John Jorgensen is no stranger to our concert series. We have presented his gypsy jazz quartet on two very memorable occasions over the past 20 years. Fresh off his gig as lead guitarist for Sir Elton John’s Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour he will be back in Fort Smith making world class music just for us!
John Jorgenson Bluegrass Band features four legendary musicians: John Jorgenson on guitar, mandolin, and vocals; Herb Pedersen on banjo, guitar and vocals, Jon Randall on guitar and vocals; and Mark Fain on bass. Impeccable musicianship, incomparable songwriting, and seasoned showmanship. Part bluegrass and part 70’s singer-songwriter vocal harmonies, the diverse material performed by these four legendary musicians is a spot-on union. Traditional bluegrass standards fit seamlessly next to contemporary songs like the Pedersen-penned classic “Wait a Minute” and Randall’s CMA Song of the ear, “Whiskey Lullaby.”
As we kick off our 20th consecutive season of great concerts, 4-time Grammy nominated, Trout Fishing in America is celebrating their 40th year as a duo! We have featured them many times over the years and they never fail to delight! Keith and Ezra are part of Fort Smith history. Their music defies genre, providing the audience their signature mixture of rock and roll, blues, funk, jazzy swing, bluegrass and even a polka. Trout knows how to move an audience, taking them on a journey through old favorites and newer releases all backed by a level of musicianship and showmanship that indicate these guys are still at the top of their game. “Trout Fishing in America, Live at The Epic Theater” is the 26th Trout album released on their Trout Records label.
In our yearly tradition of bringing at least one of the world’s best guitarists to town, we are proud to present British guitar legend Adrian Legg! Globally acclaimed by critics and fans alike for his unique acoustic and electric ﬁngerstyle guitar playing, Adrian Legg masterfully blends diverse musical styles, inﬂuences and inspirations to create a distinctive sound all his own. With multiple awards and accolades spanning four decades, Legg has been heralded as a “guitarist of astonishing virtuosity, (whose) imagination and melodic invention seem unbounded,” (Q magazine); “ridiculously talented,” (Music Week) and “simply the best acoustic guitar player I’ve ever heard.”(Guitar icon Joe Satriani). Setting the stage for his international success in the decades to follow, Legg was named as Acoustic Guitarist of the Decade by the UK’s Guitarist Magazine(1984-94), and Best Acoustic Finger stylist in Guitar Player Magazine’s Readers’ Poll for four years in a row. (1993-96). And Adrian is a masterful storyteller and entertainer.
Another past favorite, Terri Hendrix is a pioneering independent Texas songwriter and an accomplished multi-instrumentalist (guitar, mandolin, and harmonica) having recently been recognized by “Acoustic Guitar” Magazine as one of Texas’ 20 essential contemporary singer-songwriters. She has averaged nearly an album a year going all the way back to her 1996 debut. Throughout her career, she has woven folk, pop, country, blues and swinging jazz into an eclectic style all her own — a playful mix that makes for a highly energetic and spiritually uplifting live show in any setting, from intimate listening rooms and theaters to outdoor festivals. Along the way, she’s also co-written a Grammy-winning instrumental (the Dixie Chicks’ “Lil’ Jack Slade”), and garnered numerous other honors and awards.
Joining Terri will be Lloyd Maines, the father of Dixie Chick Natalie Maines, who has established himself as a country music giant, both as a legendary steel guitarist and producer. Maines’ pedal steel work pops up everywhere, from work by earlier non-mainstream artists including Guy Clark, David Byrne, Dixie Chicks, and Radney Foster.
A standout alumni from last season, Jason Ricci is by far one of the most innovative and studied harmonica players on the planet. As unique and original as they come! John Popper (Blues Traveler) speaks of Jason in his autobiography as being that ‘other harmonica player’. He is definitely a force to reckon with! This time around he is bringing his own band, The Bad Kind.
Nick named “Moon Cat” ,Jason has been an almost constant force for decades in the studio, festivals, club dates and press. This will surely be a “don’t-miss-it-this-time” event!
Alternative country artist Boo Ray’s dramatic southern sound will draw you in, his voice will have you hanging on every lyric and his songs will stick with you like a good friend does. Boo Ray is a southern troubadour who has forged & honed his sound in South Georgia honky-tonks, Gulf Coast jukes, Nashville nightclubs & Los Angeles. Rolling Stone Magazine says “Country- funk songwriter Boo Ray’s song 20 Questions from his new album Tennessee Alabama Fireworks mixes Muscle Shoals R&B with East Nashville swagger and is a must hear!”
We are very excited to once again have Chris Smither perform in our music series. According to the Associated Press, “Smither is an American original – a product of the musical melting pot and one of the absolute best singer-songwriters in the world.”
Chris Smither grew up in New Orleans where he first started playing music as a child. He was taught the rudiments of instrumentation by his uncle on his mother’s ukulele. “My Uncle Howard,” Smither says, “showed me that if you knew three chords, you could play a lot of the songs you heard on the radio. And if you knew four chords, you could pretty much rule the world.” With that bit of knowledge under his belt, he was hooked. “I’ve always loved acoustic music – specifically the blues.”
Smither’s impressive musical career, spanning almost 50 years, includes eighteen albums, seven books, several film projects, and his songs have been covered by Diana Krall, Bonnie Raitt, Emmylou Harris, Esther Phillips, John Mayall and Rosalie Sorrels. He’s shared the stage with countless renowned musicians and we are thrilled to have him once again on ours.