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Reviews:

Praise for The Shady Grove Band:

"The Shady Grove Band "Back in Circulation ," Chapel Hill's Shady Grove Band has carried the torch for nearly three decades as one of our state's most popular and widely traveled bluegrass combos. So, while it's not quite proper to say they've been out of circulation, it is a rare treat when they return to the studio to craft another album of solid, Southern, homegrown 'grass.
Released earlier this year on their own SGB label, "Back in Circulation" is vintage Shady Grove - a compelling mix of originals and standards rooted , but not mired, in the ancient tones. Bill Monroe gospel ("The Old Cross Roads") and lovesick blues ("Dark as the Night, Blue as the Day") nestle snugly alongside the folk tale of North Carolina bandit "Otto Woods" and the blistering instrumental Logan County Blues."
But it's the original songs from a talented corps of Piedmont songsmiths that stand out. They include several tracks from Shady Grover's Charles Pettee ("Gracie," Silvery Moon,"'The Anchor"), John Boulding ("Muscadine"), and Jerry Brown ("Darling Abigail").
As vocal lead, Brown goes high lonesome on "I'm Back in Circulation Again," written by former Bass Mountain Boy Johnny Ridge, Pettee transforms Bob Dylan's "One Too Many Mornings" from folk to bluegrass, And Adael Shinn's warm vocals enliven Tommy Edwards' "Sweet Home in Dixieland" and embrace "If It Takes Two," written by former Shady Grove bassist Lynn Davis. -- Jack Bernhardt, The News & Observer 12/21/08 (Raleigh, NC)

The Shady Grove Band "Back In Circulation," The title of this disc is fitting, insofar as it represents a return to the studio by North Carolina's Shady Grove Band following a hiatus of several years. After releasing a number of popular discs on the Flying Fish label in the mid-1990's, the band continued a busy touring schedule, but as this new self-released effort reveals, it's nice to have them "circulating" on CD players and radio stations again. Still anchored by founders Charles Pettee (mandolin) and Jerry Brown (guitar), the current lineup also features Adael Shinn on bass and John Boulding on banjo and dobro.
Pettee, Brown and Shinn are the featured vocalists, and it's Shinn who is particularly good on a pair of Bill Monroe tunes. "Dark As The Night (Blue As The Day)" and "The Old Cross Roads," while Pettee does a fine turn on Bob Dylan's "One Too Many Mornings." Brown's leads include "Otto Woods" (a.k.a. "Otto Wood The Bandit" to fans of fellow North Carolinian Doc Watson) and the nominal title track, "I'm Back In Circulation Once Again." Shady Grove made their reputation as a band with a contemporary feel that still appeals to the fans of traditional bluegrass and country, and it's satisfying to find that they still have that touch. -- JL, SingOut! Magazine

"One of our state's musical treasures." -- News and Observer (Raleigh, NC)

"The band combined virtuoso musical execution with a down home persona that had the audience of 700 hooting and dancing in the aisles." -- M. Sapp, Dir., Odell Williamson Performing Arts Series (Supply, NC)

"Bone driving music with a unique southern Carolina flavor!" -- M. Knapp, Dir., Napa Valley Bluegrass Festival

"[Pettee has] multifaceted talents as singer, instrumentalist, arranger, and songwriter...an engaging and expressive baritone voice well suited to the songs he writes and sings" -- SingOut! Magazine

"Shady Grove's Charles Pettee plays bluegrass with a fire and intensity you find only in true believers" -- Spectator magazine
(Durham, NC)

The Shady Grove Band "Back In Circulation," North Carolina's Shady Grove Band consists of Jerry Brown, guitar and clawhammer banjo; Charles Pettee, mandolin and mandola; Adael Shinn, upright bass; and John Boulding, banjo and dobro. Each band member shares vocals. Guest performers include Nicky Sanders, Bobby Britt, Don Lewis and Matt Hooper. Tommy Edwards helps out with some finer-style guitar picking on Sweet Home In Dixieland, a song he penned. Robert Sledge offers the lead guitar work on Silvery Moon. Robbie Link fills in on bass for one number. The album opens with a lively number which set s the paces for the entire project. The Old Crossroads, sung by Adael Shinn, is about as good a version you'll ever hear of this classic. The project ends with Jerry Brown performing one of his own compositions, Darling Abigail, on clawhammer banjo. Other selections include Gracie, Just Ain't, If It Takes Two and The Anchor. -- Robert Steelman, Bluegrass Music Profiles

