The Carter Family Fold in Hiltons, Virginia, will present a concert of bluegrass music at 7:30 p.m. Saturday by a long-time popular group at the Fold, the McLain Family Band. Admission to the concert is $10 for adults and $1 for children 6 to 11. Children under age 6 are admitted free.
Direct from the hills of Kentucky, The McLain Family Band has become internationally known as one of the most spontaneous, creative and spirited groups performing contemporary Appalachian bluegrass music. Between 1968 and 1990, they performed in all 50 states and 62 countries during 14 international concert tours, some as musical ambassadors of the U.S. Department of State.
The McLain Family Band played at the Grand Ole Opry, Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Lincoln Center and the Carter Fold. They were featured at thousands of festivals and concerts and performed as soloists in more than 230 appearances with orchestras.
Raymond K. McLain formed the McLain Family Band in 1968 with his son Raymond W. and daughters Ruth and Alice. McLain was a Carter Family Memorial Music Center board member from the day the center was created. Raymond W. now serves on the Music Center’s board of directors and assists as artistic director at the Fold. Raymond K. McLain served for many years as executive director of Hindman Settlement School in Knott County, Kentucky.
He studied folk music at Harvard and later at the University of North Carolina, then went on to develop and teach the first college courses in bluegrass and in Appalachian Music at Berea College in 1971. His mother, Beatrice “Bicky” McLain, was also a significant figure in American folk music, founding the Southern Regional Folk Life Center at the University of Alabama and serving as its first director.
For 21 years with the McLain Family Band, Raymond was featured internationally at thousands of festivals and concerts and as a soloist in appearances with over 230 orchestras.
For eleven years, The McLain Family Band hosted The McLain Family Band Festival which was featured on NPR’s Folk Festival USA and produced by Kentucky Educational TV for national distribution. Other television appearances include NBC’s Today Show, the CBS Morning News, Good Morning America, the Pearl Bailey ETV Special, the BBC, TNN’s Nashville Now and the Johnny Cash Christmas Special.
The McLain Family Band began performing at the Carter Music Center when Janette Carter first began presenting concerts in the old A.P. Carter Grocery in 1974. The family band stopped touring on a full time basis in 1990, but continues to give occasional concerts – many of them at the Fold.
Raymond was with Jim & Jesse’s Virginia Boys for ten years. He currently performs with Canadian harmonica whiz Mike Stevens. Through the years, the McLains have produced dozens of CDs and records.
For some of the best bluegrass music this side of heaven — and some of the best dancing — don’t miss the McLain Family Band with special guests the XTreme Dance Company at the Carter Family Fold.