A don't-miss show

In what promises to be a resounding and memorable hour on the bricks, legendary violinist Darol Anger and The Furies will unleash their wild, eclectic world-Celt-bluegrass and rock sound Wednesday at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival's Green Show.

It might seem unusual for a "name" act like this one to be offered gratis, but Anger says he and his troupe have lots of friends in Ashland, and it's a good stopover between the Northwest String Summit near Portland and other shows in the Bay Area.

Anger will perform at 6:45 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 15, on the bricks at OSF.

Anger won fame starting in 1977 at age 21 as a fiddler for the David Grisman Quintet and as co-founder, composer and performer for the Turtle Island String Quartet with David Balakrishnan and in his 1982 Windham Hill Records album, "Tideline," with Barbara Higbie.

Anger says his genre has always been hard to define but includes traditional and original pieces that draw from blues, rock, soul and other genres.

"It's just music music," he says during a telephone interview. "It's music we all need to listen to. It's what America is all about."

The Green Show performance might include songs from his wildly popular Windham Hill days, which he describes as "a strange thing. Every musician at Windham, was original and kind of quirky and made good music that sold itself.

"Windham told us to make our music, not the music they wanted and they paid us and publicized it and that's kind of amazing. I was really happy with those folks. The recording industry is now pretty much done. It seems it really exists to make music unavailable."

Anger has 40 albums behind him and says his favorite is his latest one, "Look Up, Look Down," with longtime Ashlander and singer-songwriter Emy Phelps, who also moved to the East Coast.

"We have probably the world's best Celtic harp player, Maeve Gilchrist, and the world's most exciting cellist, Rushad Eggleston, a founder of the group Crooked Still," which is described as an "alternative bluegrass" group. Sharon Gilchrist plays mandolin and Phelps is on guitar and vocals. One band member, percussionist Nic Gareiss, is "probably the best step dancer I've ever seen, comparable to Fred Astaire — and I hope he inspires everyone to get up and dance."

Anger founded and participated in a range of groups, including Montreaux with Higbie, the bluegrass group Psychograss, Fiddlers Four, Anonymous Four and the current Republic of Strings with Scott Nygaard.

Anger also is featured on the lively "Car Talk" theme on National Public Radio, and teaches fiddle online at School of Fiddle, a part of the Academy of Bluegrass.

Anger says his group is named after the Furies, avenging female angels of Gaelic mythology, but instead of bringing destruction, he hopes the band encourages folk- and step-dancing among the audience.

"These fantastically talented presences swoop down ... and the result is inspiration," notes his website, www.darolanger.com. "Darol is a fiddle guru, unique in his vast range and depth, who has spent the past three decades reinventing American string music to encompass his explorations of bluegrass, jazz, and music from around the world. His playing and composition overflow with passion, prodigious technique and a great sense of humor. He has spent his career enlightening and inspiring his fellow musicians, and vice-versa."

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