Alice Gerrard Biography

8 July 1934, Seattle, Washington, USA. Gerrard grew up in California and while still at college in the late 50s, she became greatly attracted to old-time and bluegrass music. She learned to play guitar and banjo and began writing her own material early in her career. At college, she had met (and married) Jeremy Foster (a friend and former classmate of Mike Seeger) and together they organized the Green County Stump Jumpers. In the early 60s, she met Hazel Dickens, and the two formed a partnership that saw them write songs about various aspects of life, as well as performing together at numerous folk festivals all over the south. In their work both together and apart, Dickens and Gerrard have done much to influence countless traditional music fans as well as pioneering the role of women in bluegrass.

In 1972, for some time, they joined with Seeger (whom Gerrard had married in 1970), Tracy Schwarz and Lamar Greer to perform as the Strange Creek Singers. After their partnership ended amicably, Gerrard continued her career and worked various venues, sometimes with her husband. In the late 70s, along with Jeanie McLerie and Irene Herrmann, she formed the Harmony Sisters. They later recorded two albums for Flying Fish Records. She has also worked with and in some cases recorded with other artists including Peter Rowan and the Red Clay Ramblers.

Like her friend Dickens, she continued to appear at festivals and around the bluegrass/folk music circuit. In the 80s, she relocated to Durham, North Carolina, where she founded and edited a music magazine calledThe Old-Time Herald and also worked with a group called the Herald Angels. In 1994, using mainly her own material, she made further recordings for the Copper Creek label. During the same year Gerrard joined forces with multi-instrumentalist Tom Sauber and fiddle player Brad Leftwich to form Tom, Brad And Alice. The unit continue to record and perform traditional American music into the new millennium.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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