‘Back Room Radio Hour’ To Feature Trio In Premiere
Trinity Guitars’ “Back Room Radio Hour” is ringing in the new year right with an appearance by a Grammy-recognized national icon in the field of bluegrass music.
The WRFA-LP 107.9 FM-affiliated program will feature the award-winning Claire Lynch Trio on Thursday, Jan. 11, at 7 p.m. at its 800 W. Third St. store location, where the group and its decorated and lauded namesake will perform original selections for a very lucky studio audience.
“This is a great opportunity to get a Grammy-recognized and International Bluegrass Music Association Award winner in our listening room here in Jamestown,” said Bill Ward, “Back Room Radio Hour” host. “Claire is a friend of Chautauqua County, having performed at the Mayville Bluegrass Festival and some area folk festivals. We are grateful to have somebody of this caliber contacting us to come and perform on the radio show.”
Lynch is a pioneer of the bluegrass genre in many ways. Her career has been decorated with many accolades including three Grammy nominations, six International Bluegrass Music Association awards — three of which dubbed her “best female vocalist” — and the prestigious United States Artists Walker Fellowship.
Her boundary-pushing presence in the bluegrass scene began in the mid-1970s, when there were few young women in the scene and bluegrass was experiencing a revival. Lynch made her mark fronting a band called Hickory Wind. Later, the band changed its name to the Front Porch String Band with Lynch’s vocals as its centerpiece.
“I really didn’t get into bluegrass music until I was about 19,” Lynch said. “At that point, everything (in that genre) was ‘earthy.’ What was hip were hippies; we’d just been through the anti-war movement, and though I was kind of too young to be involved in that, it was just the attitude that drew me in. If it was organic, it was cool.”
In 1981, after their first nationally released recording, the group retired from the road and Lynch pursued dual careers in addition to raising a family, spending seven years as a staff writer at two of the most prestigious publishing houses on Music Row in Nashville. At the same time, she became a much-sought-after session vocalist.
Although never formally trained in the art form, Lynch had plenty of experience making music as a child, singing in church, choirs and with her sisters. She said it was these experiences that gave her an ear for music and harmonies.
In fact, it is her voice and songwriting prowess that have earned her the recognition and respect of several prominent figures in the country and bluegrass music industries. Dolly Parton credits Claire with “one of the sweetest, purest and best lead voices in the music business today,” and her harmonies have graced the recordings of many well-known musicians. Equally gifted as a writer, her songs have been recorded by The Seldom Scene, Patty Loveless, Kathy Mattea, Cherryholmes, The Whites, and others.
In 1991, the Front Porch String Band was resurrected with the album Lines and Traces on Rebel Records, a move that ultimately led to the launching of Lynch’s solo career in earnest. Since 1993, she has released 10 solo albums, several of which were nominated for “Best Bluegrass Album” in the annual Grammy Awards on the year of their release. These included 1995’s “Moonlighter,” 1997’s “Silver and Gold,” and her most recent release, 2016’s “North by South.”
Lynch has always been forthcoming in her lyrical content, as her songs may be considered an audio documentary of her life experiences. In 2000, she began what would become a six-year hiatus from music before her return.
“I think as far as personal growth, it was all documented in my original songs,” she said. “I think sincerity is the main thing (I want to convey). In my latter years, I’m leveling with myself and my own beliefs and principles. It’s fun to explore that now and maybe trigger some thoughts in people, politically or socially or spiritually. I think I have the trust of my fans, and so if they’re not entertained or elevated after seeing one of my shows, then I haven’t done my job.”
Also featured on the program will be the My Blue Heaven bed and breakfast located at 122 S. Erie St. in Mayville. Opened in 1999, My Blue Heaven offers comfortable accommodations in renovated homes for overnight guests who desire a quiet and relaxing environment. They also offer fantastic gourmet breakfasts, prepared with special dietary concerns in mind.
“It is always satisfying to see local businesses respond to the arts in the way that My Blue Heaven did when they heard Claire Lynch was coming to town,” Ward said. “They were very anxious to help us response to the show, and we are grateful. It is one of Mayville’s treasures, by the way. Probably one of the coolest bed and breakfasts in the area.”
While most “Back Room Radio Hour” performances are free, this particular performance will have a modest presale ticket fee of $20. Reservations may also be made by visiting trinityguitars.com or via the event’s Facebook page. The show will begin at 7 p.m., and it is recommended that attendees arrive at 6:30 p.m. in order to ensure the program begins on time.
For more information, find “Claire Lynch Trio at Trinity Guitars’ Back Room Radio Hour” on Facebook.