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Roots Rock: Black Stone Cherry Celebrates Their “Family Tree” Live at The Lyric!
Friday, February 15 at 7:00PM

Join us on February 15 at 7:00pm, as Black Stone Cherry returns to the Lyric! If you know their songs White Trash Millionaire, In My Blood, or Please Come In, you won’t want to miss the driving southern rock of Black Stone Cherry live in support of their new album, Family Tree.

For 17 years, Black Stone Cherry has put forth a new, vicious breed of Southern rock, injecting youthful vitality and a myriad of fresh new influences into the beloved American rock tradition. To date, the band has released five critically-acclaimed studio albums and one well-received blues EP. Black Stone Cherry has also rocked 12,000-cap arena shows, topped the UK charts, and shared the stage with a diverse roster of superstars, including Def Leppard, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Bad Company, Motörhead, and ZZ Top.

Family Tree is the much-anticipated follow up to 2016’s Kentucky, which debuted at #5 on the Official UK Album Chart and went to #1 on the Billboard Album

Anya Svirskaya for Antihero Magazine

Chart. Drummer John Fred Young says, “Family Tree showcases all of our collective musical influences and how we have taken those to create something that is truly our own unique Southern American rock ’n’ roll sound.” Two special guests appear, one bringing the concept of family full circle: lead guitarist/vocalist Chris Robertson’s 5-year-old-old son contributes backup vocals on the swaggering You Got The Blues, while the other, revered jam-band musician Warren Haynes (Allman Bros/Gov’t Mule) offers a guitar cameo and vocals on the delta stomp of Dancing In The Rain. “I remember coming to New York when we first were signed, and hearing Warren’s voice behind me the minute my feet hit the street,” recalls bassist Jon Lawhon. “Hearing him play on this track all these years later gave me chills.”

We grew up in the Kentucky Headhunters’ rehearsal space, looking up at posters of Cream, Led Zeppelin, Uriah Heep, the Stones, Montrose, and the Faces. We were like kids someone took in a time capsule and put in the woods.

— John Fred Young

Family Tree rocks hard with the immediacy and spontaneity of in-the-moment takes, and Chris Robertson mixing perfectly fits the loose, creative process that birthed the album—and makes it so easily translate to the ever-evolving jams of their incredible live show.

The concept of family looms large in the world of Black Stone Cherry’s four band members. John Fred Young’s father Richard and his uncle Fred, are founding members of the Grammy Award-winning country rock n’ roots band, The Kentucky HeadHunters. BSC’s four high school-aged friends—Young, plus frontman/guitarist Chris Robertson, guitarist Ben Wells and bassist Jon Lawhon—grew up honing their craft in the Headhunters’ practice house, an abandoned property on the Young family’s farmland. John Fred says, “We grew up in the Kentucky Headhunters’ rehearsal space, looking up at posters of Cream, Led Zeppelin, Uriah Heep, the Stones, Montrose, and the Faces. We were like kids someone took in a time capsule and put in the woods.”

It’s a great time for Black Stone Cherry to return to the Lyric, “The Roots Music Palace of the Ozarks,” as they have recently moved to Mascot Label Group, home of some of the finest blues icons of this generation, such as Joe Bonamassa, Beth Hart, Walter Trout, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Eric Gales, Jonny Lang, Robben Ford, Bernie Marsden, Ronnie Baker Brooks, and Sonny Landreth. The move came with the release of their EP of blues covers, Black to Blues, which shows both the foundation and the progress of music through the past century. The band selected 6 of their favorite tunes by Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Freddie King, and Albert King, and reimagined them with the meaty moxie of classic BSC.

“It’s amazing to me how four good old boys from nowhere Kentucky can still be around 17 years later,” singer/guitarist Chris Robertson says. Guitarist Ben Wells concludes: “I don’t remember how life was outside of Black Stone Cherry. The four of us are family.” Every album, every concert, is a family reunion, and Black Stone Cherry is happy to have you join the family this October.

With the support of a great team of sponsors—including XXXXX, XXXXX, XXXXX, and XXXXX—the Ozark Arts Council is pleased to welcome Black Stone Cherry back to the historic Lyric Theater on Friday, February 15 at 7:00. Tickets will go on sale at 12:01AM on Saturday, December 22, for $25; just click any of the ‘Get Tickets’ links here on our website and you’ll be taken to our ticketing page.

