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Clear Fork Bluegrass Quartet
to Open Artists Series at UW-Eau Claire

RELEASED: Sept. 5, 2006

Clear Fork Bluegrass Quartet

EAU CLAIRE — The Clear Fork Bluegrass Quartet will open this season's Artists Series at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Wednesday, Sept. 20. The evening of American roots music will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Schofield Auditorium.

With deep reverence, understanding and love for traditional bluegrass music, the Clear Fork Bluegrass Quartet forges its sound with the same individual spirit that conceived the genre over 50 years ago. An outstanding exponent of this uniquely American art form, the group also draws on other styles of traditional American music to shape their own. Western swing, gospel, blues, fiddle music, the songs of early country music stars such as the Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers, and even polkas have influenced Clear Fork's sound.

Founded in 1984 by Paul Kovac, the quartet has backed up legendary musicians Chubby Wise and Mac Wiseman. Kovac, who performed on banjo with Bill Monroe, sings, plays guitar and mandolin, and serves as the band's emcee. Clear Fork's banjo duties are handled by Jim Metz, whose clear tenor voice blends well with Kovac's. Bill Watson is a rock-solid acoustic bass player adept at playing all American roots music styles, and Ray Sponaugle, recipient of an Ohio Heritage Fellowship, has 40 years of experience in listening, learning, jamming and great fiddling.

Clear Fork Bluegrass Quartet has performed at major music festivals in Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Rhode Island, as well as the International Bluegrass Music Association's World of Bluegrass in Kentucky, The Carter Family Fold in Virginia, and The Station Inn in Nashville. The band has been heard many times on public radio shows, including "A Prairie Home Companion," and is active in educational outreach work such as school performances, workshops and residencies.

Tickets are $15 for the public, $13 for those 62 and older and UW System or Chippewa Valley Technical College faculty and staff, and $5 for those 17 and younger and UW System or CVTC students.

Patrons may also charge their tickets to MasterCard or Visa when they order by phone. Call (715) 836-3727 or, outside the immediate Eau Claire area, call toll-free (800) 949-UWEC. A $3 handling fee will be added to all telephone charge orders.

The Artists Series is supported in part by grants from the Chippewa Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Heartland Fund Program and the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts, and the University of Wisconsin System Institute on Race and Ethnicity. Wisconsin Public Radio and Community Television have contributed generous promotional support. Best Western Trail Lodge Hotel & Suites (715-838-9989) at 3340 Mondovi Road is the exclusive accommodations partner for the Artists Series.

Funded by the students of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, the Artists Series is administered by the Activities and Programs office.

-30-

JS/NW

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