SECOND STAGE SERIES
FRIDAY, JUNE 2, 2023 AT 7:30 P.M.
Sometimes All You Need is Three Notes and a Beat.
No guitars. No piano. No drums. Just voices, wringing a remarkable amount of music out of three notes.
Great harmony and rhythm are hallmarks of Bare Bones.
Rebecca Kimmons is the lead singer, with a strong contralto voice that can deliver a powerful punch of emotion or amusement. Bill Kimmons, her husband, has a memorably deep, resonant bass voice that anchors their sound, and Dock Cutlip’s supple tenor can reach high to falsetto, or down to baritone, to add whatever color notes are needed to express the moment.
“You sound like ten people!” a kid in a Montessori school audience once exclaimed.
The three singers bring distinctly different musical influences to create their sound.
Rebecca has been a student of old-style Appalachian unaccompanied singing since she was a child, listening to her Summers County-born grandmother sing in the manner of the Primitive Baptists. If you visit the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, you can hear the same singing style today in their churches.
Bill grew up singing in choirs and musicals, holding down such roles as Balthazar in Amahl and the Night Visitors, and Huckleby in The Fantastiks. He was introduced to old-time music when he came to West Virginia in 1977.
Dock Cutlip grew up in Pocahontas County, West Virginia, singing with his family and steeped in old-time gospel harmonies. Thanks to curiosity and his mother’s short-wave radio, Dock also has a broad range of knowledge and appreciation of American pop music traditions. He is an accomplished guitarist, finger-picking in open tuning. Dock joined Bare Bones as their tenor in September, 2021.
Bare Bones, with Becky and Bill as the core, has been performing in various configurations since 1981. The trio has performed on Mountain Stage, at Tamarack, at Charleston’s FestivALL, at the Vandalia Gathering on the grounds of the State Capitol, and has taught harmony singing at Augusta Heritage Workshops’ popular Vocal Week in Elkins, WV, in several summer sessions over a 30-year period. They have produced five albums of music on CD, showcasing the broad range of songs in their repertoire, from the music of Blind Alfred Reed to Ry Cooder to The Golden Gate Jubilee, and on to Smokey Robinson and Natalie Merchant.
“All we need is good harmony potential and a beat, and we’re off on an acappella adventure,” Rebecca says. “We like to think we strip a song down to its soul.”