Monday, August 14, 2017

Smithsonian Folkways Artist, DC Folk Mainstay Stephen Wade Brings New Album to AMP

Stephen Wade (Photo: Michael G. Stewart)

From our friends at AMP by Strathmore...

Banjo Master & Folk Music Conservator Stephen Wade at AMP

Wade celebrates release of new album, revisits landmark book/theater project in two concerts

Grammy-nominated musician, author, and researcher Stephen Wade creates a time capsule of American grassroots tradition in two companion concerts at AMP. On Saturday, September 16, 2017 at 8 PM. Wade celebrates his newly-released Smithsonian Folkways album, Across the Amerikee: Showpieces from Coal Camp to Cattle Trail, accompanied by veteran musicians Zan McLeod and Russ Hooper. Two months later at AMP, he revisits his magnum opus, the book and concert piece, The Beautiful Music All Around Us, on Thursday, November 16, 2017 at 8 PM. Wade is best known locally for his unprecedented, decade long-run of Banjo Dancing at Arena Stage. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit

Patrons can buy tickets to Wade’s first concert and receive 20% off admission to the second show. More information is available on AMP’s website or by calling the Ticket Office at (301) 581-5100.

Wade released Across the Amerikee: Showpieces from Coal Camp to Cattle Trail in June 2017. With its title drawn from an early voice heard on the Grand Ole Opry, the disc explores American grassroots traditions, from lyric folksong to old-time instrumentals to comic recitations. Amerikee’s stories of history, locality, and humanity emerge from Wade’s years of contact with older-generation singers and players, each masters in their own right.

In the second of his two thematically-linked concerts, Wade focuses on his book The Beautiful Music All Around Us: Field Recordings and the American Experience. Described as a “masterpiece of humane scholarship - but one that reads like a detective story” (Wall Street Journal), this award-winning book and live music presentation details the rich backstories of field recordings undertaken by the Library of Congress from the Southern Appalachians, Mississippi Delta, and the Great Plains. Wade brings to compelling life - in accounts both amusing and evocative, abetted by footage and projected images, as well as his own playing - stories, songs, scenes, artifacts, and memories that inhabit this multi-decade journey across the American land.

AMP, powered by Strathmore presents
Saturday, September 16, 2017
8:00 PM
Tickets $25-$35

Thursday, November 16, 2017
8 PM
Tickets $25-$35 (20% discount available to patrons who purchase tickets to Wade’s first concert)

AMP, powered by Strathmore
11810 Grand Park Avenue
North Bethesda, MD 20852

For additional information or to purchase tickets, visit or call (301) 581-5100.

About Stephen Wade:
Stephen Wade was first exposed to American traditional music as a child in Chicago, from hearing vernacular players who had moved north from both the Mississippi Delta and the Southern Appalachians. As a boy, he began playing blues guitar and by his teens had picked up the five-string banjo. Early role models included Fleming Brown of Chicago’s Old Town School of Folk Music, and Brown’s teacher, Doc Hopkins of the National Barn Dance, a radio precursor to the Grand Ole Opry.

Encouragement from these mentors led Wade to visit other traditional musicians across the American south, leading to the 1979 creation of Banjo Dancing, his one-man theatrical performance that combined storytelling, traditional music, and percussive dance. The show opened in Chicago, where it played sold-out for more than a year (including an invited performance at the White House). After this, Wade brought Banjo Dancing to DC’s Arena Stage in 1981 for a three-week engagement that stretched into 10 years, making it, at the time, one of the longest-running off-Broadway shows in the United States.

In 1987 Wade wrote and starred in the hour-long WETA-TV documentary Catching the Music. His second theater piece, On the Way Home, garnered the Joseph Jefferson Award for Chicago theater in 1993. In 2003, Wade received the Helen Hayes/Charles MacArthur Award for his work as composer, adapter, and musical director for the world premiere of Zora Neale Hurston’s Polk County.

The Beautiful Music All Around Us: Field Recordings and the American Experience was published in 2012. This acclaimed 504-page study showcases nearly two decades of research during which Wade tracked down performers, families, and communities connected with various legendary Library of Congress field recordings. These songs and tunes, which Wade first gathered in A Treasury of Library of Congress Field Recordings (Rounder Records, 1997), gave rise to his folksong commentaries that have aired on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered.

In 2012 Wade released Banjo Diary: Lessons from Tradition on Smithsonian Folkways. This Grammy-nominated album explores musical knowledge passed across the generations. He has recorded and/or produced more than a dozen albums. He is currently at work with Oscar-winning filmmaker Paul Wagner, developing a feature-length film based on his book.

About AMP, powered by Strathmore:
AMP is great music and food at Pike & Rose, an urban-minded, Metro-accessible neighborhood along Rockville Pike that puts a premium on authentic live music experiences, bringing new energy beyond the Beltway. The live music and dining concept is a collaborative venture of Strathmore, food and beverage provider Ridgewells, and Federal Realty Investment Trust (NYSE:FRT). Located in the thriving and rapidly changing Pike District in Montgomery County, AMP is the nexus of live entertainment in the growing Pike & Rose neighborhood, fostering a vibrant nighttime economy in Montgomery County.