Three Yankees and a Hillbilly  -- Me & Martha (Duo) Joe & Nellie Kennedy (Duo)

Three Yankees and a Hillbilly -- Me & Martha (Duo) Joe & Nellie Kennedy (Duo)

 McGaheysville, Virginia, USA
BandAmericanaFolk

Me & Martha love to make music. They draw on historical music forms including bluegrass, old-time country, blues and jazz. Each performance is a fusion of America's acoustic roots music traditions. Martha and Don create music with a fresh twist that holds the flavor of these rich traditions.

Biography

Me & Martha was inducted into America’s Old-Time Country Music Hall of Fame in 2005. Martha and Don moved to Harrisonburg, Virginia in 2007 where Don stepped right back in to the music of his youth. Being around his old friends and picking buddies it sometimes seems like he never left. Don is currently on faculty at James Madison University teaching sociology courses including the Social context of American music. He holds a Ph.D. in American Music and Popular Culture, and performs and conducts workshops all over the country as Me & Martha with his wife, Martha

Martha is a certified MusikGarten teacher and conducts MusikGarten classes as part of Eastern Mennonite University's Preparatory Music Program for parents and infants to 7 year olds.

Martha and Don encourage music making and promote the value of music wherever they go. Their association with the Young Audiences of Virginia (www.yav.org) is bringing mountain music into the public school curriculum all over Virginia. They teach private and group lessons as well as conduct music making "instructional slow-jams" for youth and adults to teach musicians how to play the basic "cannon" of mountain music, how to make music with others and how to play in jam sessions. Don also teach bluegrass banjo at Eastern Mennonite University and was one of the judges for the 2008 Virginia Folk Music Association's bluegrass music contest.

And with all this, for 2008 they played about 150 concerts and conducted special music programs for Church services.

Yes, Me & Martha are quite busy. They are working on a new CD and Songs to Lift the Spirit, a new gospel songbook with CD and chord notations has just been published. Songs to Lift the Spirit follows-up their already successful Music Makers Guide which has over 100 common songs from the bluegrass/old-time/folk tradition, a CD to help explain the music theory and the 6-common chord progressions which cover about 95% of all bluegrass/old-time/folk tunes. Of course there is only enough music theory to not mess up your playing.

Their website www.meandmartha.com has hundreds of photos, complete bio information, resumes, samples of our music, and detail narrative of our performances and workshops.”

Don DePoy was born in Harrisonburg, Virginia and in his youth lived in and around Staunton, Virginia. As a singer and master musician, Don can trace his musical roots back to the early 1800s and has a repertoire close to a thousand songs in most part learned from the rich oral tradition of the region. In 1957 at age eight, he became a regular member of his father’s band, “The Mountain Music Makers”. The band's name changed to “Carl & Don: The Skyline Pals” when Don's mother, Euva joined the group in 1962. Don's family and friends were part of Alan Lomax's field recording in the late 30's early 40's. As a 5th generation musician originally from Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, he continues to play the music of his Appalachian roots. He is an accomplished bluegrass banjoist and “thumb-picking” guitar player and has appeared as a featured performer at the Philadelphia Folk/Bluegrass Festival as well as appeared on numerous recordings and performances throughout the United States and abroad. Don was the executive producer for Mainely Bluegrass, a 26-part TV series airing over public television in New England. He has been on faculty for over 20 years, holds a M.Ed. in education and a Ph.D. in American music and popular culture. Don scholarly interests include: adventure therapy, social class theory, and of course American roots music. He is currently on faculty at James Madison University College in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

Martha Hills is one of 10 children and grew up in Maine on a farm just outside of Belfast, Maine. She fell in love with acoustic roots music in the early 1990’s and starting playing bluegrass shortly after meeting Don and has been playing up-right bass since 2002. Her bass playing provides a solid bottom for Me & Martha’s musical excursions. Martha’s singing is a perfect match for their duet-harmonies and her soulful singing pauses the audience to reflect on the human condition. Her love of life, effervescent semblance and infectious smile are delightful as she adds quips to the performance.

Martha and Don’s workshops cover a wide range of topics for both youth and adults. Their Bluegrass Slow-Jams are perfect to encourage new picker's to gain confidence and step into the "circle" and become a music maker.

Lyrics

AK Traveler

Written By: PD = Arranged by D. DePoy

Oh, once upon a time in Arkansas, An old man sat in his little cabin door And fiddled at a tune that he liked to hear, A jolly old tune that he played by ear. It was raining hard, but the fiddler didn't care, He sawed away at the popular air, Tho' his rooftree leaked like a waterfall, That didn't seem to bother the man at all. A traveler was riding by that day, And stopped to hear him a-practicing away; The cabin was a-float and his feet were wet, But still the old man didn't seem to fret. So the stranger said Now the way it seems to me, You'd better mend your roof, said he. But the old man said as he played away, I couldn't mend it now, it's a rainy day. The traveler replied, That's all quite true, But this, I think, is the thing to do; Get busy on a day that is fair and bright, Then patch the old roof till it's good and tight. But the old man kept on a-playing at his reel, And tapped the ground with his leathery heel. Get along, said he, for you give me a pain; My cabin never leaks when it doesn't rain.

Discography

Don is a featured performer on eleven recordings and four anthologies of traditional American music. Me & Martha release their first CD "On the Road Home" (2005). There are a few mp3 on our web site.

Don's Music Maker's Guide book with CD and over 100 bluegrass/old-time country songs with chords is setting the standard for anyone wishing to move away from tab and sheet music and become a music maker.

Set List

We typically play a mixture of old-time country (alt.country), bluegrass standards, and a few contemporary folk songs. Don knows close to a thousand songs from the America's Mountain music tradition. We usually play 45-minute sets but can play about 5-hours and not repeat any songs.