OAC Ticketing Link

Sanctuary Benefit Concert — Saturday, October 13 at 3:00–8:00pm — #LiveAtTheLyric!

Benefit Concert for Sanctuary
featuring THREE great area bands:
The Hedley Lamar Band,
Earth Bone,
& White Fox Kill!
sponsored by
 Light Up Harrison, the OAC, and the Bands!
Saturday, October 13 3:00PM–8:00PM

 

White Fox Kill

Three bands that have consistently kept crowds coming back for more have banded together to support victims of domestic abuse by helping Sanctuary provide food and shelter. Sponsored by Light Up Harrison, which is committed not only to the lighting of the Square and streets of Harrison for the Christmas season, but to keep aglow the light of our area’s residents’ love for those in need, these excellent bands will perform to raise cash and food donations on Saturday, October 13, from 3:00–8:00.

The Ozark Arts Council is delighted to host The Hedley Lamar Band, Earth Bone, and White Fox Kill, who have graciously chosen to play for us at this fundraising event, through which

The Hedley Lamar Band

Sanctuary will be able to continue in its mission of providing for those escaping abuse and Light Up Harrison will continue to show the world that our area takes seriously our duty to recognize and enhance all that is good, noble, and beautiful. The OAC remains committed to the contention that great art most often comes from great passion—which is, literally, great suffering, whether from agony or from ecstasy—so that the Arts help us to heal and to thrive, to turn victimization to survival and survival to triumph.

 

Midnight Rider performed by Earth Bone

The doors of the Roots Music Palace of the Ozarks—Harrison, Arkansas’s historic Lyric Theater—will open at 2:00 for a performance stretching from 3:00 to 8:00  on Saturday, October 13. Adult beverages and general concessions will be available throughout this concert, and there will be short (5–10 minute) intermissions between bands, as well. Tickets are available in advance for $2.50 and two food items* or for $5; at the door, they will be $5 and two food items.

Thieves in the Dark performed by White Fox Kill

The Benefit Concert for Sanctuary, sponsored by Light Up Harrison, will begin at 3:00 on Saturday, October 13, and run from 3:00–8:00. The doors of Harrison’s historic Lyric Theater will open at 2:00 and adult beverages and general concessions will be available throughout the evening.  Tickets are available in advance online, at (870) 391-3504, or 9–4 weekdays at the OAC office (door to the left of the theater) for $2.50 and two food items or $5.00*; at the door, they will be $5 plus two food items.

*Please just bring the food items with you and don’t try to send them through our ticketing page; last time, someone tried to send a jar of strawberry preserves and it really gummed up our server.

LaGrange performed by The Hedley Lamar Band

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Multi-level Guitar Workshop with Laurence Juber — Saturday, September 22, 2018 at 2:00 — #LiveAtTheLyric!

Two-Time Grammy Winner Laurence Juber to Hold Guitar Workshop!
Saturday, September 22 at @:00PM

Guitarists, join us on September 22 at 2:00pm, for a special class from two-time Grammy winner, Laurence Juber!

Laurence JuberNowhere else in Arkansas can you get this opportunity to study under guitar virtuoso Laurence Juber. LJ will hold a two hour class in the afternoon before his 7:00pm concert at Harrison’s “Roots Music Palace of the Ozarks,” the historic 1929 Lyric Theater! The price for this class is $50—but, if you have a ticket to the concert at the Lyric on Saturday evening (or to Friday’s concert at Sunrise Guitars adjoining venue Sunrise Stage in Fayetteville), you only pay $40!

James White (local guitarist and vocalist and columnist for the Harrison Daily Times) writes, “Although some people refer to ‘Up Close with LJ’ as a master class, he thinks of it as a workshop. He says it’s multi-level and addresses a range of fundamental concepts, some advanced musical information and general guitaristic ‘tune-ups.’ There is a component he calls ‘guitarology,’ in which he explores differing finger style patterns that go back to the beginning of the instrument.

LJ has released 17 critically acclaimed solo albums which feature his celebrated arrangements of popular tunes and genre-crossing compositions. In Fall 2010, he released the highly anticipated LJ Plays the Beatles Vol. 2. He was voted “Guitarist of the Year” by the readers of Fingerstyle Guitar Magazine and named one of the top acoustic guitar players of all time by Acoustic Guitar Magazine—and he is on its cover again for the October, 2018 issue, as he releases his new album, which traces the roots of fingerstyle guitar. From classical to the Beatles and Hendrix, LJ is a master of it all, and is coming to share his insights with you!

