For the last 65 years the citizens of Eureka Springs have celebrated their cultural history with music, dance and crafts. If you have grown up in Eureka springs for the last 70 years you were a hedgehopper in third grade and square danced on the stage of the auditorium.
Eureka Springs’ 2012 Original Ozark Folk Festival will feature the legendary Ronny Cox, who first made his mark in American culture when he played “Dueling Banjos” on his guitar in the movie “Deliverance,” and the role of ill fated Drew.
His acting career includes roles on “St. Elsewhere,” “Beverly Hills Cop” and “Star Trek” among others, but it’s his music that brings him to Eureka Springs. Cox is one of the best musical story tellers in our country. Cox sings from his heart with lyrical songs about his life and his encounters with the world.
First, is Karen Mal vocalist, mandolinist, bassist and all around force of nature. Mal has won more awards for her music than there is room to mention. Her beautiful voice and dynamic playing style has made her a rising star in the folk world as well as a sought after accompanist. She has appeared on stage with Buddy Mondlock, Jonathan Byrd, Sam Baker, Ken Gaines and so many others.
World-renowned accordionist Radoslaw Lorkovic will also be sharing the stage that night. Lorkovic is a one-man musical machine. Seen on stages from coast to coast and all over the world — he played Afghanistan and Dubai this year — he has shared the stage with Odette, Greg Brown, Bo Ramesy, Jimmy LaFave and Ellis Paul to name a few. Lorkovic begin as a pianist at the age of 6 in this native Croatia.
Opening for — and most likely joining Cox — will be Jack Williams. In Williams’ 54-year career he has played folk, rock, R&B, classical and all the poplar music of the 30s, 40s and 50s. This gifted Guitarist/ songwriter has been everywhere and played with such greats as Harry Nilsson, Micky Newbury, Tom Paxton and Peter Yarrow. He even sat in with the Allman Brothers Band in Atlanta once. It has been said that Jack Williams is a national treasure. No one can play like him.
America’s favorite folk duo Trout Fishing in America will also be on Stage. They bill themselves as “Music for people who take their fun seriously.” This eclectic folk/rock band is best known for family music and kids songs but their music transcends definition. They play to the kid in all of us. Trout’s stage presence is large, makes you wonder how two guys can make so much music and even with four Grammy nominations and 34 years playing music together these two are still as fresh and innovative as ever. Catch them on Saturday for a free kid’s show in Basin Park at 1 p.m. before the Parade.
The Singer/ Songwriters contest starts at 11 p.m. on Saturday. This competition will bring some of the best musicians on stage to battle it out one guitar and banjo against the other.
But there is more…On Sunday in Basin Park at 1 p.m. there will be “Voices of reason, Voices of Change” featuring Northwest Arkansas’ ambassadors of peace, Still on the Hill, Dave Rosengarden Baer, Arkansas Red and Bossa Screwnova. These fine musicians will be singing their political songs of today. There will be community groups and sing-alongs. The 99 percenters and the 47 percenters, too.
And on Thursday, Nov. 2 Chelsea’s Corner café will be presenting a Hillbilly Hooyenanny! Come see your Favorite local musicians in this HeeHaw style production. The will be skits and songs by some of your favorite Faux Country stars: Conway Twitty, Pasty Cline, Grandpa Jones and more. There will be square dancing, a pie baking contest, Chichen Splat bingo and corny jokes. It will be a knee slappin’,foot stompin’, hay chawin’ good time. Fun starts at 9 p.m.!
To finish out the weekend on Sunday night there will be a Eureka Springs House Concert at the UU church featuring Laurie McClain. Laurie is a true artist, she sings from a place deep in her heart. Her voice is strong and vulnerable at the same time, she tends to make a person smile through the tears. The concert starts with a ‘Meet and Greet’ potluck at 5 p.m., music starts at 6 p.m. with the old time sounds of Jones Van Jones.
Mark it on your calendars. Come on down and get folky in Eureka Springs Arkansas! For more information, visit OzarkFolkFestival.com.