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Leatherwoods' music rooted in Americana

Leatherwoods' music rooted in Americana

September 13th, 2018 by Aaron Brand in Features
The Leatherwoods

HOPE, Ark.—Hailing from Mountain View, Ark., the musical group The Leatherwoods specialize in acoustic music that visits various genres with roots in Americana.

Listeners may hear them perform folk and bluegrass, but also gospel and country—even some Etta James, says Pam Setser, a singer for the band whose family is involved in the band's origins.

"The Leatherwoods group was formed in 1983. It was formed by my mother, Jean Jennings. We do a variety of music. We have fiddle, guitar, mandolin, slide guitar, mountain dulcimer, spoons, an upright bass," Setser said.

They'll bring those delightful instruments to the stage of Hempstead Hall soon for a Sunday, Sept. 23, performance at 2 p.m. And the instrumentation provides a strong indicator of what sorts of music falls into their repertoire.

The Leatherwoods have performed regularly at the Ozark Folk Center and other Mountain Home area venues, such as Mellon's Hole in the Wall Theater. They've even ventured to the Kennedy Center in the nation's capital to perform.

"We're real excited about playing this auditorium in Hope," said Setser, who joined the band in the late 1980s. She plays a number of instruments: the guitar, autoharp, mountain dulcimer and spoons. She's joined by fiddle player Roger Fountain, another multi-instrumentalist in Danny Dozier, and Teresa Johns, who plays the bass.

Fountain is a highly respected musician, having been named Fiddler of the Year several times by the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America. Dozier cites influences like Merle Travis and Doc Watson, while Johns has been with The Leatherwoods for 11 years. Setser's experience includes appearances at The Louisiana Hayride and on "Hee Haw."

The band will be joined by a clogger, Gina Holderby, whose experience nearly stretches to three decades. She teaches clogging for the Ozark Rhythm Cloggers, and she's also participated on a team at the USA National Clogging Championship.

"She is a great clogger. She's taught clogging and she's also competed in a lot of contests," Setser said of a clogger who's been with The Leatherwoods since she was just 12 years old.

Setser loves the music they play because with the fiddle going it makes for toe tapping tunes. There are harmonies and slow, old ballads to enjoy. It's the kind of music that's good for your soul, she says, and she's appreciated her fellow performers in the band.

"They become your family because you spend a lot of time with them," Setser said.

To hear these award-winning musicians perform, plus several local musicians who will join them on stage, see their concert on Sept. 23 at Hempstead Hall.

(Tickets: $15, or $5 for students at HempsteadHall.com.)

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