McHale and The Radio Gang perform on Feb. 28

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SOUTH CARTHAGE – New England Celtic Arts will host Allen “Mac” McHale and The Radio Gang, at Skye Theatre Performing Arts Center in South Carthage on Sunday, Feb. 28 at 3 p.m. Joining Mac on stage will be John & Sally Roc and Herman McGee. A pre-show jam will start at 2:15. Audience members are invited to bring their instruments and join in for a few minutes with the performers.

The presentation of vintage American country music from the 1930s and 1940s is the mission of The Radio Gang. Its veteran musicians play and sing rousing renditions of classic melodies that recapture the mood of a unique period in American history when the popular music told “the stories from our hearts.”

Simple, honest and in many ways innocent, country music of the ’30s and ’40s (more often classed as bluegrass today) was purely acoustic, with six-string guitar, mandolin, banjo and stand-up bass. Country music had its start, in many cases, as live broadcasts over the radio or was performed in grange halls and churches.

The band’s selections are richly varied–spirited fiddle and train songs, gospel music, hand-clapping and toe-tapping tunes, and ballads of love and heartbreak.

The Radio Gang has eleven recordings to its credit. Among them are Old Country Radio Songs (which was chosen by CD Review as one of the top four country CDs since the magazine began in 1984), When the Roses Bloom Again, and New River Train (submitted by Folkways Records for a 1993 Grammy Award). The group recently recorded four albums for Fishtraks: Get on Board, Sunbonnet Mother, River of Memories and Down in Memory Lane.

In settings as diverse as The Bangor State Fair, Steamboat Springs Strings in the Mountains, Bates College, The Imperial Theater in St. John, New Brunswick, The International Festival Calais/St. Steven New Brunswick, The Maine Center for the Arts, and Country Night at The Pops with The Reading Symphony, audiences fall prey to the band’

s infectious, high-spirited performances, invariably clapping their hands and tapping their feet, caught up in The Radio Gang’s dazzling instrumentation and the rich vocal leads and harmonies.

Skye Theater is located 3 miles West of East Dixfield village at 2 Highland Drive off Winter Hill Rd and US RT. 2 in South Carthage. Ticket price is $10 at the door. Call New England Celtic Arts at (207) 562-4445 for reservations and directions. More information at: www.necelticarts.com

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