To sign up for “Up Close with LJ,” simply go to our ticketing page! Enroll now, as space is limited!

OAC Ticketing Link

Battle of the Bands — Saturday August 4 at 7:00pm — #LiveAtTheLyric!

Summer 2018 Battle of the Bands
featuring FOUR local bands and a tribute to
 The Beatles!
Saturday, August 4 at 7:00PM

 

Sound Pilot

 Four great area bands, playing the songs that keep crowds all over Northwest and Central Arkansas and Southern Missouri coming back for more, plus what they’ll be judged on in this show: their covering of a Beatles tune, whether in the original setting or in their own style! Who will most compellingly make a Fab Four song their own and take this Summer’s bragging rights—and the cash prize?

The Ozark Arts Council is delighted to host these wonderful musicians who have graciously chosen to play for us at this fundraising event, through which we are hoping to begin our restoration of the Lyric Theater’s original balcony restrooms, which have been out of service since the 1970s. Thanks to some fantastic sponsors, the bands are competing for a cash prize, as well as area bragging rights, and we’re expecting a dynamite show!

The Hedley Lamar Band

The doors of the Roots Music Palace of the Ozarks—Harrison, Arkansas’s historic Lyric Theater—will open at 6:00 for a 7:00 performance on Saturday, August 4. Adult beverages and general concessions will be available throughout this concert, and there will be short (5–10 minute) intermissions between bands, as well. Tickets are available in advance for $10; at the door, they will be $15.

Midnight Rider performed by Earth Bone

 

As you can see from the videos posted here, our bands have very different styles, often showing blues and folk roots with an edge both in their covers and new compositions that shows a personal ‘backstory’ that can make even the same song relate in completely different ways.

Featured bands include The Hedley Lamar Band, LeadFoot 65, Sound Pilot, and Earth Bone, all of whom you’ve heard and loved for several years, and, thanks to our sponsors, you get to hear and love them again but all in one place. Many thanks to Milam Refrigeration, TLD Construction, GFI Inc., Anderson Electric & Plumbing, Quality Construction & Remodeling, Harrison Mini Storage, Elite Plumbing & Construction, The Arnold Team at Weichert Realtors, and Mitchell Electric for sponsoring the grand prize for our Battle!

The Outlaw performed by Leadfoot 65

 

The Summer 2018 Battle of the Bands will begin at 7:00 on Saturday, August 4. The doors of Harrison’s historic Lyric Theater will open at 6:00 and adult beverages and general concessions will be available throughout the evening. Tickets are available in advance online or at (870) 391-3504 for $10; at the door, they will be $15.

 

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Two-Time Grammy Winner Laurence Juber Returns! — Saturday, September 22, 2018 at 7:00 — #LiveAtTheLyric!

Two-Time Grammy Winner Laurence Juber Returns to The Lyric!
Saturday, September 22 at 7:00PM

Join us on September 22 at 7:00pm, for universally acknowledged master of the guitar, Laurence Juber!

Breaking News! LJ to teach multi-level guitar workshop #OnlyAtTheLyric! Follow this link to page for workshop info and signup!

Laurence JuberThis two-time Grammy-winner (once with Sir Paul McCartney’s “Wings” and once as a solo artist) thrilled the Lyric audience in 2015, and is returning to continue to dazzle us with his wit, which is as evident in his playing as his absolute mastery of his instrument—not only in its standard implementation, but through a variety of tunings that allow him to express far more than one normally associates with the playing of a single acoustic guitar.

As an award-winning fingerstyle acoustic guitarist also known for his electric work as lead guitarist in Wings, LJ has a large following among guitar fans and Beatles/classic rock fans. His shows feature his original compositions along with amazing covers of Beatles and classic rock songs like “Layla” and “Little Wingwhere he literally plays every melody of the song on just one guitar!

Seriously, How Good Is He?

Well, let’s put it this way…when C.F. Martin & Co. make a series of signature guitars named after you, you’re a bit beyond “pretty good.”

Pete Townsend of The Who simply exclaims, “A master!”

As a studio musician, LJ can be heard on recordings from artists as diverse as Dan Hicks & the Hot Licks to Seal to Barry Manilow, plus he is featured on the soundtracks to hundreds of TV shows such as Home Improvement and movies including the academy award-winning Dirty Dancing, Good Will Hunting, and Pocahontas.

