The Town of Abingdon has partnered with Barter Theatre and Bone Fire Brands to kick off the Abingdon Music Experience and a series of concerts every Saturday in January.
January Jams at Barter Theatre, presented by Eastman Credit Union, will feature an array of nationally recognized artists performing a variety of musical genres, beginning Jan. 5 with Acoustic Syndicate and The New Familiars.
North Carolina's The New Familiars, the evening's opening act, have been touring and playing their own style of American rock 'n' roll for years. Drawing from the vast influences they've collected throughout their careers, this quartet has shaped a sound that combines the nitty-gritty roots music of Appalachia with guitar-drenched, drum-driven anthems of rock 'n' roll.
Headlining act Acoustic Syndicate is a rock/folk/bluegrass band from North Carolina. Formed in 1992, the group has toured nationally, boasting appearances at Farm Aid and Bonnaroo. Tickets to the Jan. 5 concert are $25.
The Southwest Virginia band If Birds Could Fly will open for Guy Clark on Jan. 12.
Clark was born in Texas and moved to California as a young man before relocating to Nashville in 1971. He stepped into the spotlight in the early '70s with songs like "L.A. Freeway" and "Desperados Waiting for a Train." Over the years, many of country music's most respected artists have recorded Clark's songs. Tickets are $35.
On Jan. 19, The Black Lillies, an Americana band from Knoxville, will open for the Steep Canyon Rangers. Born in the rumbling cab of a stone truck and aged in the oak of Tennessee's smoky night haunts, The Black Lillies have come to the forefront of the Americana scene in little more than a year. Founded by multi instrumentalist and vocalist Cruz Contreras (co-founder of Robinella and the CCstringband), The Black Lillies have created their own unique brand of country, roots, rock and blues via Appalachia -- a sound that won them the 2012 Independent Music Award for Best Story Song and a nomination for Americana Album of the Year for "100 Miles of Wreckage."
Hailing from Asheville, N.C., the Steep Canyon Rangers have built a reputation as an engaging acoustic quintet seasoned by constant touring. Before being nominated for two International Bluegrass Music Awards in 2008 (including Album of the Year for "Lovin' Pretty Women"), the Rangers were named Emerging Artist of the Year in 2006 at the IBMA awards ceremony in Nashville. The group has been regularly featured on the Grand Ole Opry as well as at major U.S. bluegrass and Americana music festivals such as MerleFest, Telluride, Grey Fox, DelFest and RockyGrass. Tickets are $35.
Rounding out the concert series will be Wise Old River, opening for the legendary Leon Russell on Jan. 26.
A native of Lawton, Okla., Russell has played on, arranged, written and/or produced some of music's most popular albums over the course of his 50-year career. He and Elton John released "The Union," a duet album produced by T Bone Burnett, in 2010, and the single "If It Wasn't For Bad" was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals. Capitol/EMI released a 16-track compilation CD, "The Best Of Leon Russell," in 2011, the same year Russell was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and given the Award For Recording Excellence. He was also a member of the Songwriter's Hall of Fame's Class of 2011. Tickets to Russell's concert are $50.
At each of the concerts, doors open at 7:15 p.m., and the show starts at 8. For tickets or more information, call Barter's box office at (276) 628-3991 or visit www.bartertheatre.com.
The Abingdon Music Experience is a production of Visit Abingdon and the Town of Abingdon, Va. For more information, visit www.abingdonmusicexperience.com.
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