Blue Ribbon Healers to play two swanky tonk shows on Rigsbee

Apr. 17, 2014 @ 10:22 AM

When the Blue Ribbon Healers hit the road, they don’t just come for one show, then load up the car and take off to the next town. They like to stick around for a little while, whether it’s a month in Colorado or California. The duo will bring their original brand of foot-stomping swanky tonk music to Durham on Sunday for two shows – first at Fullsteam Brewery, then after a break another show across the street at Motorco Music Hall.

Cindy Rose (mandolin, vocals) and Rob Pate (guitar, vocals) formed the Blue Ribbon Healers five years ago. They’re based in the Florida panhandle, and started off by heading to New Orleans for a while. When they got back to Florida, they booked four times as many shows, Pate said, with their new New Orleans street credentials. They have regular gigs in Florida and plenty more on the road.
Sunday’s shows will be a return to Durham and Rigsbee Avenue. Last year Blue Ribbon Healers played at Motorco’s Bloody Brunch and are excited to move up to the big stage, Rose said, this time for a performance along with the band Radar’s Clowns of Sedation.
“We set up tours so we have a nice long time to get to know the community for a time,” Rose said during a phone interview Wednesday. They’re already in North Carolina and played in Asheville on Tuesday night.
Rose said while they’re in the Raleigh and Durham area, they’ll visit family and eat at Neomonde in Raleigh. She likes this community for all the colleges, diversity and intellectual aspects, Rose said.
Rose and Pate describe Blue Ribbon Healers’ sound as building on their own good music foundations in bluegrass, Texas swing, acoustic jazz, Parisian swing jazz and Greek music.
“We’re into fiddle music from around the world, and concocting a fresh sound,” Pate said. Rose grew up in Florida and her dad, Leo McDermott, is a longtime fiddle player. Pate is from Alabama. He was living in San Francisco and visiting friends in Florida when he went to see Rose’s old band, which was a dark form of bluegrass. The next day he played with Rose and McDermott and things took off.
Rose has played music most of her life but chose the mandolin because of the acoustic band Nickel Creek.
“I saw that and thought maybe I’ll give that a try,” she said. At the time she was a student at Florida State University. Now with Pate she’s gotten more into Texas swing and New Orleans-style jazz.
“The past five years have been a whole new level of music education. It’s really incredible,” Rose said.
Being on stage was once nerve wracking but now it’s heartwarming.
“It’s great to be part of people having a good time … seeing everybody be happy,” Rose said.

WHO: Blue Ribbon Healers
WHEN and WHERE: 5-7 p.m. Sunday
Fullsteam Brewery
726 Rigsbee Ave., Durham; and at 9 p.m. Sunday with Radar's Clowns of Sedation and Pearl van Dammit
Motorco Music Hall
723 Rigsbee Ave., Durham
TICKETS: $7 for Motorco show