You like video games? LJ co-composed the soundtrack of the award-winning video game Diablo III.

You watch the news? LJ crafted the score to the NBC Dateline documentary Children Of The Harvest. His music is also featured in the Ken Burns’ documentary The Tenth Inning.

In other words: You’ve Heard Him Even if You Haven’t Heard of Him!

LJ has released 17 critically acclaimed solo albums which feature his celebrated arrangements of popular tunes and genre-crossing compositions. In Fall 2010, he released the highly anticipated LJ Plays the Beatles Vol. 2. He was voted “Guitarist of the Year” by the readers of Fingerstyle Guitar Magazine and named one of the top acoustic guitar players of all time by Acoustic Guitar Magazine.

A dynamic, entertaining performer and an accomplished clinician, LJ brings his passion for the guitar to venues around the world, creating a multi-faceted performance that belies the use of only one instrument. In Spring 2013 Laurence Juber released Under an Indigo Sky on Solid Air Records with a special limited edition vinyl for Record Store Day, and has just released LJ Can’t Stop Playing the Beatles.

At the heart of LJ’s sound and style breathes a near-flawless technique where a fiercely emotional underbelly, alternate tunings, and keen sense of melody and rhythm coalesce into something uniquely his own……you don’t have to be a solo-happy guitar worshipper to appreciate his talents.
– Inland Empire Weekly

OAC Ticketing Link

White Fox Kill: Album Release Show! — Saturday June 23 at 7:30pm — #LiveAtTheLyric!

“Wild West Fairytale Rock Music”
It’s an Album Release Show
with White Fox Kill!
Saturday, June 23 at 7:30PM

“I wasn’t exactly sure what I was gonna be hearing when I walked into AJ’s for my first White Fox Kill show; (my wife calls me a music snob). They settled into their first song and I knew this was gonna be somethin’ special. Wow….They absolutely Killed it!!!!!…Ozarks Original…..Must See Band. Support your Local Music People, you’re lucky to have these guys in the area!!!!”

–  Brett McDaniel, Facebook review

The Ozark Arts Council is delighted to host the album release show for alternative rock band White Fox Kill. The doors of the Roots Music Palace of the Ozarks—Harrison, Arkansas’s historic Lyric Theater—will open at 6:30 for a 7:30 performance on Saturday, June 23. Adult beverages and general concessions will be available throughout this album release party. Tickets are available in advance for $10; at the door, they will be $15. 

From “the southern wild jungles of Arkansas” comes a new breed of Alternative Rock that has resonated with fans across a broad spectrum of genres: White Fox Kill is exactly the sort of band that those who know Americana and want more of a rock edge would expect to hear at the Lyric!

With influences that range from Johnny Cash to Eminem, from the psychedelic, proto-progressive rock sounds of Pink Floyd to the blue-collar rock of Bruce Springsteen and back to the blues underpinnings of rock giants Led Zeppelin, White Fox Kill has no problem weaving together both lyrical and musical images that are both pleasing and challenging. Considering that they are fans of some of the greatest roots music lyricists of the past century—Bob Dylan, Townes Van Zandt—and have an expressiveness akin to some of today’s top artists (from Kings of Leon to Lana Del Rey), their willingness to mix styles to get their point across is the very picture of being an Arkansawyer in the modern world: they build on the best of the past and extract the best from today, as well. The influences of Nirvana and The Pixies come through, as well, in the band’s willingness to mix hard and soft, all to present their ‘jungles of Arkansas’ take on their subject matter.

White Fox Kill has been honing their craft on the road and in the studio, releasing several songs (complete with on screen lyrics) via YouTube the past couple of years. Recently, they were able to complete their first album, with Scott Hoffmann in charge of production. He says that they went for a “raw, puckish” sound that lets the composition of the music shine forth as both simple and complex, allowing the hearer to fix on the lyrics that are, he says, “reminiscent of Lennon, Dylan, Cobain, and Townes [Van Zandt].”

White Fox Kill will perform at the Roots Music Palace of the Ozarks at 7:30 on Saturday, June 23. The doors will open at 6:30, and adult beverages and general concessions will be available throughout the show. Tickets are available in advance online or at (870) 391-3504 for $10; at the door, they will be $15. For more WFK videos, check out their YouTube channel;

 

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Southern Confession w/Harvey Stone! — Friday, July 20, 2018 at 7pm — #LiveAtTheLyric!

