In the state that the king of bluegrass, Earl Scruggs, called home, it’s only fitting that big name acts will soon grace the stage of the Historic Earle Theatre in downtown Mount Airy. The Blue Ridge & Beyond Series is a celebration of Surry County’s musical heritage with a lineup that consists of artists who have won major awards across the musical spectrum. If you are looking to two-step or for the perfect fiddle riff to tap your foot to, you can experience some of the nation’s finest bluegrass in an intimate setting.”To attract this caliber of talent to Surry County is incredible.These groups often play in coliseums and very large venues. Seeing them in a small venue like the Earle is a unique experience.” said Tanya Jones of the Surry Arts Council.The festival kicks off Nov. 19th with the O’Connor Band featuring legendary fiddler Mark O’Connor, a two-time Grammy Award winner and six-time recipient of the Country Music Association’s Musician of the Year. The O’Connor Band’s album Coming Home was Billboard’s #1 Bluegrass Album.Del McCoury, who played in Mount Airy many years ago, will return Dec. 17th with his two sons, Ronnie and Rob McCoury and other members of the two-time Grammy-winning act, The Del McCoury Band. For 50 years, McCoury has attracted both diehard bluegrass fans and those vaguely familiar with the genre. A true legend, McCoury recently received the National Heritage Fellowship Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Endowment for the Arts.One unique aspect of the Blue Ridge & Beyond Series is at the Earle Theatre, performers walk through the audience to get on the stage. In today’s world of sold out coliseum shows, both the artist and the audience are treated to an extra special performance one in which you are not only hearing the music, but you feel as though you are a part of the show.The series will last until Dec. 17, 2017 ending with Balsam Range, who earned Vocal Group of the Year and Song of the Year at the 2015 International Bluegrass Music Awards. Other acts include Shadowgrass (Jan. 21), Jerry Douglas Presents Earls of Leicester (Feb. 17), Grammy-winning acoustic guitarist Bryan Sutton and the Bryan Sutton Band (March 14th), Lonesome River Band (March 31), Carson Peters and Iron Mountain (May 20), The Seldom Scene (June 23), Will Jones Band (Aug 19th), and The Bellamy Brothers (Sept. 22).Jessica Roberts, the tourism director in Mount Airy, says the series brings visitors from across America, “Music fans who are ‘in the know’ are amazed at this lineup of talent.”Tickets and more information can be found at: www.SurryArts.org.
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