The Shady Grove Band "Back in Circulation," 2008 "Back in Circulation" hits the bluegrass highpoints. There's Bill Monroe's gospel "The Old Cross Roads" and his swing tune, "Dark as the Night." Guest finger picker and writer, Tommy Edwards, brightens "Sweet Home in Dixieland," the sentimental paean to the South. Charles Pettee's mandolin gets in some nice licks as well. The title track opens, a humorous she-done-me-wrong song, introducing the band with a tuneful banjo, sweet chorus harmonies, and a nifty solo trade-off from banjo to fiddle and, later, from fiddle to banjo. Special kudos to guest fiddler Nicky Sanders who approaches every tune he's on with confidence and imaginative solos. The unexpected cover entry is Dylan's "One Too Many Mornings." Brown's ominous guitar triplets lead to an extensive revision of the song, including a chorus using the original's refrain. Brown's attack on the guitar is buzzsaw vicious. The instrumental "Gracie," featuring only the core band, showcases their picking. The Shady Grove Band, going strong for over twenty-five years, has never been out of circulation. But, on their second self-released disc since leaving Flying Fish, the band is back from somewhere with a wide-ranging and pleasing record.  --  Minor 7th - non-mainstream acoustic guitar music e-zine © David Kleiner

Praise for FolkPsalm:

Nice article in the Covenant Companion about Charless Pettee and FolkPsalm.
Read the article online here.


"I ordered "The Way of Manna" for my sister and she was thrilled. She uses it in the adult Sunday School class she teaches in Atlanta." J.C., Gainesville, FL

"A brief review cannot touch on all the insights, but it can report that the cumulative effect is strong. Just as there are groups that discuss books and movies, a group could gather to listen, read the booklet, and probe these Scriptures to study creation care."
read full review
-- Review of The Way of Manna: Agrarian Songs from the Bible for the Care of Creation Paul Koptak, Professor of Communication and Biblical Interpretation at North Park Theological Seminary (Chicago, IL)

When I asked Stanley Hauerwas recently for advice on how to write about vibrant institutions, his response surprised me. “How broadly do you want to define an ‘institution’?” he asked. “Can you include music? Just in terms of things we can’t live without, that people have to get organized to make happen . . .”.        read full article
-- Call and Response Blog: Jason Byassee, Executive Director of Leadership Education at Duke Divinity, December 26, 2009

"Charles Pettee is a superb musician and a gifted lyricist, and possible his rarest gift is the ability to render biblical texts – psalms and stories – into American musical idioms, folk and bluegrass. He is a powerful interpreter of Scripture in his own right, and his music has greatly strengthened my agrarian readings of the Bible. With strong conviction and sometimes wry humor, he delivers a message about the incomparable value of healthy land, a message that faith communities urgently need to hear and communicate to others."
-- Ellen F. Davis, A. R. Kearns Professor of Bible and Practical Theology, Duke Divinity School (Durham, NC)

"Rich, engaging new acoustic and bluegrass arrangements...the most sophisticated and moving music of [Pettee's] career." -- Independent Weekly, May, 2003 (Durham, NC)

"The music brings these old words new power, and pierces to our hearts as well." -- The Town Crier (Fairview, NC)

"Charles Pettee and the FolkPsalm band give a refreshing, delightful, and deeply moving concert. I play their CD, Steady Love, constantly. The singers are both soulful and electric, and instrumentalists superb, and, oh the lyrics, they are divine!" -- Kathy Russell, teacher, Fresh Water Ministries.

"...Surely these raw, touching vocal settings must be very close to the spirit of those wandering desert people who first thrust these God-songs heavenward. In Pettee's tunes God dances, dips and reels around our primal heart campfires again. Something very old, very true is at work here." -- Mitchell Simpson, pastor, University Baptist Church (Chapel Hill, NC)

Praise for "Hear the Sound" and "Bluegrass Stomp" school programs:

"Charles,
Thanks so much for a FANTASTIC performance today at Phillips. We really enjoyed it, and wow, what a reception you got from those kids. Really, really great....
It was really interesting to see how you talked about the history of the different instruments, what they sounded like when played as originally intended, and how different cultures have used the instrument differently, creating an entirely new sound from the same source.
What energy you created and what a great rapport with the audience. We will highly recommend you to other schools in our area.
Thanks again and for being so patient with making this happen.
Best,"
-- PTA contact for Phillips Middle School, NC (Mar 20, 2015)"

Bluegrass Stomp was wonderful!!  The children and staff at Woodland Heights Elementary loved your performance this morning.  What a treat!
 