Boone County Original Southern Confession
and Special Guest
Harvey Stone!
Friday, July 20 at 7:00PM

 

Get ready for some killer Alternative Southern Rock with a Boone County Original: Southern Confession, comes home to Harrison, Arkansas’s historic Lyric Theater for a special performance with Branson’s favorite alternative rockers, Harvey Stone on Friday, July 20, 2018, at 7:000PMTickets are available in advance at a deeply discounted price, thanks to the desire of these great bands to give back to the communities that launched them!

Over the past five years, Southern Confession has played all over the mid-south region of the country and has become well known both for the breadth of styles that they cover (both with their own songs and those that have resonated with all of us for decades) and for the live show energy that draws you in and keeps you there throughout the evening.

Southern Confession preparing to open for Saliva in the Fall of 2017.

With the closing of some live performance venues in the Harrison area and a need to keep performing, Southern Confession has had to schedule shows farther away from home lately (and for the rest of the year), but wants to take the opportunities it can to give back to the community that has so embraced them throughout their history. For that reason, they have not only scheduled themselves to play for the free “May Days on the Square” during Harrison’s Crawdad Days festival, but drummer Jody Marshall actually undertook the coordination of all of the live music on the Square for that weekend! Along with that, though, the band wants to give everyone a great time in the middle of summer, bringing you into the cool environs of the historic Lyric…and that with their good friends from Branson, Harvey Stone, and all at a highly-discounted price…or two…!

Yes, there are two prices for tickets purchased in advance: the already-amazingly-low $7.50, and the even-more-amazingly-low $5.00, which is offerred to anyone who wants to see both Southern Confession on July 20 and Sail On: The Beach Boys Tribute on July 22! The band doesn’t want anyone to be left out because feeding the kids and paying the mortgage need to come before seeing them, but they also realize that to keep the Lyric open we have to pay bills, too…so they and we have cut things to the point of just barely covering expenses, so that our whole community can come together to celebrate the summer together at the Lyric. Thanks to the sponsors for Sail On, that means that you can come to both concerts for less than we would typically have to charge for one—and far less than Sail On tickets alone are costing in most venues!

 Southern Confession with special guest Harvey Stone,  Friday, July 20, 2018, at 7:000PM. Tickets are available in advance for $7.50 through our ticketing site (or just $5, if you buy Sail On tickets first!) or by calling (870) 391-3504 (please leave your name, number, and the number of tickets you need on our voicemail and we will call you back); at the door, tickets will be $10.

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Ray Bonneville — Tuesday, February 13, 2018 at 7pm — #LiveAtTheLyric!

“North Americana” — Quebec to Boston to NOLA to Harrison, Arkansas…
Ray Bonneville Returns to the Lyric!
Tuesday, February 13 at 7PM 

Photo by Rodney Burseil Photography, https://rodneybursielphotography.com/

“Ray Bonneville is THE one songwriter you need if you love to get lost in words. Words that create pictures like the best movies you’ve never seen. Stark. Honest. Stripped to the bone.”   –  John Hahn

The poetry, the raw honesty of heart and voice and instrument that is Ray Bonneville, is headed back to The Roots Music Palace of the Ozarks, Harrison, Arkansas’s historic Lyric Theater, on Tuesday, February 13 at 7:00PM Tickets are now available.

Red House recording artist Ray Bonneville is a blues poet of the demimonde whose acclaimed performance groove is the product of a unique, electric guitar style, unrivaled harmonica tone, smoky vocal and unwavering foot percussion. A native French Canadian, Ray is a celebrated songwriter and lives in Austin, Texas. He plays more than 150 shows a year in the US, Canada, and Europe. His performances are riveting and deep, yet full of humor and joy.

Ray has created and mastered a fusion of traditional American Roots and Blues music all his own and deeply influenced by his upbringing in French Canada and the years he spent writing and playing music in New Orleans. He is known as the master of the slow burn, the groove, and is one of the best harmonica players alive today.

