TRAVERSE CITY — RFD Boys, the long popular traditional bluegrass band from Ann Arbor, will tour the area this weekend, followed next week by accomplished Canadian folk and roots singer-songwriter Lynn Miles.
RFD stands for “Rural Free Delivery,” a term that dates back to 1896 when the United States established rural mail routes across the nation — a half-century before Bill Monroe, Earl Scruggs and others began playing a new kind of “country” music that would come to be known as “bluegrass.”
The RFD Boys played their first concert in October 1969 when they were University of Michigan students. Their music has taken them all over Michigan, the Midwest and as far away as Germany, France and Malta over the last 44 years. They’ve shared stages with bluegrass and country greats like Monroe, Ralph Stanley, Ricky Skaggs and Randy Travis.
The group’s area tour includes stops at the Dhaseleer Events Barn three miles east of Charlevoix, from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. today, and the Williamsburg Theater in Acme, at 7 p.m. Sunday, with concert opener Awesome Distraction.
Lynn Miles appears at the Williamsburg the following Thursday, July 11, at 7:30 p.m. She’ll also perform at 8 p.m. Saturday, July 13, at the Redheads Cafe and Tasting Room in Lake Leelanau.
Miles is a winner of several Canadian Folk Music Awards and a 2003 Juno Award for Roots & Traditional Solo Album of the Year. Her 11th and newest album is “Downpour,” released in early June.
Accompanying her onstage is guitar/mandolin player Keith Glass, a seven-time Canadian Country Guitar Picker of the Year and a founding member of the multi-Juno and Canadian Country Music Award-winning band, Prairie Oyster.
Born in Sweetsburg, Quebec near Montreal, Miles grew up the daughter of a harmonica player/jazz fan father and a mother who listened to both opera and country music. She learned to play the violin, guitar, piano and flute during her school years and started writing songs at age 10. She began performing at age 16. She studied voice in her 20s with a private teacher and classical music history and theory at Carleton University in Ottawa.
Tickets for her area shows are available at Oryana Natural Foods Market or by calling Redheads Cafe and Tasting Room (Lake Leelanau performance) at 256-7720. Oryana also is handling tickets for the RFD Boys shows.
The group’s Dhasaleer Barn performance is part of the venue’s Black Cat Series. Tickets and information are available at www.blackcatconcerts.com or by calling 231-675-7763.