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Martha Redbone brings Bone Hill to the Wheeler

Locations: News Published

Aspen’s Wheeler Opera House will be closing out its 2022-2023 “Wheeler Presents” series with the “Bone Hill” story-concert on April 21 at 7pm, featuring the talents of accomplished singer-songwriter, composer and educator Martha Redbone and her husband and collaborator, Aaron Whitby, the musical director for “Bone Hill.”

Redbone is a performing artist who focuses on the stories of America that have not been told in history classes, specifically the stories of indigenous peoples and African American people. She weaves in a cornucopia of musical styles, blending traditional mountain songs, Cherokee Nation songs, blues, folk, country, R&B, soul and rock to inspire audiences to get in touch with their ancestral timelines while connecting with a global community.

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“You are who you are wherever you are in the world, and everything that came before you is a part of the person that you are today, you know, the good, the bad and the ugly,” she told The Sopris Sun.

Redbone has been in the music industry as an independent artist for several decades and, in recent years, has gravitated toward theatrical storytelling to share her messages. As an afro-indigenous woman who grew up in the Appalachian hills of Harlan County, Kentucky, and later lived in Brooklyn, New York, “Bone Hill” is a celebration of her life and story as a woman of color. Each place she has lived provided her with inspiration as well as growth.

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“I feel very lucky and, in a way, blessed to have been able to be a child in Kentucky. I think it’s a beautiful place to be a kid. There were lots of trees and fresh air and that kind of small-town culture,” Redbone said.

She explained that living in New York during her teenage years was also fortunate, since there was a plethora of cultures around every corner, and a variety of arts to explore at her fingertips. While growing up, she was exposed to other pockets of land, each rich with history. These ranged from the Trail of Tears era of displacement to modern times, as well as before colonization. History is populated with diverse demographics, like Black coal miners, Indigenous peoples and other mountain folks whose art of storytelling is now coming more to the forefront.

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“I felt the need to make the story of ‘Bone Hill’ because it makes people reflect on their own identity and their family stories, their histories and their own cultures. I’m hoping that through the story of ‘Bone Hill,’ it’s not just to learn about me but it’s really for people to reflect on themselves and their individual family stories. That, to me, sparks really beautiful conversations on celebrating the resilience that we all have within each other, and ourselves,” she told us.

“What we try to do is bring it to the mountaintop and all its bells and whistles. We take you to church and then back home again, all warm and fuzzy, and hopefully inspired to look at your own family stories, and have those conversations.”

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Before the concert takes place, the Wheeler will host its first official outreach program with Aspen Country Day School, where Redbone and Whitby will share social dances, call-and-response songs and students will be invited to participate in a vocal workshop incorporating songs from Redbone’s ancestral homelands.

“We’re excited to bring diverse experiences to these schools, and music and art as well,” Malia Machado, talent coordinator at the Wheeler told The Sopris Sun. “We want to inspire kids, and that is why we wanted to program multiple outreach events.”

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Tickets for “Bone Hill” are on sale at, or by calling the box office at 970-920-5770. For more information and to keep up with Martha Redbone, visit

Tags: #Bone Hill #event #Martha Redbone #music #story #Wheeler Opera House
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