Legendary Carrboro Musician Elizabeth “Libba” Cotten to be inducted into Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation announced today (Wednesday, May 4, 2022) that legendary Carrboro, North Carolina musician Elizabeth “Libba” Cotten will be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
Ms. Cotten will be honored with the Early Influence Award as part of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 2022 class. She will be inducted in a ceremony on Saturday, Nov. 5, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.
Its new webpage about the Carrboro artist states: “Elizabeth “Libba” Cotten’s warm and intimate recordings and live performances inspired generations of artists, and her guitar prowess and musical inventiveness influenced countless other musicians. Cotten's compositions have been performed by Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, the Grateful Dead, Taj Mahal, and Peter, Paul and Mary, among many others.”
“This diverse group of inductees each had a profound impact on the sound of youth culture and helped change the course of Rock & Roll,” said John Sykes, chairman of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. “Their music moved generations and influenced so many artists that followed.”
Born on Jan. 5, 1893, Ms. Cotten wrote her signature song, “Freight Train,” about the train she could hear from her childhood home on Lloyd Street in Carrboro. Cotten's talents as guitarist and songwriter came to light while she was working in the home of the Seeger family, who encouraged her career as a professional musician. Cotten toured across the country, recording several albums and winning a Grammy Award and a National Heritage Fellowship before her death in 1987.
Freight Train Blues Concert Series Honors Her Legacy
In her honor, the Town of Carrboro is presenting the Music Maker Foundation’s Freight Train Blues series of live concerts every Friday evening between May 13 and June 10, 2022, at the Carrboro Town Commons, 301 W. Main St. Carrboro, N.C. 27510. The series is a collaboration among the Town of Carrboro Recreation, Parks, & Cultural Resources; the Music Maker Foundation; and WUNC 91.5FM.
Music Maker Foundation honors Cotten’s legacy in the world of roots music by emphasizing the cultural diversity, complexity, and vitality of her music and the music of many other artists local to her community and all over the country. More information: www.freighttrainblues.com
Freight Train Blues Concerts begin this Friday!
The Town of Carrboro, North Carolina, will present the Music Maker Foundation’s Freight Train Blues series of live concerts every Friday evening between May 13 and June 10 at the Carrboro Town Commons, 301 W. Main St. The series is a collaboration among the Town of Carrboro Recreation, Parks, & Cultural Resources; the Music Maker Foundation; and WUNC 91.5FM. The concert series was held virtually the past two years in consideration of the COVID-19 pandemic safety measures.
More information: www.freighttrainblues.com
An annual event, the concert series highlights GRAMMY-winning folk and blues artist and North Carolina Music Hall of Famer Elizabeth “Libba” Cotten, born in Carrboro, North Carolina in 1893. Cotten’s soulful voice and unique guitar style have rendered her a legend in the world of blues, leading her to receive National Heritage Fellowship in 1984 and a GRAMMY award in 1985. She lived to be 104 years old and died in 1987. Her songs, like the iconic “Freight Train,” have been reimagined by artists like The Grateful Dead and Bob Dylan.
Music Maker Foundation honors Cotten’s legacy in the world of roots music by emphasizing the cultural diversity, complexity, and vitality of her music and the music of many other artists local to her community and all over the country.
May 13- Hermon Hitson, Harvey Dalton Arnold
Hermon Hitson boasts an impressive 50-year career, blending psychedelic rock, blues, R&B, and soul influences into an eclectic music style. The artist has worked closely with a number of notable artists, including Jimi Hendrix, James Brown, Joe Tex, Bobby Womack and Wilson Pickett.
North Carolina’s Harvey Dalton Arnold has demonstrated his love for playing the bass since he was a teen, earning him a spot in the renowned southern rock group, The Outlaws, which played arenas in the 1970s and early 1980s. He has since branched off into solo work, releasing a soulful blues album and a southern rock/outlaw country album. Arnold collaborated with Music Maker Foundation on Stories to Live Up To, showcasing a set of stories and songs that embody his creativity and influences.
