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Bluegrass and Cajun Music Next Fusion Concert

Bluegrass and Cajun Music Next Fusion Concert

Area folks will have the chance to enjoy the music of two bands from their geographic neighbor to the east (Columbia, MO) when Ironweed and Swampweed provide two hours of foot stompin’ sounds in the second performance of the Fusion Concert Series at Highland Community College. The Ironweed Bluegrass Band and Swampweed Cajun Band will take to the Mary Helen Porter Stage in Culbertson Auditorium on the Highland campus at 7:30 pm on November 23.  Ticket prices for this concert are $20 and can be obtained by calling Lisa at 785.442.6005 or at the door.

With meandering roots from the Missouri Ozarks all the way to Tubingen, Germany, Ironweed continues to bring you only the finest in bluegrass, vintage country and good ol’ hillbilly twang. The band features champion Kelly Jones on fiddle, master Joe Wieneman on mandolin and harmony vocals, Jane Accurso on guitar and lead vocals, Dierik Leonhard on banjo and vocals, and Matt Bossaller on upright slap bass.

Multi-Fiddle Champion of state, regional, and world trophies, Kelly Jones brings seasoned licks and expertise to the Ironweed stage. Inspired by his father’s square dance fiddling, he began his musical journey at an early age. He entered and won his first fiddle contest, the Missouri State Fiddle Championship, in 1965. His professional music career includes Opry Shows, a Special Services Band while stationed in Viet Nam, a ten year tour with national country legend, Judy Lynn, including eight years with fiddle king Bobby Hicks. Kelly has performed in every state, Canada, and overseas. He was selected by the Performing Arts Center as Missouri’s state representative in 1996 to perform at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington,

DC. Currently, he tours with Leroy Van Dyke and plays with Ironweed while home in Stover, Missouri.

A lot of backwoods passion flows through Jane Accurso’s veins with her deep Missouri Ozark and Arkansas roots. Her dad’s people were old-time stringband musicians, and on her mom’s side, Aunt Pearl was known to be the best Schottische dancer in all of St. Clair County. From traditional grass to newgrass, from traditional country to Cajun and old-time, Jane continues to bring fire to the Ironweed stage with lead vocals, guitar, and occasional mandolin, when smiled at real pretty. She likes to perform barefoot when the weather permits, but she has several pairs of excessively colorful cowboy boots reserved for wintertime use.

Master mandolinist Joe Wieneman, from Eldon, MO, has played traditional bluegrass since the late ‘70s, starting with Gateway Bluegrass, a family band, and moving on to several other national touring Midwest groups through the 1980s-‘90s. Most recently, he toured with Frank Ray and Cedar Hill.  Joe was a member of the original Rhonda Vincent & the Rage in 1995-96. He plays guitar, mandolin, & fiddle and sings baritone.

Dierik Leonhard says he was born in Germany, but his close friends suspect that he’s really from the third moon of the Planet Banjo, located in Orion’s belt buckle. He is fluent in all styles of banjo picking, so he can — and often will — sound like Earl Scruggs one minute and Tony Trishka the next. Most pickers would be tickled just to know all of the stuff he’s forgotten or abandoned. Besides that, he is an excellent lead and harmony singer. His fiddlin’ raises the roof. His old-time clawhammer banjo will surely make you whoop & holler. Dierik has taught “Bluegrass 101″ for many years in the Columbia School system, and and has started many pickers down that high, lonesome bluegrass highway. Dierik has the biggest grin in bluegrass music.

Matthew Bossaller brings rowdy roots energy to the Ironweed and Swampweed bands. From old time contra dances to Cajun to rock to “naughty hillbilly jazz,” his rockabilly slap on the doghouse bass drives bluegrass the way it was intended. His continued success with some of Columbia’s finest bands has prepared him to carry on his wild boy reputation as a recidivist rocker on the bass. Be ready for your hair to fly wild as he drives the Ironweed rhythm train.

Ironweed has an evil twin, Swampweed, a Cajun Dancehall Band . . . playing traditional, foot-stompin’, accordion squeezed, French howlin’ music from the swamps with Dierik on fiddle, Jane on French vocals and Matt switching that slap to Cajun. Swampweed features Ehren Oncken on Cajun button accordion and the very ornery Jimmy Joe Culbertson on drums, triangle, and his own special creation “The Washtar.” Expect lots of lively dance tunes honoring the Balfa brothers, Dennis McGee, Canray Fontenot, Amede Ardoin, Cheese Reed and many others.

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