War musician

Show to feature Civil War tunes

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Click here to enlarge this photo
Photo courtesy Bruce Hutton
Hutton will bring his Civil War stylings to the Carroll Arts Center on Friday.

The Civil War will be coming back to Carroll County Friday when dozens of antique instruments and old-fashioned songs will be played to accompany the library’s celebration of the Pulitzer Prize winning book ‘‘The Killer Angels.”

Local musician Bruce Hutton, who has played folk music for more than three decades, will be showing off his talents on various instruments including the banjo, dulcimer, mandolin, harmonica and guitar.

The show is all part of a larger program called ‘‘On the Same Page: Carroll County Reads Together” sponsored by the Carroll County Public Libraries. Each year, a different book is highlighted, along with entertainment to make the public excited about the book. This year’s featured novel was written by the late Michael Shaara.

‘‘This year we wanted to do something different and bring in a flavor of the time with music,” said organizer Kris Peters.

Hutton’s performance will take place at Westminster’s Carroll Arts Center because the venue is large enough to accommodate the crowd, Peters said.

During the evening, Hutton plans on playing crowd favorites, some little-known tunes, and educating the public about the songs and his antique instruments.

‘‘These are new waters for me,” said the musician, who lives in Mt. Ranier. Although he is a frequent visitor to local schools as part of their musical education programs, Hutton has never put on a theme-based show before.

Bruce Hutton

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday
Where: Carroll Arts Center, 91 W. Main St., Westminster
Tickets: $10 general admission, $8 for seniors, cardholders, and children 12 and younger
For information: 410-386-4480, 410-848-7272

He says he is looking forward to the night when he will play tunes such as ‘‘John Brown’s Body” about the famous abolitionist John Brown, ‘‘Richmond is a Hard Road to Travel” and ‘‘Follow the Drinking Gourd” about the Underground Railroad.

Most of his music will come out of the Civil War era and will be played on his collection of banjos that date back to the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Hutton travels internationally and across the country with several different bands and as a solo musician throughout the year. He started playing full time in 1973 and soon hooked up with the band Double Decker String Band and then Roustabout, both of which are still in existence.

Double Decker, which has four members including Hutton, has just released its sixth album called ‘‘The Rest is Yet to Come.” That album and a recently-released solo CD will be available to purchase during the concert, Hutton said.

Hutton also plays around the East Coast in different festivals, including the Washington Folk Festival that occurs every June.

‘‘My specialty is traditional folk music,” he said.

This music is perfect for the library’s program, Peters said. Someone recommended Hutton to the group as they were trying to piece the musical part together and Peters knew it would be an amazing fit.

Peters is also excited about Hutton’s habit of including the audience in his music by encouraging singing.

‘‘The Killer Angels” is about the Battle of Gettysburg, which happened just north of Carroll County. The 1974 novel has been called the most realistic portrayal of the bloody Civil War battle and was the basis for the 1993 movie Gettysburg.

Besides Hutton’s performance, the library is offering many other events, including a ghost walk tour of Westminster, Civil War cooking, demonstrations and an April 29 performance by the 2nd South Carolina String Band of the Confederate Army.