May 20- Sacred Soul of North Carolina Revue; Weaver Gospel Singers Tribute
Surviving members of the Weaver Gospel Singers — in song and with an oral history – will pay tribute to group leader Susie Weaver, who passed away in 1984. Susie Weaver’s original song “Freedom in Chapel Hill” was recorded live at First Baptist Church in Chapel Hill, North Carolina by JCP Records during the Civil Rights era. In addition to singing, Mrs. Weaver owned a funeral parlor and was active in the Civil Rights movement. The music will be accompanied by praise dancer Joshua Weaver, Susie’s nephew. This set is presented in partnership with the Marion Cheek Jackson Center.
The Sacred Soul of North Carolina Revue features Bishop Albert Harrison & the Gospel Tones, Big James Barrett & the Golden Jubilees, The Johnsonaires and The Glorifying Vines Sisters. These artists appeared on the “joyous” (MOJO Magazine) fall 2021 compilation album Sacred Soul of North Carolina (Bible & Tire / Music Maker), which earned praise from NPR Music and DownBeat Magazine.
Bishop Albert Harrison, leader of the Gospel Tones, has been traveling and singing gospel music solo since the 1980s. Harrison hails from the experimental planned black community of Soul City in Warren County, while the Gospel Tones make Ahoskie, N.C., their home base.
The Johnsonaires recently marked two decades of performing in their hometown of Greenville, N.C., and on the road. The group is made up of all brothers whose musical education came from their father, their uncle, and their dedicated church attendance. Tony Johnson remembers one life-changing Christmas morning when his father surprised the brothers with real instruments — guitar, drums, microphones. When their uncle’s group disbanded, the Johnson brothers created their own group to “carry on the mantle” and continue the family’s musical legacy.
The Glorifying Vines Sisters are a thriving musical institution. Based in Eastern North Carolina, they’ve been tearing up the road for decades and tearing up every church they visit. But they don’t confine themselves to churches; they’re comfortable playing secular venues, too. Their music is steeped in the traditions of quartet gospel and they have shared the stage with some of the biggest names in the genre, including the Mighty Clouds of Joy and the Swanee Quintet. With over four decades of experience, the Vines Sisters continue to travel, record, and perform. And they’ve instilled gospel music into their children and grandchildren, who keep the tradition alive and thriving.
May 27- Hard Drive, The Branchettes
Tatiana Hargreaves, Aaron Tacke, Sonya Badigian, and Nokosee Fields come together to form a modern, yet traditional bluegrass group known as Hard Drive. The group infuses old-time bluegrass music with a whimsical spin. Known for their unique modern touches, others in their field have accredited Hard Drive’s ability to “subvert expectations of what bluegrass is supposed to be.”
Lena Mae Perry will perform with accompanist Angela Kent as The Branchettes, which originally came together in Benson, NC. Their musical style draws from African American traditional music and hymnal singing. Since their founding, the Branchettes have accumulated a number of accolades, including the North Carolina Heritage Award in 1995. They are the subjects of the new documentary film Stay Prayed Up and have performed and recorded with Phil Cook (of Hiss Golden Messenger).
June 3- La Banda de los Guanajuatenses, Joe Troop w/ Larry Bellorín
Since its founding in 1999 in Guanajuato, Mexico, La Banda de Los Guanajuatenses has been heard on radios all over the state of North Carolina. The thirteen members of the group prove to be fan-favorites among many Mexican immigrants residing in the state.
Joe Troop is a multi-instrumentalist, singer, and songwriter hailing originally from Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The founder of GRAMMY-nominated stringband Che Apalache, Troop’s music is deeply embedded with and inspired by his activism. The radical folk singer’s first proper solo album Borrowed Time. The record features music luminaries like Béla Fleck (who produced Che Apalache’s GRAMMY-nominated album), Abigail Washburn, Tim O’Brien, and Charlie Hunter, but the visceral songwriting is influenced both by Troop’s time spent living abroad as well as his upbringing as an openly gay bluegrass musician in rural North Carolina.
