The Carpetbag Theatre


Between a Ballad and a Blues, a play with music from award winning playwright Linda Parris-Bailey, tells the story of African-American-Appalachian renaissance man Howard "Louie Bluie" Armstrong, one of the most celebrated string-band musicians in the history of American Music. The play highlights Mr. Armstrong's more than seven decade musical career. From his start in the industrial city of La Follette, he learned to sing in at least seven languages and began playing a homemade fiddle, performing with his siblings in the 1920's. He went on to tour internationally and throughout the immigrant mining communities and metropolitan nightlife of the US with fellow musicians, Carl Martin and Ted Bogan.  Mr. Armstrong continued to perform until his death in 2003, sharing string-Band music with the world and planting seeds for other American music forms including Country and Blues. The title of the play comes from Armstrong's answer to playwright, Linda Parris-Bailey's question: "How do you describe your music?" He responded, "It's somewhere between a ballad and a blues." Armstrong's remarkable ability to adapt and survive good-natured ribbing, lively tales and energetic musical style come to life in this original work from CBT.

Performances are February 23, 24, and 25 at 7:30 pm and February 26 at 4 pm at the Harold and Jean Lambert Recital Hall. To purchase tickets please visit the Clayton Center for the Arts Box Office or call 865-981-8590.

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