Bluegrass group to hit the stage
by Rebecca Johnston
rjohnston@cherokeetribune.com
October 05, 2012 12:30 AM | 2240 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Bluegrass singer and bass player Frances Mooney will perform Saturday with her band Fontanna Sunset on Saturday at the Canton Theatre at 7:30 p.m. Band members include Mark Mundy, Rickey Rakestraw, Ronnie Wilbanks and Brian Morgan. Tickets are $15. <br>Cherokee Tribune/Special
Bluegrass singer and bass player Frances Mooney will perform Saturday with her band Fontanna Sunset on Saturday at the Canton Theatre at 7:30 p.m. Band members include Mark Mundy, Rickey Rakestraw, Ronnie Wilbanks and Brian Morgan. Tickets are $15.
Cherokee Tribune/Special
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Mooney and her son perform on stage.
Mooney and her son perform on stage.
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CANTON — Bluegrass singer and bass player Frances Mooney, a native of neighboring Cumming, is still doing what she loves to do, performing some of the best bluegrass music around.

This Saturday night Cherokee County will have a chance to hear the musician and her band Fontanna Sunset at the Canton Theatre in one performance at 7:30 p.m.

Mooney is a veteran in bluegrass and has performed for 43 years in the business. For several years in a row, including 2012, she has been nominated by the Society for Preservation of Blue Grass Music of America as Female Vocalist of the Year and was the only woman nominated as the Best Bass Player of the Year.

The performer has captured two International Bluegrass Music Association awards for her work with the musical project, Daughters of Bluegrass. They won Recorded Event of the Year two times. She has also been inducted into the Atlanta Country Music Hall of Honor.

“I was born into bluegrass music,” Mooney said. “Both of my parents would travel around to play mostly at houses where they would serve cake and coffee and get together to enjoy the music.”

During her career, she was a high profile singer and bass player with The Bluegrass Generation in the Louisville bluegrass scene around 1975 in the days when Ricky Skaggs and Vince Gill still played bluegrass. Both Scaggs and Gill helped on a couple of early Generation albums.

In October 1998, Mooney formed her current band, Fontanna Sunset and is still the leader of band.

“We have recorded several CDs on the label owned by Tom T. and Dixie Hall, Blue Circle Records,” Mooney said.

Recently, she said they were contacted by a friend that Bob Sequin of the Canton Theatre had heard about the group and wanted to include bluegrass.

“I said sure, I would love to play closer to home,” Mooney said

The group has only played in Cherokee County one other time at the Cherokee Arts Center, opening for Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver.

Joining Mooney on stage is her son, Mark Mundy, who, according to the band’s promotional material is the finest guitar player many people have ever heard.

“Seldom do you find a guitar player so versatile in so many genres of music. Mark has accomplished a career in music that many can only hope for. Some have said every time they perform with Mark or listen to him play there is always a lesson to be learned,” according to the band’s website.

Mundy is accomplished on the acoustic guitar, electric guitar, resophonic guitar and vocals.

Other band members include Rickey Rakestraw, who just came on board, playing guitar and banjo. He has performed on the Little Roy and Lizzy Show among other opportunities, Mooney said.

Another member of Fontanna Sunset, Ronnie Wilbanks, joined the band in January 2004.

His first bluegrass band was started in the mountains of South Carolina in the mid 70’s, playing banjo with the Carolina Mountain Boys, located in Salem, S.C.

He joined a group in 1982 called Rocky Ridge Bluegrass from Jasper and played with them until 1986.

Brian Morgan will also be on stage Saturday night. He has been with the band since 2010 and is the instrumental tie-down, always on top of the chops, arrangement and any spot that needs an instrumental touch, Mooney says.

Mooney also owns Sawnee Mountain Music in Cumming, which has been in business for 30 years and caters to the acoustic world, including acoustic guitars, Blue Ridge guitars, some vintage Martins, and mandolins and fiddles, Mooney said.

Tickets to Saturday night’s performance are $15 and can be purchased at the Canton Theatre at 117 East Main Street in historic downtown Canton or call (770) 704-0755.

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