for "Hear the Sound" and "Bluegrass Stomp" school programs:
August 21, 2017
17385 US Hwy 17
Hampstead, NC 28443
To Whom It May Concern,
I am an elementary Music teacher in Pender County, North Carolina. I had the wonderful opportunity to work with Mr. Charles Pettee in May of 2017. Mr. Pettee was able to complete a week-long residency at our school through a Grassroots Grant funded by the North Carolina Arts Council. For me, as the Music teacher, it was the best week of the school year! The students were able to connect with traditional North Carolina folk music in a way that was meaningful to them through story, songs, and the introduction of a variety of instruments.
Mr. Pettee was able to work with our 4th graders, 2nd graders, and 5th graders throughout the week. In addition, he ended the week with two culminating concerts for all of the students at our school. Mr. Pettee was very flexible in accommodating our school schedule with its early start and in working with larger groups than he had in the past. He was able to work with approximately 100 4th graders to help them compose a song specific to our school and region. He worked to incorporate their ideas and words throughout the drafting process until the song was finalized. Then, the 4th grade students were able to present their composition to their peers at the final concert. The students were so proud!
In working with the different grade levels, Mr. Pettee varied the songs he shared and the way he presented the historical information in order to engage learners of differing ages. Mr. Pettee went above and beyond our expectations while he was here at our school, including presenting a special session for students who are in a self-contained classroom for students with exceptional needs. All of the students ended the week with a better understanding of North Carolina folk music and the instruments traditionally used to create it. After the Friday concerts, several classroom teachers approached me to share how much they personally enjoyed the concerts and how engaged their students had been all week.
In closing, I would highly recommend Mr. Charles Pettee for any school residency or music program. Topsail Elementary greatly benefitted from his visit this past year, and we would look forward to another residency in the future!
Laura Beth Payne, M.A., NBCT
Music Teacher, Topsail Elementary School
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
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
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.
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
of our state's musical treasures." -- News and Observer
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)
driving music with a unique southern Carolina flavor!"
-- M. Knapp, Dir., Napa Valley Bluegrass Festival
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!
Grove's Charles Pettee plays bluegrass with a fire and intensity
you find only in true believers" -- Spectator magazine
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
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)
engaging new acoustic and bluegrass arrangements...the most
sophisticated and moving music of [Pettee's] career."
-- Independent Weekly, May, 2003 (Durham, NC)
music brings these old words new power, and pierces to our
hearts as well." -- The Town Crier (Fairview, NC)
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.
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
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.
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
Praise for Charles Pettee:
Listen to Charles' podcast featured on the Love In A Dangerous Time website which originates from New York City.
Bluegrass Camp nominated for an International Bluegrass Music Association"s (IBMA) 2015 Momentum Award.
Charles teaches at this camp! Read about it here.
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)
"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
seminar, Spartanburg, SC "Developing Strategies for
Working w/ Students w/ Disabilities", Sept. 2003
1995 Emerging Artist Grant from the Durham Arts Council,
Mandolin Mania Workshop, 1995 MerleFest, Wilkesboro, NC
mandolin seminar 1991 Owen Sound Folk Festival, Ontario
"Meet the Composers" grant from the New York State
Council on the Arts, May 1991
1990 North Carolina Composers Competition, sponsored by
Duke University Cultural Services
and judge at the National Guitar Flat-Picking Championship,
mandolin workshop, Winnipeg Folk Festival, Manitoba, 1986
first place, Chapel Hill Guitar Flat-Picking Contest, 1984