Honing his songwriting craft for the last 35 years, “Bonneville’s raw, tell-it-like-it-is storytelling style has won him critical acclaim” (Jim Blum, “Ray Bonneville: True-to-Life Troubadour” NPR Music – Favorite Sessions, May 28, 2008). He has “shared the stage with blues heavyweights B.B. King, Muddy Waters, J.J. Cale, and Robert Cray, and has been nominated for three Juno awards (Canada’s version of the Grammys), winning the 2000 Best Blues Album for his third album Gust of Wind (1999). His fourth release Rough Luck was also nominated, as was his 2004 Red House debut Roll It Down. Since then, his star has been on the rise, with his award-winning release Goin’ By Feel, his folk-charting cover of Bob Dylan’s song “It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry” (featured on A Nod to Bob 2: An Artists Tribute to Bob Dylan on His 70th Birthday).

In 2009, Ray won the Folk Alliance International Song of the Year award for I Am the Big Easy, featuring post-Katrina New Orleans, and in 2012, he won the International Blues Challenge solo category in Memphis. Having released Easy Gone in 2014, Ray announced this past Summer that he would be releasing a new album in the near future, so he brings to the Lyric’s stage both his previous treasury of great songwriting and what is currently inspiring him to write and perform, so we are in for a great show in Harrison!

Ray is a hard driving, blues dipped, song and groove man who writes about people who live on the fringe of society with a vibe that is loose and soulful. With a greasy guitar style, horn-like harmonica, smoky vocals and pulsing foot percussion he rivets audiences. As John Hahn has said,

Ray Bonneville is the master of rainy nights, of black and white footage of bar lights going out as a man turns up his collar and heads home alone. He captures the outsider inside all of us.


Ray’s last appearance at the Lyric was in 2010, so it’s been a long, long wait for us, but the Ozark Arts Council is pleased and proud to present the hard-driving honesty of Ray Bonneville in a special Tuesday night performance at 7:00 on February 13. Tickets are now available.

“Ray Bonneville is like gunpowder and opium.”
–  Ray Wylie Hubbard

 

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An Evening with Albert Cummings — Friday, March 23, 2018 at 7pm — #LiveAtTheLyric!

Gritty Blues from and for the Working Man Albert Cummings Returns to the Lyric!
Friday, March 23 at 7PM 

The blues is best served up live, with an enthusiastic audience and a killin’ band, and that’s exactly what guitarist Albert Cummings does[…]. Cummings effortlessly shifts from chimney subdued stylings to raucous roadhouse raunch to soaring yet stinging lead lines, driving his audience to frenzy in all the right places.” – Guitar Edge Magazine

Blues-rock guitar in all its glory is headed back to the historic Lyric Theater, as Harrison, Arkansas enjoys “An Evening with Albert Cummings” on Friday, September 23 at 7:00 PM, for which tickets are now available.

Albert Cummings writes, plays and sings the blues like nobody else. He has played with blues legends B.B. King, Johnny Winter, and Buddy Guy.  Taken with Albert’s fire and passion bassist Tommy Shannon and drummer Chris Layton, of the band Double Trouble, the late Stevie Ray Vaughan’s rhythm section, volunteered to play on and produce his solo debut recording, 2003’s self-released From the Heart.

Albert Cummings
Albert Cummings, Live at the Lyric, 9/23/16 @ 7pm

From these blues greats to Merle Haggard to Led Zeppelin, Albert’s influences coalesce in lyrics that display a country/working man’s sensibility and the guitar virtuosity that rock fans love—a style that covers the best of hard-driving blues, slides comfortably over to intricate ballads, and comes charging right back again “with unbridled ferocity and deep soulfulness…his depth and expression are matched only by his terrifying technique and tone.”

The Massachusetts native learned the requisite three chords on the guitar from his father, but then switched to playing banjo at age 12 and became a fan of bluegrass music. In his late teens he encountered the early recordings of Stevie Ray Vaughan and was floored by the virtuosity. While in college in 1987 he saw Vaughan perform and he returned to the guitar with a new outlook and resolve.

The whiz-kid carpenter began his ascent to masterful blues rock guitarist at age 27, with his first public performance on guitar. Soon he was on the Northeast blues circuit with his band, Swamp Yankee. In 1998 he walked into a Northeast Blues Society open jam, which led to Cummings’ winning the right to compete in the Blues Foundation’s 1999 International Blues Challenge. The following year Albert released his debut recording, The Long Way. Bluesprint magazine said it was “a barrage of guitar pyrotechnics that calls to mind a grand mix of the styles of past masters like Albert King, Freddie King, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimmie Hendrix.”

