Left to right in the group photo: Jack Herrick, Chris Frank, Rick Good (not coming), Bland Simpson, Rob Ladd (not coming), and Clay Buckner. Absent is Mark Roberts, who is part of the touring band.
Jack Herrick [trumpet, bass, whistle, bouzouki, etc.] has been a Red Clay Rambler for 39 years as the band’s “junk man,” meaning he plays whatever instrument is left over when the band arranges the tunes and songs. In between much far-flung touring, he has written shows with fellow Ramblers and other great collaborators such as Sam Shepard, Michael Bogdanov, and Doug Marlette. During the last few years he has put music and lyrics into Shakespeare plays at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the Folger Library, Great River Shakes, and the Guthrie Theater. “We Ramblers had the pleasure of knowing Pat Conroy,” he says, “and we’re happy to be here celebrating his memory.”
Mark Roberts plays traditional music on the flute, tin whistle, 5-string banjo and bouzouki and has had a long and varied career in music. He has toured and recorded with the seminal band Touchstone, played the banjo with the Red Clay Ramblers on Broadway in the show Fool Moon, and his flute and pennywhistle can be heard in the Jon Salyes film The Secret of Roan Innish; he also brought his whistle on tour with Don Henley. Mark has performed on and produced many recordings, most recently The High Caul Cap, a flute CD with guitarist Dan Compton.
Chris Frank has been playing guitar, accordion, and tuba with the Ramblers since 1982. Born and raised in Iowa, he taught elementary music and toured nationally as a “sensitive singer-songwriter” before settling down in Carrboro, where he lives with his wife, Eli, and dog, Basie. Chris’s day job is accessibility consultation and document remediation.
Clay Buckner has performed with the award winning Red Clay Ramblers since 1980. He has appeared with them in a number projects for Sam Shepard on stage and film, and in the Tony Award winning Broadway hit “Fool Moon” with productions in Los Angeles, Europe and New York. He lives in Carrboro and continues to enjoy teaching fiddle.
Bland Simpson has been The Red Clay Ramblers’ piano player since 1986, and he is also Kenan Distinguished Professor of English & Creative Writing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His books include Into the Sound Country, The Coasts of Carolina, and Little Rivers & Waterway Tales, and his theatrical collaborations include Diamond Studs, King Mackerel, Kudzu, and Fool Moon. Simpson’s awards include the North Carolina Award for Fine Arts (2005) and the N.C. Humanities Council’s John Tyler Caldwell Award in the Humanities (2017).