The last place you’d expect to hear one of the world’s finest Llanera harpists is in a dimly lit warehouse in Durham, NC. Larry Bellorín grew up in Punta de Mata in the state of Monagas, Venezuela. By age 6, he built a faithful clientele as a shoe shiner by singing as he polished. As an adolescent, he was supporting himself through music alone and was well-versed in the folk music of his region (valse, pasaje, joropo, música oriental) as a multi-instrumentalist. internationally acclaimed harpist Urbino Ruiz, affectionately known as the King of the Strong Harp, later mentored Bellorín on the instrument, on which he has become a master.
With the collapse of Venezuela, he arrived in the United States with only thirty dollars and slept on the floor of an unfurnished room while doing construction day labor. Larry and his family of now four are still waiting for their asylum case to be reviewed. Last year, he met and began to collaborate with North Carolina Bluegrass evangelist and human rights activist Joe Troop, who has long drawn connections between Appalachian roots music and folkloric traditions from Central and South America.
Larry is excited at the opportunity to begin working with the Music Maker Foundation. He has dedicated his life to mastering the musical traditions of Venezuela, sharing it with audiences and teaching eager students.
June 10- Music Maker Blues Revue featuring Gail Ceasar, Tad Walters & Lil’ Jimmy Reed
The roots of Gail Ceasar’s’ music run deep into the Virginia soil. Music Maker met an elderly blues guitarist from Pittsylvania County, VA named Pete Witcher. Returning several times to record Pete, he made a point of taking Music Maker staff to see his niece Gail Ceasar. She plays with incredible precision.
Since his youth, Tad Walters has played the guitar and harmonica, using his skills to join the band of Bob Mangolin (Muddy Waters) in 1996. After years of making music with another group, the Big Bill Morganfield Band (led by Muddy’s son). He has played with luminaries like GRAMMY-winning pianist Pinetop Perkins, Howlin’ Wolf lead guitarist Hubert Sumlin, Blues Hall of Famer Billy Boy Arnold.
Lil’ Jimmy Reed comes from an era of Louisiana bluesmen who tell stories of poverty, segregation, and hard work. Though most of the artists of his era have passed on, Jimmy still makes Louisiana Blues music to this day. Though not related to his famous namesake, he was once booked by a promoter as Lil’ Jimmy Reed and kept the moniker, as he is a master of the elder Reed’s style and repertoire on guitar and harmonica.
Town Council Update
Meeting agendas and updates are issued from the Town Clerk’s Office. To receive these by email or text, sign up for Carrboro Town News at carrboronc.gov/signup
Civic involvement is a valued tradition in our community. Reach the Town Council with your ideas, views, and questions at Council@carrboronc.gov
The Town Council will meet next at 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 10, to consider an agenda that is posted at https://bit.ly/3LTMGZT and carrboro.legistar.com
This in-person meeting will be held at Carrboro Town Hall, 301 W. Main St. Members of the public are welcome to attend in person or can view the livestream at carrboro.legistar.com OR YouTube.com/CarrboroNC OR Cable TV 18 (in Carrboro).
To submit a comment on this agenda, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to reach the Town Clerk.
The Carrboro Town Council met virtually Tuesday, May 3, and took the following actions on the agenda posted at https://bit.ly/3yizzxc
- Approved recommended funding for for the purchase of a rental unit by EMPOWERment from the Affordable Housing Special Revenue Fund.
- Awarded award a contract for the Town’s annual independent audit for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2022
- Approved an update to Town Code for Illicit Discharge Provisions.
- Received an annual update from the Orange Water and Sewer Authority, as well as an update to the Long-Range Water Supply Plan.
- Approved financing up to $12,650,000 for the 203 Project and approved a financing contract with Truist Bank.
About the Town Council
The Town Council is the legislative and policy-making body for Carrboro, consisting of the following: Mayor Damon Seils, Mayor Pro Tempore Susan Romaine, Council Member Barbara Foushee, Council Member Randee Haven-O’Donnell, Council Member Danny Nowell and Council Member Sammy Slade. More information is available at http://carrboronc.gov/248/Town-Council
View the Carrboro Connects Adoption Draft
After multiple rounds of public comment and review by Town staff, advisory boards and commissions, and the Town Council, the Carrboro Connects Adoption Draft is ready to be considered for adoption. It reflects the extensive engagement conducted throughout the planning process, as well as specific input on previous drafts of the plan.
