Friends of Music continues its 2017-2018 season with a performance by Alex Riffle & The Stiff Riffs, a bluegrass band, on Saturday, January 20, 2018, at 6:30 p.m., in the Christian Life Center of First United Methodist Church, College at Washington Streets, in Kennett. Admission to the event is free, and the public is cordially invited.
Alex Riffle is a 24-year-old banjo player from Poplar Bluff, MO who has been playing the banjo since he was 12 years old. Alex recorded his debut CD at only thirteen years of age. Along with his band providing the opening entertainment for artists such as Dr. Ralph Stanley, The SteelDrivers, and Pam Tillis, Alex has performed at many venues, including the Station Inn in Nashville, TN, the Sheldon Concert Hall in St. Louis, MO, and Silver Dollar City in Branson, MO. Alex and the band have also performed at a variety of events, including Missouri Governor Jay Nixon’s inauguration in 2009, the John Hartford Memorial Festival in Bean Blossom, IN., and various fundraisers. His banjo playing has also been featured on the Cumberland Highlanders T.V. show on the RFD network and John McEuen’s “Acoustic Traveller” Sirius X.M. Radio show. Alex is currently a first-year student at the Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine in Ft. Smith.
In 2006, Alex Riffle & The Stiff Riffs was formed. The group, along with Alex, consists of five other members, most of whom have played music together for over 35 years. Doug Kennedy, an attorney in Poplar Bluff, plays the acoustic bass and sings lead and harmony vocals with the group. Steve Walsh, who is also an attorney in Poplar Bluff (and who was born and grew up in Kennett), plays the mandolin and provides lead vocals on most of the songs, along with singing harmony vocals. Bill Watkins, a schoolteacher from Bourbon, MO, plays the acoustic guitar and sings lead and harmony vocals with the group. Bill, Steve, and Doug have been playing and recording bluegrass music together, as an organized group, for over 35 years. Larry Light, a carpenter from Sullivan, MO, plays lead acoustic guitar and sings harmony and some lead with the group. Larry is known as one of the best flat-picking guitarists in the state of Missouri. Bobby Lewis is the phenomenal fiddle player for the band. Having grown up in The Bob Lewis Family band, based out of Doniphan, MO, Bobby is no stranger to bluegrass music, or his instrument.
The band’s repertoire, developed over the course of 35 years, includes hundreds of classic bluegrass songs, along with multiple classic rock, country, and pop songs converted to the band’s own brand of bluegrass.
Alex Riffle & The Stiff Riffs is a bluegrass band that's an enjoyable band for both a bluegrass music-loving crowd and a crowd that has never heard bluegrass music before.
“Their brand of bluegrass music will certainly lift your spirit and is among the finest music Missouri has to offer.”
- Missouri Governor, Jay Nixon
“Alex has an unusually amazing musical gift, and that gift has been worked on and tuned up with the help of two of Alex’s friends, Steve Walsh and Doug Kennedy. After much practice and hard work, the three musicians have joined together to make up part of, what is now, one of the best bluegrass bands in Missouri, Alex Riffle & The Stiff Riffs.”
- “The Semo Times - Alex Riffle & The Stiff Riffs: Bringing Bluegrass Back"
Friends of Music also invites public support for the entire 2017-2018 season. Donations in any amount may be sent to P.O. Box 213, Kennett MO 63857. These donation make possible the concerts and other activities sponsored by Friends of Music. Events for 2017-2018 include the Kennett Schola Cantorum (December 2017), expected events with a student quartet and a dinner theater event, and traditional summer events by the Kennett Municipal Band and the Southeast Missouri Regional Jazz Orchestra. For