The popular Blue Ridge and Beyond concert series kicks off for another year tonight, featuring both homegrown talent and internationally recognized musical acts.
ShadowGrass plays the inaugural concert in the 2017-2018 schedule, followed by such acts as The Harris Brothers; Dailey & Vincent; John Cowan with Darin & Brooke Aldridge; the Becky Buller Band; Flatt Lonesome; the Davisson Brothers; The Allen Boys; Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives; and Michael Cleveland and Flamekeeper in the final act of the 2017-2018 season, a year from now.
And those are just the first-time acts coming to Mount Airy.
Returning acts include Jerry Douglas presents the Earls of Leicester; Mick Moloney, joined by World Champion Step Dancer Niall O’Leary; Larry Sigmon and Martha Spencer; Carson Peters and Iron Mountain; Will Jones Band; Malpass Brothers; and Balsam Range.
The series also includes annual events such as Breaking Up Christmas — featuring the Buckstankle Boys and the Slate Mountain Ramblers in two separate concerts; WPAQ’s Birthday Celebration; and the Tommy Jarrell Festival in March.
Tonight, ShadowGrass gets it all started with a 7:30 p.m. show at the Historic Earle Theatre on Main Street.
The band consists of a group of young musicians from Western North Carolina and Southwestern Virginia who crossed paths at local fiddler’s conventions in the summer of 2014. They began playing together and competitions as a band soon followed.
“Although they have their own style, ShadowGrass is honored to be playing in the shadow of great bluegrass legends,” the Surry Arts Council said in announcing the concert series.
”Holding to their bluegrass roots, fast picking, and fresh arrangements have earned the band numerous awards in youth and adult competitions across the region. In 2016 they placed fifth in the adult bluegrass band category at the Galax Fiddler’s Convention. That same year, they were honored to be chosen as a featured youth band for the IBMA World of Bluegrass Festival,” the arts council said.
The group consists of four members, who range in age from 12 to 17. Presley Barker, on guitar; Luke Morris on mandolin; Clay Russell on banjo; and Kyser George, on bass, make up the group.
“We’re thrilled about this year’s line-up,” says Antonia Cawley, director of operations of the Surry Arts Council. “Since the beginning, our goal with Blue Ridge and Beyond has been to bring bands of high caliber to the Earle. It’s a small venue and an intimate setting and people love that. We’ve had people traveling from all over the Southeast to see these shows, and we’re so happy to have them visit the Earle and Mount Airy.”
“Several of this season’s performers just won IBMA awards and we’re happy to host them here in Mount Airy,” Cawley said.
ShadowGrass tickets are $12 (orchestra) or $10 (balcony) and available online at www.surryarts.org or by phone (336-786-7998).