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The 30th Annual Tucson Folk Festival
May 2nd & 3rd, 2015

Folk Festival

TKMA presents A Tribute to the Carter Family with The Close Enough String Band on Saturday, August 29, 2015 7:30 PM at the Water of Life Church, 3269 N. Mountain Avenue.

The Close Enough String Band

This is the String Band’s twenty-second year, so you need to come see them before they get any older! The number of musicians change in the band, but it’s always more musical talent than should be allowed in one place. Robert Sandstedt, our senior member plays a gentle old time banjo and doubles on musical saw. He’s been declared genius on the saw by folks at the Autoharp Quarterly. Rick Sonder, (our Californian) is featured on autoharp, doubles on banjo, and will amaze you with his music. Maxine Eldredge provides harmonies, and plays the best bass we can find at the price. Bobbie Bookhout sings the high parts plays mandolin, and sometimes, guitar. Barbara Herber is fiddler, straw boss and brains of the group. She’s also the best voice we’ve got and is a master (mistress?) of harmonies. Dave Baumann plays guitar, mostly, some mandolin and tells lies about the rest of band. It’s Old Time Porch Music at its best, so come listen and be sure to buy lots of CDs. Tickets for this special event are $10 at the door, with refreshments also available for purchase; all the proceeds support the 31st annual Tucson Folk Festival.

Remembering The Carter Family ...

The Close Enough String Band plays and sings the music of the “The First Family of Country Music”, the Carter Family. The most influential group in country music history, the Carter Family switched the emphasis from hillbilly instrumentals to vocals, made scores of their songs part of the standard country music canon, and made a style of guitar playing, "Carter picking," the dominant technique for decades. Along with Jimmie Rodgers, the Carter Family were among the first country music stars. Comprised of a gaunt, shy gospel quartet member named Alvin P. Carter and two reserved country girls -- his wife, Sara, and their sister-in-law, Maybelle -- the Carter Family sang a pure, simple harmony that influenced not only the numerous other family groups of the '30s and the '40s, but folk, bluegrass, and rock musicians like Woody Guthrie, Bill Monroe, the Kingston Trio, Doc Watson, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and Emmylou Harris, to mention just a few.

A.P. Carter played the fiddle and guitar and had a strong bass voice. He never played an instrument on their studio recordings but on his solo performances on the radio he played a guitar and these show what a fine musician he was. However A.P.s main contribution to the group was as a writer and collector of songs.

Sara played the autoharp and legend has it she was singing “Engine One Forty-Three” and playing the autoharp at the time she met A.P. Her voice was strong and pure and as Johnny Cash wrote “the beauty of the Appalachian dialect was never so enflowered as in the voice of Sara Carter”.

Maybelle’s style of guitar playing was unique. What she did was play the melody on the bass strings while maintaining a rhythm on the treble strings. Later this style was to be imitated to the note by literally thousands of guitar players. Maybelle played more than the guitar she was also accomplished on the banjo and fiddle as well as the autoharp. She played the autoharp in a way it hadn’t been played before. Rather than strumming across the harp while barring a chord, Maybelle actually picked out the melody with her thumb and finger picks.

Their recordings of songs such as "Wabash Cannonball", "Can the Circle Be Unbroken", "Wildwood Flower", "Keep On the Sunny Side" and "I'm Thinking Tonight of My Blue Eyes" made these songs country standards. Other songs they recorded include: "Coal Miner Blues" "Hello Stranger" "My Dixie Darling" "You Are My Flower" "Bury Me Beneath the Weeping Willow" "Foggy Mountain Top" "Gold Watch and Chain".

Upcoming Events

TKMA Meetings
2nd Tuesday Of Each Month
6:30 – 8 pm
The Medicine Shoppe
305 S. Euclid Avenue #111

The following events raise funds that help keep the Folk Festival free

Featured Sponsor

Jim Click

The Millions for Tucson Raffle

See all our sponsors

Official Photographer of the 30th Tucson Folk Festival

C. Elliott

House Photographer of the Historic Rialto Theater

(email hidden, requires Javascript)
(520) 404-6767

Photos from 2010 - 2013
by Martha Retallick

Western Sky Communications

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(520) 690-1888


The Festival is held during the first weekend in May.

Friday Night Kickoff Party (Fundraiser) at La Cocina
Saturday Noon - 10:00 pm
Sunday 11:00 am - 9:00 pm


Click Here for Maps, Directions and Parking
Tucson courthouse dome © 2008 Marilyn Stringer
Tucson courthouse dome,
from El Presidio Park
(© 2008 Marilyn Stringer).

The center of Festival activity, including the TKMA Kitchen Store and food & craft vendors, is in El Presidio Park in downtown Tucson. All venues are easy walking distance from the Park. Performances take place on the following stages:

  • Plaza Stage at City Hall
  • Courtyard Stage at the Old Pima County Courthouse
  • Museum Stage at the Tucson Museum of Art
  • Old Town Artisans Stage
This year, we will again feature the Young Artists’ Stage in a special time slot on one of the regular stages. The festival will again include a Ballad Tree, and the Acoustic Showcase which was a great success in 2009, its inaugural year, will also return to the Museum of Art lobby. All venues are within easy walking distance from the corner of Church and Alameda.


Thanks to the hard work and dedication of the all-volunteer
Tucson Kitchen Musicians' Association,
along with generous contributions from sponsors ,
the Tucson Folk Festival has been


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