SERFA will honor Jim Rooney, Ginny Hawker & Tracy Schwarz, and veteran broadcaster Michael Stock on Friday, May 18 during our 11th Annual Conference in Montreat, NC. The SERFA Awards, which immediately follow the 2:00 PM keynote address by Rooney, are open only to conference registrants. Registration at the lowest super early bird rate will open on December 1st at www.serfa.org. Official showcase applications open the same day.
Rooney recounted his career in the 2015 memoir In It For The Long Run: A Musical Odyssey (University of Illinois Press). He has played nearly every position in music, exceeding as a recording producer and engineer, songwriter, musician, music publisher, festival producer, folk club manager, and author. Highlights include starting the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and programming the Newport Folk Festival, producing Nanci Griffith and John Prine, running the Forerunner publishing house, performing across six decades with Bill Keith, and writing Bossmen, the first biography of both Bill Monroe and Muddy Waters, and Baby Let Me Follow You Down, the first history of the Boston folk scene.
Hawker & Schwarz, long time West Virginia residents, have enjoyed a long career performing traditional folk music separately and together, following Tracy’s role in the New Lost City Ramblers and the Strange Creek Singers. Spanning old-time, Cajun, ballads, gospel, and bluegrass, they have recorded and performed together, solo, and with numerous bands and duos, including Dewey Balfa, Hazel Dickens, Marc Savoy, and Kay Justice. Ginny & Tracy have released two albums together. Ginny is credited with six albums, four of them with Justice. Tracy has at least 30 album credits. Ginny and Tracy have appeared in concerts and festivals throughout the United States, Canada, and England. Each summer they teach southern traditional singing at several music camps, introducing people to the music they love. Recently they have started teaching students in their home.
Stock was one of the 120 people who formed Folk Alliance International (then the North American Folk Music and Dance Alliance) in Malibu in 1989. Every Sunday from 2-5pm, for more than 30 years, Michael has produced "Folk & Acoustic Music" on public radio station 91.3 FM WLRN in Miami. The show consists of select recordings of old and new primarily acoustic music, including bluegrass, blues, classic country, acoustic world music, contemporary singer/songwriters and folk music. The show also features interviews and in studio performances of local and traveling artists. Videos of more than 500 of these appear on his YouTube channel, including such SERFA conference regulars as Si Kahn, Bill & Eli Perras, Robin Greenstein, Jon Shain, Ellen Bukstel, Zoe Mulford, and Mean Mary.
Saturday, May 19 at the SERFA Conference will bring the annual Wisdom of the Elders at 10:45 AM. The program offers a ninety-minute collective interview of folk music greats of a certain age. This year they are Jim Rooney, Billy Edd Wheeler, and Ginny Hawker & Tracy Schwarz. Wheeler, a local resident and West Virginia native, is an author, playwright, painter, and songwriter. He composed many hit songs including “Coward of the County” (Kenny Rogers), “Jackson” (Johnny Cash & June Carter), and “Ode to the Little Brown Shack Out Back” (Billy Edd’s only Top Ten hit as a recording artist), as well as folk and bluegrass music classic “Coal Tattoo” (Hazel Dickens).