Albert Cummings
Albert Cummings, Live at the Lyric, September 23, 2016, 7pm

That in turn opened up an opportunity for him to work with Double Trouble, the late Stevie Ray Vaughan’s rhythm section. So taken with Albert’s fire and passion were bassist Tommy Shannon and drummer Chris Layton that they volunteered to play on and produce his solo debut recording, 2003’s self-released From the Heart. Recorded in Austin, Texas, it featured Cummings fronting Double Trouble (including Reese Winans) in their first recording project since Stevie Ray’s passing. No less a giant of the blues than B.B. King dubbed Cummings “a great guitarist.”

Cummings’ soulful and explosive approach to blues and rock caught the attention of Blind Pig Records, which signed him to a multi-album deal. On his label debut, True to Yourself, released in 2004, Cummings was again joined by bassist Tommy Shannon. Recorded by producer extraordinaire Jim Gaines (Santana, Stevie Ray, Buddy Guy), the album rocks hard from start to finish. The all-original release showcased Albert’s rapidly developing songwriting chops and deeply emotional vocals as well as stunning guitar pyrotechnics, leading Guitar One to exclaim, “He attacks his axe with unbridled ferocity and deep soulfulness… his depth and expression are matched only by his terrifying technique and tone.”

 “a barrage of guitar pyrotechnics that calls to mind a grand mix of the styles of past masters like Albert King, Freddie King, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimmie Hendrix. – Bluesprint Magazine

Soon tours and shows with blues legends B.B. King, Johnny Winter, Buddy Guy and others brought Albert’s music to a much larger audience.

His second release, Working Man (2006), also produced by Jim Gaines, betrays a growing focus and maturity both in Albert’s stinging, incisive guitar work as well as in his fluently idiomatic songwriting. From the punchy, stomping cover of Merle Haggard’s blue collar standard “Working Man Blues” to the deeply emotive ballad “Last Dance” that closes the disc, Albert’s songs are always concise and direct, driven by his uniquely muscular yet polished guitar wizardry. Billboard said, “This recording is the calling card of a blues star who has arrived. Cummings’ guitar work is sizzling. This is one of the top blues albums of 2006.”

In 2008 Albert recorded his first live album, Feel So Good, in Pittsfield, Massachusetts at the historic Colonial Theatre, a 95-year-old “little jewel box” – that’s what James Taylor calls it – that’s hosted everyone from Will Rogers to Al Jolson. The audience was so enthralled and supportive they became part of the performance in a way that’s rarely heard. As AllMusic put it, “It sounds like it was one hell of a party that night.”

Albert Cummings
Albert Cummings, Live at the Lyric, 9/23/16 @ 7pm

Albert and his band responded with a blistering set of great originals and killer covers of Zeppelin, Little Feat and Muddy Waters tunes. With producer Jim Gaines again at the controls and Albert’s incredible display of guitar virtuosity and deep emotion, this is one live performance that is bound to become a blues rock classic.

Guitar Edge magazine said, “The blues is best served up live, with an enthusiastic audience and a killin’ band, and that’s exactly what guitarist Albert Cummings does on his new Feel So Good. Cummings effortlessly shifts from chimney subdued stylings to raucous roadhouse raunch to soaring yet stinging lead lines, driving his audience to frenzy in all the right places.”

Music Connection called it “one of the best live albums recorded in a long time” and Blurt added, “Cummings’ first live album provides the perfect showcase for the fiery guitarist’s axe-handling skills and enormous onstage charisma.”

In 2011 Albert released an instructional DVD for the Hal Leonard Corporation entitled Working Man Blues Guitar. Cummings’ next CD, No Regrets, was self-released in 2012. It was a return to his true musical roots for the six-string virtuoso, poignantly capturing the core of his influences, displaying the impact that R&B, Rock, Soul, Country and the Blues have had on both his playing and writing. It debuted at #1 on iTunes music charts in the USA, Canada and France.

“An Evening with Albert Cummings” is scheduled at the historic Lyric Theater on the Harrison, Arkansas square for Friday, March 23 at 7:00PM Tickets are now available.

 

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Americana Legend David Olney (with Daniel Seymour) — Friday, December 1, 2017 at 7pm — #LiveAtTheLyric!

