For Cyril Lance, roots music goes beyond Celtic ballads and bluegrass. It goes beyond African-American slave songs and the blues. For Lance, "Roots music is getting to the core of what it is to play music. The first time I heard Muddy Waters or the first time I heard Woody Guthrie or even Bulgarian folk music, it hit me a certain way. There's almost a direct connection to the soul in roots music that inspires me." Tonight is the third time he'll be using The ArtsCenter's American Roots Series to expand those roots.
Besides playing solo and with his normal quartet, Lance will join forces with some local powerhouses that have different styles but fit within his concept of roots music. "I've just been blessed playing with all of these wonderful musicians, and so I thought I'd put together a night of celebration of all these incredible people that we have in our community." He's had more experience with some than others. Will McFarlane has sat in on gigs with Lance for a long time now, but Peter Holsapple just met Lance at Shakori Hills this past April. Greg Humphries, also playing tonight, introduced the two. There's an exciting, voyeuristic quality of listening to musicians collaborate, not unlike listening in on a conversation. Tonight's show should offer up many of these private moments, getting at that hidden truth, the soul Lance searches for in roots music. "There's this real magic of playing with other musicians and connecting on this very subconscious, very deep level. Roots music is all about that because it came out of that." —Andrew Ritchey