Roxie Watson, the five-piece string band that warmed up and wowed the crowd at the Duluth Fall Festival’s community concert, is appearing at the Red Clay Theatre in Duluth Saturday, Oct. 13.
Sometimes described generally as a bluegrass band, Roxie Watson actually plays what members call "alterna-grass."
Oh, and Roxie Watson is the name of the band, but she’s not a member.
The band is comprised of Beth Wheeler on mandolin, Lenny Lasater on bass guitar, Linda Bolley on acoustic and electric guitar, Sonia Tetlow on banjo, and Becky Shaw on lap steel, button accordion, harmonica and guitar.
Lenny Lasater's grandmother’s name was “Roxie” Johnson, and Beth Wheeler’s grandmother’s name was Mary “Watson.” The combined name honors their grandmothers.
Although band members now live in Decatur and Atlanta, they grew up all over the country. Lasater comes from Tennessee. Other band members spent their early years in such places as Seattle, Detroit, and New Orleans. Roxie Watson’s music reflects their musical roots.
The band was formed in early fall 2007 by Wheeler and Lasater. Linda Bolley joined in late fall. Then Sonia Tetlow. Becky Shaw followed in late spring 2008.
“Alterna-grass is a term that we coined to describe our sound,” said Lenny. “We blend components from bluegrass, country, Zydeco, Appalachian, Americana, singer/songwriter, rock-n-roll, and gospel without conforming to one style. We blend it with tight three- and four-part harmonies and intelligent story telling.”
Roxie Watson celebrated the late February 2012 release of its second CD “Of Milestones and Moon Pies” with two sold-out shows March 3 at Eddie’s Attic in Decatur. The band’s first CD “True Stories” was released in January 2010. Both CDs will be available for purchase at the concert at the Red Clay Theatre.
Eddie Owen, founder and former general manager of Eddie’s Attic, provided Roxie Watson as the opening act for the Sept. 22 concert featuring the party band Livin’ Large on the Duluth Town Green. The concert on the Duluth Fall Festival Stage preceded the festival by a week.
Owen currently manages and books acts through “Eddie Owen Presents” at the Red Clay Theatre under an agreement with the City of Duluth, which owns the venue. “Anytime Eddie Owen presents a concert, it’s not going to suck,” Lenny said.
Roxie Watson performed a range of songs at the Duluth Fall Festival pre-concert. The line-up included:
- “I'll Fly Away” (Traditional)
- “Down On My Knees” (Original)
- “Folsom Prison Blues” (Johnny Cash)
- “Double Wide” (Original)
- “Devil Stole My Baby” (Original)
- “Sunday Beer” (Original)
- “Chicka-Licka Moon Pie” (Original)
- “Hide Hide Hide” (Original)
- “Honey What We Gonna Do Now?” (Original)
- “Home Again” (Original)
Their music was warmly received by the audience, and they were asked to do an encore of the gospel standard “I’ll Fly Away.”
“We did a short 40-minute set,” said Lenny. “Concert-goers will get to hear two full sets at the Red Clay Theatre, a wonderful venue with great sound and comfortable seating.”
Roxie Watson has toured as the opening act for the Indigo Girls and has performed with Amy Ray, Lindsay Fuller & Jeff Fielder, and Michelle Malone, among others.
Besides Eddie's Attic, the band has played at the Blue Ridge Community Theater in Blue Ridge, the Mablehouse Barnes Amphitheater in Atlanta, the Melting Point in Athens, the Barking Legs Theater in Chattanooga and Work Play in Birmingham. Other appearances include the 30A Festival in Fort Walton, FL; the Inman Park Festival in Atlanta and Decatur Concerts on the Square.
Tickets for Saturday night’s Roxie Watson concert at the Red Clay Theatre are $15 in advance and $18 at the door. Red Clay Theatre is located at 3116 Main Street in Historic Downtown Duluth. The doors open at 7 p.m. with the concert starting at 8 p.m. To order tickets visit www.eddieowenpresents.com. For more information, call 404-478-2749.
Blame Sally and Caroline Aiken are scheduled to do a concert at the Red Clay Theatre Sunday, Oct. 14. Tickets are $18 in advance and $22 at the door. Again, doors open at 7 p.m. followed by the concert at 8 p.m.
Red Clay offers beer, wine, and soft drinks before and during the show. More than 750 free parking spots are available in downtown Duluth near the theatre.
"Eddie Owen Presents" sponsors Open Mic Night at 7:30 p.m. every Monday at the Red Clay Theatre. Performing musicians are admitted free. Tickets are $5 in advance and $8 at the door.