Terri Allard's Hat Trick


For a home-grown folk singer like Terri Allard, Fridays After Five is the time to let loose.

The Charlottesville rock-a-billy icon has recently been swept up in so many creative projects that touring and song-writing have gone to the back burner.

"I'm wearing other hats right now," says the 35-year veteran of the music scene. "I'm hosting a PBS show, and I'm involved in a children's song-writing program, Kid Pan Alley. I'm not touring as much!"

Allard has most recently been busy filming the second season of Charlottesville Inside and Out, which airs Thursdays at 8:30 on WHTJ. The program, which recently won two Telly Awards for talk show and cultural video, introduces viewers to the people and places that have defined Charlottesville and, as host, Allard is at the front of the action.

"We did one shoot up in the air in a hot air balloon," she says, "and we've interviewed Charlie Pastorfield after Live from the Hook, and we should be interviewing Sparky's Flaw."

Kid Pan Alley gets local school children involved in song-writing. Working with KPA founder and folk legend Paul Reisler– who began the program in Rappahannock County in 1999– Allard has found creative youngsters in eight Charlottesville schools and recorded a CD of their music with various Charlottesville musicians. Eleven of the 80 songs written with over 1,600 children in Charlottesville and Albemarle schools are on the CD set to be released at a concert at the Paramount on October 4. It includes recordings by such Charlottesville trademarks as Sparky's Flaw, Sons of Bill, Shannon Worrell, and the Hackensaw Boys.

"Working with kids keeps your brain fresh," says Allard. "I wouldn't say it's influenced my song writing yet– I haven't had time for song-writing! But I'm around all this creativity, and I know it's going to be a flood when I do sit down and write."

Despite balancing all the new projects, Allard has managed to keep several of her favorite venues in the mix. Her Fridays appearance is sandwiched between a performance at the Nelson County Festival at Oak Ridge and headlining at Scottsville's Rhythm on the River in September.

"Fridays is always a lot of fun!" she says. "People want to dance, so we'll play upbeat tunes– ones we've written, our favorite covers. It's a sound we really only play for Fridays, a new kind of energy for us."

"After these hats are off, I'll think about getting back on the road," says Allard. "Nothing moves too fast in the folk world, and you don't have to keep up with anyone except yourself– which I can't do right now. I think when my world slows down, I'd like to experiment, play around with style. When I grow up, I want to be a better guitar player."

Terri Allard performs at Fridays After Five on August 15. The Honey Dewdrops open.