Access this document at https://www.carrboroconnects.org/adoption-draft-may-10-2022
Thank you to all who participated and contributed your time and ideas!
Town Council will review and consider this draft for possible adoption at its meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 10.
You can view the livestreamed meeting at:
Groundbreaking for The 203 Project
The Groundbreaking Ceremony for The 203 Project took place on Thursday, May 5, 2022, at 203 S. Greensboro St. Carrboro, NC 27510. You can learn more about the new library and cultural center coming to Carrboro and Southern Orange County at www.the203project.org.
Carrboro Mayor Damon Seils led the program which included remarks by Renee Price, chair of the Orange County Board of County Commissioners; Nerys Levy of the Friends of the Southern Branch Library; Carrboro Town Council Member Randee Haven-O'Donnell; Bonnie Hammersley, Orange County Manager; and Richard J. White III, Carrboro Town Manager. The program also included a reading by Carrboro Poet Laureate Fred Joiner and a lively performance by Takiri Folclor Latino (a local dance group led by El Centro Hispano Executive Director Pilar Rocha-Goldberg.)
Much gratitude was expressed to the many people who have been involved in a long-time project that is coming to fruition. Thanks to everyone who joined us on this special day!
Town of Carrboro recognized by NC League of Municipalities
The Town of Carrboro was among 13 municipalities recognized by the North Carolina League of Municipalities Local Leadership Foundation in its 2022 Annual Awards program.
Carrboro was recognized with an Honorable Mention for its Town Information Center project in the Direct Reflection category. This category recognizes municipalities that have adapted their approaches or changed services or practices to address inequity in an area of concern for the community.
The Town of Carrboro began its neighborhood information network on Christmas Eve 2020 at the Rocky Brook Manufactured Home Community. In 2021, three more outdoor kiosks were installed around town. Plans are underway to install six additional kiosks at public parks, and queries are continuing with local apartment managers and neighborhood residents. The growing network of outdoor Town Information Centers advance a goal to find new methods of non-digital outreach and to build relationships by going where the people are.
Carrboro's Cycling with the Mayor!
Calling all people on bikes! You’re invited to join Mayor Damon Seils and community members at 8 a.m. Tuesday, May 10, for the Mayor’s Bike Ride starting from Carrboro Town Hall, 301 W. Main St.
The ride is a 3.5-mile route through Carrboro neighborhoods. A second, optional 2-mile route will take off after the main group returns to Town Hall.
Do you need a bike to borrow for the ride? Thanks to The Clean Machine https://www.thebicyclechain.com, both pedal or electric assist bikes will be provided for those who need to borrow a bike. Send requests for bikes to email@example.com
Light breakfast snacks will be provided following the bike ride.
What is a Grow Zone?
Have you seen our new Grow Zone signs sprouting up around our town properties and parks? The Town of Carrboro is going back to nature with the creation of grow zones. Grow Zones are areas that are designated as NO MOW ZONES where native plantings are encouraged to grow. Benefits of Grow Zones include:
- Improve water quality by allowing deep root natives buffers to filter and encourage infiltration of stormwater runoff.
- Stabilize soil from erosion
- Provide wildlife habitat and food sources.
- Add natural beauty to town properties.
- Reduce carbon footprint by lessening the use of gas powered landscaping equipment.
As part of implementing these Grow Zones, Public Works will be removing invasive plants and planting native species to expand the Town's natural areas. This program aligns with the Carrboro Community Climate Action Plan, Carrboro Vision 2020, and Carrboro 2009 Climate Protection Resolution.
Signs are being installed to mark Grown Zones and to inform residents about the initiative. Residents are asked to be patient, as the transition back to nature takes time. These areas that look overgrown will eventually transform and add to the beauty of our natural spaces. For questions or to report areas that need attention contact us at 919-918-7425 or PWorks@CarrboroNC.gov.
OWASA Update on E. Main Street Sewer Project
The Orange Water and Sewer Authority reports that work is largely completed on the East Main Street Sewer Rehabilitation Project.
Thanks to the community for your patience during this critical infrastructure investment.