On Friday, February 20, at 8:00 PM the Monadnock Folklore Society presents the Rodney Miller Trio, in the Nelson Town Hall. The concert features Rodney Miller on fiddle, David Surette on guitar, mandolin and bouzouki, and Gordon Peery on piano. Admission is $15/$12(Sr/Jr).
Individually these musicians enjoy decades-long reputations as some of the finest contra dance musicians in the country. Their concert in Nelson is a rare opportunity to hear them playing in this trio configuration, and in a concert setting.
Rodney Miller has been at the forefront of traditional New England fiddling since the mid 1970’s. He was one of the first musicians to issue a recording of fiddle tunes. As early as 1983, he was designated a “Master Fiddler” in 1983 by the National Endowment for the Arts. He is widely considered to be the foremost exponent of New England style fiddling, a uniquely American blend of French Canadian and Celtic influences. Over the past 35 years, he has toured the U.S., British Isles, Australia and Denmark, performed and taught at hundreds of music and dance festivals, and recorded over ten fiddle albums.
In 1999, Rodney represented the state of New Hampshire, playing traditional fiddle music at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, D.C. He has also appeared on Garrison Keillor’s National Public Radio show “A Prairie Home Companion,” performed live with the Twyla Tharp Modern Dance Company, performed at the Lincoln Center in New York, and was recorded on the album Songs and Sounds of the Sea for the National Geographic Society.
In March, 2014 Rodney Miller was appointment by NH Gov. Hassan and the Executive Council as the new Artist Laureate of NH.
David Surette is widely regarded as one of New England’s finest guitarists, His solo albums “Back Roads” and “Trip to Kemper” have helped to establish him as a top player and arranger of Celtic fingerstyle guitar, yet his diverse repertoire also includes original compositions, blues and ragtime, traditional American roots music, and folk music from a variety of traditions, all played with finesse, taste, and virtuosity. He is equally at home on the mandolin and bouzouki, and is well-known as a top-notch accompanist in New England’s contra dance and Celtic music circles, and is also in demand as a studio musician and sideman. He has performed throughout the country at festivals, concerts, coffeehouses and contra dances, and in 1999 toured in Brittany, France. In addition to performing and recording, Surette maintains an active teaching schedule, and is head of the folk department at the Concord (NH) Community Music School.
Gordon Peery began playing piano for contra dances in the late 1970’s, mentored by Bob McQuillen, and influenced by the Cape Breton styling of fiddler Harvey Tolman. However his style quickly evolved to express influence from rock and roll and later, jazz, while style firmly rooted with the solid rhythmic requirements demanded of traditional contra dance pianists. His playing has been variously described as “Barrelhouse Irish”, and having the dramatic qualities of a film score.
From 1985 – 95 Gordon played and toured extensively with the celebrated band, Fresh Fish, which included fiddler Kerry Elkin. In addition to a recording with that band, Gordon has contributed to many recordings, including several from fiddler Skip Gorman.