. All proceeds go to the musicians.

Little Black Train plays a fun, refreshing fusion of vintage fiddle tunes, blazing mandolin, and songs of old-time Americana. The all-acoustic trio of veteran pickers mixes up an unlikely blend of old-timey songs, bluesy mandolin, and Celtic fiddle to create their unique breed of oldternative Americana. From Folkworks Magazine: “The trio consists of West Virginia native Stuart Mason, whose deep roots in traditional music are reflected in his authentic lead vocals, guitar, mandola and banjo; John Weed, whose old-time Irish fiddling style and harmony vocals carry the listener back through the centuries; and Kenny Blackwell, whose sometimes-bluesy, sometimes-jazzy, and always brilliant mandolin or guitar embroiders every melody, along with his harmony vocals.”

“Bringing in a funky set of old barndances from Northern Ireland is an especially inspired touch, as it shows a kinship between the melodies of Irish and American music that’s all too often overlooked in favor of the songs. Yep, these boys can play and they know their stuff.” – Devon Leger, Hearth Music (Seattle)

Photo by Doug Moxness
Photo by Doug Moxness

Stuart Mason talks about the music of Little Black Train:

“We give equal weight to traditional melody playing and the old songs, as well as fiery improvisation on mandolin and fiddle. Before the boom of commercial radio in the 20s and 30s, you would have heard more evidence of the old country in the sound of the fiddle, that’s where John’s style comes into play. The fiddler from Molly’s Revenge invokes the timeless spirit of Donegal and Clare in the tunes he brings to us. Kenny has a long history of jazz, swing, blues and bluegrass on the mandolin, and you can hear that in his fiery licks.

“As for my songs–I was born in West Virginia. My father’s family lived there since long before it split off from Virginia. My grandpa worked the C&O Railroad, and his father was a circuit-riding preacher, so I’ve got fire and brimstone and coal dust under my skin. Gospel was always a big part of music up in the hills, seems like you’re closer to God up there anyway, but the coal boom was what brought in the sound of the Piedmont and the Delta. Black folk flooded in to work the mines, and that’s when mountain music met the blues. Singers like Dick Justice and Dock Boggs and Charlie Poole recorded music that had all those ingedients mixed up together. That’s the same track we travel with Little Black Train.”

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Uncle Stu

Watercolor artist. Folk musician. Lucky husband. Incomplete angler. Student of the art of living.

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