Becky Buller and The Fairfield Four in concert tonight at First Baptist

Published 7:17 am Friday, November 15, 2019

The ETSU Martin School of the Arts is excited to have a one-of-a-kind gospel concert — featuring multiple Grammy winners Becky Buller and The Fairfield Four — this evening at 7:30 p.m. at First Baptist Church, Elizabethton.

Buller and The Fairfield Four have sung together on “Huckabee”; at Buller’s home church in Manchester, Tenn.; and for her birthday bash at Nashville’s legendary Station Inn this past January. The Elizabethton event will be their second full show together. Each group will perform a set then join forces and voices for the finale.

“They’re real,” says Buller, who has also written gospel songs for Rhonda Vincent and the Rage and other bluegrass luminaries, as well as her own band. “They just don’t sing about it. They live it. It’s really awesome to see how God is using their music. Singing with them is like going to church. Their music is so good, and you can just really feel the Spirit moving.”

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Founded in 1921, The Fairfield Four continues to shape its genre of music, as well. The three-time Grammy Award-winning a cappella gospel ensemble was named a national treasure by the National Endowment for the Arts, and in 1995, was the first to receive the Nashville Music Award for Lifetime Achievement. The Four has been “singularly important in revitalizing and preserving the oldest style of traditional African American spiritual and gospel singing,” says musicologist and producer of American roots music Jerry Zolten.

East Tennessee State University alumna Becky Buller is not only the first artist to win in both instrumental and vocal categories at the International Bluegrass Music Awards, and the first female to win Fiddle Player of the Year, but Buller is also “one of the hottest bluegrass artists and fiddle players out there” and “a pillar in the modern day bluegrass community . . . helping to shape the genre as we know it,” says July’s edition of Music Mecca.

Buller — who makes Manchester her “third” home — now tours with her own band, which includes ETSU Bluegrass, Old Time and Country Music Studies Director Dan Boner on guitar, fiddle and vocals; Ned Luberecki on banjo; Nate Lee on mandolin and vocals; and, for the Nov. 15 show, C.J. Garskof on bass.

Boner is thrilled to have Buller back at his home church and to welcome The Fairfield Four to Elizabethton and Northeast Tennessee.

“Becky performed on my live album ‘The Gospel Way,’ which was recorded at First Baptist in Elizabethton in 2007, at the same time that I was working as the church’s music director,” Boner says. “The church itself has the most perfect acoustics for bluegrass and a cappella music, and the congregation members are just like family to me. It was the obvious choice for this special collaboration.

“You simply cannot understand what it is like to sing with the Fairfield Four. It is all about strength and conviction. They sing right through you — deep into your soul. Hearing Becky’s voice soar above their rhythmic foundation is an experience not to be missed.”

Tickets for this event are $25 for general admission, $20 for seniors and $5 for students of all ages with an ID.