River City Sessions Set For Thursday

Sunday, January 7, 2018

The River City Sessions will be held Thursday at The Granfalloon.  Doors open at 7 p.m. and the show begins at 7:30 p.m.  Admission is $5.

Here are the performers and their reviews:

Musician - Joe Ridolfo is originally from Harrison, N.J. Joe was introduced to folk music in the 1960's. His grandfather, who immigrated from Italy, worked as a farm hand in Scotch Plains, N.J. and learned American Folklore. His cousin, Larry Vernieri, was a singer/songwriter with Joey Dee and the Starlighters. 

Joe's first performance was as a tenor banjo player with the Corral Mummers String Band. The band was part of Kelly's String Band that played in Philadelphia for New Years parades, but played in New Jersey the rest of the year. As the official Governor band, the Mummers got to play at whistle stops from the back of the train and marched at rallies. The band had the honor of playing for President Johnson. 

From 1967-1971, Joe lived in India where his father bought Indian Steel and ran a factory that supplied oil drum parts to the surrounding countries. It was there at the age of 17 that he met Ravi Shankar at an American International School sitar concert in New Delhi. This inspired him to learn sitar. Joe was fortunate enough to be in India at this time. He met George Harrison, Ravi Shankar, Donovan, Coretta Scot King, and many others. While in India Joe played contemporary folk music and was asked to sing American Labor songs for the Embassy. 

When it became time to go to College, Joe chose to go to MTSU in Murfreesboro. He had made friends with the McDuffie family while in Mumbai. They were from Tennessee and helped India build a nuclear program. 

Joe joined the Tennessee Folklore Society and continued studying folklore and rural case management. Professor Charles Wolf and John Miller Simmons of Pikeville, Tn. have been some of his mentors. Joe went on performing at various venues and folk festivals in the Southeast and won several mountain dulcimer competitions which inspired him to help form a local dulcimer club. He has been a performing artist, busker, and social worker in the Chattanooga area since 1987 and has played in several bands with local artists. Recently, Joe has been working with a world music tribal fusion band known as Organized Kaos. The band has sitar, didgeridoo, electric guitar, Native American Flute, percussion, and at times, audience participation. 

Writer - Sybil Baker’s Immigration Essays (C&R Press, 2017) and is already being hailed as “an amazing and essential odyssey for our times.” Named one of “today's strongest emerging talents in literary fiction and poetry” by Anis Shivani from The Huffington Post, Sybil is also the author of three books of fiction, Into This World, Talismans, and The Life Plan. 

She is a 2012 and 2014 MakeWork grantee and received a Tennessee Arts Commission Individual Artist's Fellowship for 2017. Her work has appeared in many publications including Guernica, Electric Literature, Glimmer Train, The Critical Flame, The Writer's Chronicle, The Collagist, and The Nervous Breakdown. 

Sybil received her MFA in creative writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She spent 12 years teaching in South Korea before returning to the States in 2007. During her extensive travels throughout Asia, she became increasingly interested in the allure and alienation of American travelers and expatriates, and this has heavily influenced her writing. Her family live in South Africa and Turkey, and she is working on a book about how governments affect families. A UC Foundation Associate Professor of English at UTC, Sybil lives in Chattanooga with her husband. In 2015 she was a visiting professor at Middle Eastern Technical University in North Cyprus. She is on faculty at the Yale Writers' Conference and taught in the low residency MFA program at City University of Hong Kong. She is fiction editor at Anomaly. 

Poet - Kemmer Anderson, poet and reader, has taught for 36 years at McCallie School. A graduate of Davidson College, he has earned M.A. degrees in English and Humanities and received NEH grants to study Milton, Galileo, and Thucydides. An author of eight chapbooks, he continues to work on a book, Milton at Monticello. He and his wife Martha live at Wing Shadow Farm on Walden Ridge.

Storyteller - Michael Gray – Storyteller, author and host of The River City Sessions continues to be humbled by the company he gets to keep through this show. He will be reading a couple of letters written by his father while a soldier in Korea during the Korean conflict. 

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