‘Gathering in the Gap’ music festival announces main stage lineup

Published 6:24 am Saturday, April 14, 2018

BIG STONE GAP, Va. — The 12th annual “Gathering in the Gap” Music Festival at the Southwest Virginia Museum Historical State Park offers a one-of-a-kind evening of performances by The Seldom Scene, Ellis Dyson & the Shambles, and If Birds Could Fly.

“Gathering in the Gap,” which will be held on May 26 on the park’s grounds, is a music festival celebrating the rich tradition of old-time, Americana and bluegrass music found in Southwest Virginia.

The music festival main stage lineup includes:

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The Seldom Scene

What does it take for a bluegrass band to remain popular for more than four decades? For The Seldom Scene, it’s taken not only talented musicians, a signature sound, and a solid repertoire, but also a sheer sense of fun. On April 22, the longtime pillars of the bluegrass world returned with the aptly titled ‘Long Time… Seldom Scene,’ via Smithsonian Folkways. The newly recorded collection features fresh interpretations of 16 oft-requested tunes and is the band’s first studio album since the Grammy-nominated album Scenechronized in 2007. It’s a family reunion in all the best ways, featuring the current — and longest-running — lineup, joined by founding members Tom Gray and John Starling and guests Chris Eldridge, Emmylou Harris and Rickie Simpkins. ‘Long Time’ is The Seldom Scene’s first-ever release with Smithsonian Folkways, and captures the identity and playfulness that have endeared the group to audiences around the world for so long. Over 40 years since they began playing together at weekly jam sessions in Ben Eldridge’s Bethesda, Maryland basement, The Seldom Scene have become one of the single greatest contributors to the progression of bluegrass while setting a new standard and attracting new audiences to the genre. The Seldom Scene have performed at the White House many times, and continue to tour year-round.

The Seldom Scene are Lou Reid (mandolin/vocals), Dudley Connell (guitar/vocals), Ronnie Simpkins (bass/vocals), Fred Travers (dobro/vocals) and Ron Stewart (banjo, fiddle). The last founding member, Ben Eldridge, retired in July 2016 at a lovely retrospective of his career staged at the band’s home club, The Birchmere, surrounded by family and friends.

Ellis Dyson & the Shambles

Ellis Dyson & the Shambles expertly blends old-time influences ranging from Piedmont murder ballads to traditional jazz. The result: Whiskey-soaked, foot-stompin’ songs that bring party music of departed eras to crowds both young and old. The Shambles have made waves with their theatrical and explosive live shows and masterful musicianship that electrifies every audience. Bursting with exuberance and effortless expertise, this playfully hootin’ and hollerin’ act is guaranteed to bring the ruckus.

Ellis Dyson & the Shambles consists of Ellis Dyson (banjo, vocals), Eli Wittmann (acoustic guitar), Jonathan Ng (fiddle), Adam Maloney (upright bass), Danny Abrams (soprano/alto/baritone saxophones, vocals) and Danny Grewen (trombone, vocals). Beginning as a saxophone and banjo duo, the band has grown into a freight train string band with a flashy horn section.

If Birds Could Fly

If Birds Could Fly is an Americana duo from the Appalachian mountains. Blending retro country, soul and rock-n-roll with an Appalachian accent to create a sound all of their own. This humble duo offers a refreshing take on Appalachian folk, classic Americana, and rock-n-roll. If Birds Could Fly is uniquely a bird of a different feather. This Southwest Virginia duo blends many genres to achieve their simplistic yet unmistakable sound. From Folk to Indie, there is something in their music that everyone can enjoy. From the soothing guitar melodies to vocal chills, this act promises to deliver a sound truly from their heart to those willing to listen.

In addition to the featured main stage performances, “Gathering in the Gap” will include an annual songwriting competition, workshops, musical competitions, music jams, a children’s area, and the “Stitch in Time” Quilt Show. Antiques, food and craft vendors will also be on hand.

For additional information and a full schedule of events, visit the festival website at www.gatheringinthegap.org “like” the festival page on Facebook or call the Museum at 276-523-1322.