Charles Pettee's program as part of the MUSE Machine performances is just the kind of experience we want for our students.  He hooked us right in with an upbeat guitar song, followed by background info and Q & A, invitations to clap along, using tempo and dynamic variation to lead the student response.  He taught us how to sing two responses in "Cluck Old Hen" and led right on into harmonica, mandolin and banjo.  It was a great musical and educational 45 minute program that left us wanting more. . . . THANK YOU!! -- June Sereque, Woodland Heights Elementary

"Charles Pettee visited Gunn Memorial Public Library on May 12, 2010 and delighted our pre-school patrons, exceptional teens and senior citizens with his gifts of music and story-songs. Charles is a natural born performer with the spirit of a "Bluegrass Boy"!  His mandolin, guitar, harmonica, banjo and voice echoed history as we followed him on a journey to the past. What a magical morning of listening and learning and it is obvious that he loves to share his music as much as we enjoyed hearing it."
-- Rebecca Dellinger, Children's Services, Gunn Memorial Public Library

"Charles Pettee had such an impact on several Chatham County fourth grade history classes he performed for in September, 2002, that when the children were asked at the end of last year's classes what they most remembered, students said Pettee's musical demonstration...Music caused them to remember history. That is what we're aiming for." -- Beverly Perdue, North Carolina Lt. Governor, in a speech to arts supporters on March 30, 2003.

"The children were really captivated. Your expertise and experience definitely enriched us." -- Barbara Poole, Center for Family Affairs (Kinston, NC)

"Mr. Pettee's performances not only provided entertainment that captured and maintained the attention of the children, youth and adults in attendance, but also presented a history of Southeastern music from the Pilgrim fathers to the present. The Teachers and Administrators who viewed Mr. Pettee's program expressed strong interest in establishing encore performances with larger audiences." -- Ava Hughes, Executive Director, Arts Partnership of Greater Spartanburg (SC)

"Wow! Thanks again for a great concert. I love having the opportunity to work with artists who are not only talented, but [are] also fantastic performers. You are the best!" -- Jane Musgrave, NC State University, Division of Student Affairs

Tanya Rees, Executive Director of the Surry County Arts Council, presented "Hear The Sound" in numerous centers this past spring, and she may be contacted for comments at 336-786-7998, Surry County Arts Center, Mt. Airy, NC.

You Tube video about Music and Healing at UNC Hospital's SECU House featuring Charles Pettee:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=bAXJq0U_OTU

Praise for Chuck and the Waggin'Ears:

"Presenting Artist of the Year 2007-2008" -- United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County

"Dear Charles, I just wanted to thank you and the "Waggin'Ears" for the super entertainment you all gave the crowd at Hope Valley Country Club last week end. I received phone calls and personal comments about how much they enjoyed the music and the commentaries you made. Several said that they would like a return engagement. Maybe we can get some converts to what we feel is the world's best music. It was great." -- Tommy Stokes, Program Chairman.

"Please express my appreciation to the members of Chuck and the Waggin' Ears for their usual outstanding performance last Saturday...The Waggin' Ears were a great group to start the day. You are definitely on the "A" list of performing groups we will be calling on next year for some of the events we are planning for Meadowmont Village." -- Dave Hill, Coordinator, Meadowmont Village Festival (Chapel Hill, NC)

Praise for Charles Pettee:

Pine Cone's Bluegrass Camp nominated for an International Bluegrass Music Association"s (IBMA) 2015 Momentum Award.
Charles teaches at this camp! Read about it here.
https://pinecone.org/news/pinecone-bluegrass-camps-nominated-ibma-momentum-award


"Dear Charles,
I wish to thank you for your continued, invaluable contribution to the festival. You are such a pleasure to work with and always the gentleman. As I continue to be impressed by your passion for the music and your desire to “pass it on.”
Trying my best to secure the funding required to move it to #21! Will keep you posted along the way…
Wishing you and yours continued health and happiness, Richard" -- Richard Hurst, Director, Ulster-American Folk Park, Omagh, Northern Ireland (following the 20th Anniversary Bluegrass Festival)

Awards for Charles:

"Presenting Artist of the Year 2008" -- United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County

Spotlight Artist selected for inclusion at Southern Arts Federation's www.SouthernArtistry.org in 2004

Training seminar, Spartanburg, SC "Developing Strategies for Working w/ Students w/ Disabilities", Sept. 2003


Recipient 1995 Emerging Artist Grant from the Durham Arts Council, NC

Host, Mandolin Mania Workshop, 1995 MerleFest, Wilkesboro, NC

Host, mandolin seminar 1991 Owen Sound Folk Festival, Ontario

Recipient "Meet the Composers" grant from the New York State Council on the Arts, May 1991

Winner, 1990 North Carolina Composers Competition, sponsored by Duke University Cultural Services

Panelist and judge at the National Guitar Flat-Picking Championship, KS, 1989

Host, mandolin workshop, Winnipeg Folk Festival, Manitoba, 1986

Winner, first place, Chapel Hill Guitar Flat-Picking Contest, 1984



Contact Charles