Piddlers to include new, old favorites

Published 3:00 am Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Storytelling is the heart and soul of who we are as a people.

Whether from the hills of Appalachia, the plains of the Midwest or the shores of the mighty Pacific, storytelling connects us all.

And, nowhere will there be a stronger connecting fiber than at the 2015 Pike Piddlers Storytelling Festival in Pike County the last weekend in January.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The 2015 Pike Piddlers Storytelling Festival will bring back audience favorites, Donald Davis, the Dean of Storytelling, and Barbara McBride-Smith, the Texas talking tornado.

“When those two take the stage, you’d better hold on to your seats,” said Johnny Steed, a member of the sponsoring Brundidge Historical Society’s storytelling committee.

“When you say Donald Davis, that’s enough said, but in saying more, The New York Times said it best: ‘His stories often leave listeners limp with laughter at the same time they are struggling with a lump in the throat.’ The Dean paints a picture in your mind and it’s like watching an I-Max movie.”

Barbara McBride-Smith is the women’s answer to Donald Davis. She’s off in a flash and takes the audience with her.

Steed said McBride-Smith’s colorful voice reminds listeners of a fire and brimstone preacher, a carnival barker or a used car salesman.

“Some folks say she sounds a lot like Butterfly McQueen with a Texas twang,” Steed said. “But what she sounds like is fun.

“And, we’ve got two new voices, not to storytelling, but to our Festival and both of them come to us straight from the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tennessee.”

Tim Lowry has been called Americana with a microphone. His stories come from his Kentucky roots and his home on the “Sweet Tea Trail” in South Carolina.

“Tim Lowry mixes up stories of growing up Baptist and all that is American — baseball, hotdogs, apple pie and Chevrolet,” Steed said. “

Josh Goforth is from the mountains of Western North Carolina, the nesting place for fine storytellers.”

“Josh Goforth, a Grammy nominee, is a master at combing stories and music, mostly fiddle music. He is one of the finest fiddlers in the country. His stories and his music are a great combination.”

Steed said there’s no better way to spend a cold, January day, than to be tucked into storytelling by four masters of the art.

“If you don’t think the time spent was worth your money, then we’ll give it back,” Steed said, with a smile.

The Pike Piddlers Storytelling Festival will open with supper and stories at the We Piddle Around Theater in Brundidge Friday night and continue with three storytelling concerts at the Trojan Center Theater on the campus of Troy University on Saturday, Jan. 31. Saturday concert times are 10 a.m. ($10) and 2 p.m.  ($10) and 6:30 p.m. ($15). All day Saturday tickets are $30. Pre-show music begins 30 minutes prior to the storytelling concerts and will feature the Benton Brothers and Company, The Lighthouse String Ensemble and The Hendersons.

For tickets or information, call 685-5524, 670-6302 or 372-1001.

Tickets are available at The Messenger at 918 South Brundidge Street in Troy.