Americana Legend David Olney
Friday, December 1 at 7:00PM 

Master craftsman, acclaimed singer/songwriter and globe-trotting performer David Olney has released more 30 solo albums over four decades, including six live recordings. His music has been prominently featured in ABC-TV’s Nashville

Photograph by John Partipilo

and his stellar songs have  been recorded by Johnny Cash, Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt, Del McCoury, Tim O’Brien, Townes Van Zandt, Steve Young, and Steve Earle, among many others. While you can (and should!) catch up with David on his weekly live, You Never Know streamcast—starring “Nashville’s Answer to the Bard” performing a song and sharing the story behind it—every Tuesday on DavidOlney.com and YouTube., you can catch him #LiveAtTheLyric, as he will be heading to “The Roots Palace of the Ozarks,” Harrison, Arkansas’s historic Lyric Theater on Friday, December 1, 2017, at 7:00, accompanied by while longtime bass player, Daniel Seymour.

“Olney is a talented musical enigma, and he is unquestionably a founding father of Americana music.”

Though a folksinger at heart, Olney incorporates wide-ranging inspirations from honky tonk to rock into his standard repertoire. Born in Rhode Island, David moved to Nashville during the early ’70s and became a major player in the city’s underground folk/country scene, recording a half-dozen albums before the end of the decade. His output during the ’80s slowed considerably, but in the ’90s he recorded with an impressive cast of roots-rock all-stars—Rick Danko, Garth Hudson, Sneaky Pete Kleinow, Rodney Crowell, John Prine, and Brian Ahern, among others. Beside his own albums, his discography on AllMusic.com features 288 credits…so far!

“Though he’s best known as a masterful wordsmith, Olney has a knack for creating the ideal atmosphere for his gothic noir tune.”

– Acoustic Guitar Magazine

Olney remained prolific throughout the coming decade, delivering several studio albums and, with his increasing popularity as a touring artist in Europe, three different live albums, all recorded at various locations in Holland. As previously mentioned, he began hosting a weekly interactive streamcast video series (originally called Hear & Now, but now titled, You Never Know) on which he performs a handful of songs and shares the stories behind them, as well as offering his observations on other things and recitations of classic poetry. Between his weekly videos and busy touring schedule, Olney found the time to release a studio album, When the Deal Goes Down, in 2014 and released another this year, Don’t Try to Fight It, so you can expect to hear music from a wide repertoire, including whatever fresh project he might be working on during this tour!

The late Townes Van Zandt was the best songwriter in the whole wide world, Steve Earle said in an oft-cited quote, “and I’ll stand on Bob Dylan’s coffee table in my cowboy boots and say that.” Seventeen years after Van Zandt’s death, the Americana artists who followed in his wake still speak of him the way rockers invoke John Lennon or Jimi Hendrix — as a standard bearer who represents a pinnacle of credibility and craft.

Had he been the coffee-table orating type, however, whose name would Van Zandt have declared?

“Anytime anyone asks me who my favorite music writers are, I say Mozart, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Bob Dylan, and Dave Olney,” Van Zandt wrote. “Dave Olney is one of the best songwriters I’ve ever heard — and that’s true. I mean that from my heart.”

– Skip Anderson, writing for The Nashville Scene in his article
David Olney is still a contender. Can you say the same?

We’ll excerpt some of the rest of Mr. Anderson’s article here because, as producer and music writer Tommy Goldsmith is quoted in it, “He’s not a household name, but, my God, look at what he’s done over the years. It’s a really impressive body of work.” Thus, Anderson writes, “Olney is a talented musical enigma, and he is unquestionably a founding father of Americana music. And yet, perhaps reflective of his career as an invisible giant, Wikipedia doesn’t even list him among the 135 artists it associates with the genre.”

If David Olney were less of a leader and more of a follower, he might have had an easier path commercially. But as with Van Zandt, the varied and hard-to-summarize gifts that make Olney a marketer’s challenge make him a hero to other songwriters and musicians.

“When I met him, he was a rocker, but he was also this sensitive songwriter,” says Billy Block, longtime host of the radio show, webcast and TV series The Billy Block Show and a session drummer. “He’s got more soul than everybody I can imagine. He embodies what Americana is.”

– Skip Anderson

Unquestionably a founding father of Americana music, David Olney will perform with bassist Daniel Seymour at downtown Harrison’s historic Lyric Theater, “The Roots Music Palace of the Ozarks,” on Friday, December 1, at 7:00. Tickets available now at our ticketing page or by calling (870) 319-3504.

 

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