Sunday, July 19, 2015

10 Free Concerts, Wing Fling, Ducky Dash and Other Special Events Start August 1

Venue for our Levitt AMP Middlesboro Music Series at 20th and Cumberland Ave. Credit: DDM. 

Middlesboro, Kentucky, is one of 10 cities in America and the only city in Kentucky to win the Levitt AMP [Your City] contest. They will play host to ten free concerts in a previously neglected public space that has been transformed through creative placemaking. The pop-up park and stage where concerts will be held is located just off of Fountain Square at 20th and Cumberland Avenue in historic downtown Middlesboro. 

In addition to the concerts on August 1 we'll have our first ever Wing Fling - a chicken wing cook off with cash prizes for the winners and a trophy for the fan favorite. An admission fee of $5 gets you in to the Wing Fling and a chance to taste the wings from each of the cooks. Additional wings cost you $1 for 2. The event is from noon-4pm with judging of wings at 4pm.

Following that at 6pm will be our popular Ducky Dash where we drop hundreds of rubber ducks in to our canal. If yours is first to cross over the line you have a chance to win $250. Entry to purchase a duck for the race is $5 and ducks can be bought in advance at area businesses or at the event.

Stick around afterwards for the beginning of the Levitt Amp Middlesboro Music Series. We'll have free concerts every Saturday for ten weeks starting at 7pm. Location will be on our pop-up park at 2007 Cumberland Ave, just off of Fountain Square. Bring a lawn chair or blanket and enjoy family friendly live music in the heart of our downtown.

Our stage built by volunteers over a three month period from May to July this year. Credit: DDM.

Concerts Downtown Every Saturday at 7pm
Levitt AMP Middlesboro Pop-up Park, 20th and Cumberland Ave

AUG 01

Levitt AMP Middlesboro Music Series: Jenna & Her Cool Friends

Fronted by renowned singer/songwriter Jenna Jefferson and graced by the onstage magnetism of harpist Michael “Crawdaddy” Crawley, this collection of prominent Knoxville, Tenn. musicians creates a new original sound in contemporary blues music while celebrating the rich musical legacy of the genre. Their 2014 album, I’m What You Get, is infused with the edge of southern rock, the gritty soul of Detroit, the foot stomping of the Delta and the spiritual vibe of the Deep South. 

The ensemble’s propelling, sophisticated—and sometimes rowdy—rhythm section includes lead guitarist Michael Jordan, acoustic guitarist Keith Ford, bassist Glyn Lloyd, keyboardist Ben Maney and drummer Kevin Redding. Since 2013, Jenna and Her Cool Friends have held the title of “Best Blues Band” in Cityview Magazine. The band was also voted “Best Blues Band” in Metro Pulse’s 2013 Best of Knoxville poll. Most recently, the band advanced to the semi-finals round of the 2015 International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tenn.

AUG 08

Levitt AMP Middlesboro Music Series: Jimmy Rose and the Jimmy Rose Band

Country singer/songwriter and Pineville, Ky. native Jimmy Rose launched his music career on season eight of the televised talent competition, America’s Got Talent (AGT), where he finished in third place. Throughout the competition, his music and dedication won the hearts of audiences across the country. Prior to his television debut, Rose had been a coal mine worker and a member of the Marine Corps, serving in both Japan and Iraq. His signature hit, “Coal Keeps the Lights On” has become an anthem for Kentucky coal miners, whose industry has been besieged by massive layoffs in recent years.

After rising to fame on AGT, Rose participated in the 2013 America's Got Talent Live Tour with other finalists. Since then, he has performed in renowned local venues in his home Tri-State area, as well as major national venues such as the St. George Theater in New York and the Greek Theater in Los Angeles. In 2014 alone, he gave over 60 performances in Tri-State area.

AUG 15

Levitt AMP Middlesboro Music Series: MACH22

With its killer riffs, bluesy rhythms and soulful delivery, MACH22 is an electrifying band that melds together both modern and classic rock 'n' roll. The Philadelphia band’s ‘80s American hard rock look with a splash of glam attests to their sound, which carries hints of Guns N’ Roses, Lenny Kravitz, AC/DC and Aerosmith. Because each member is a seasoned performer, the band not only exudes energy and charisma but also exemplifies musicianship onstage. 

MACH22 has opened for artists such as Steel Panther, Tom Keifer and Jeff LaBar. Slash hand selected the band to perform with him as the grand prizewinners of Guitar Center’s Onstage with Slash contest. In 2014, MACH22 rocked an audience of 75,000 at Jay-Z’s Made in America Festival and at Rocklahoma.

AUG 22

Levitt AMP Middlesboro Music Series: Jeni Carr

Country singer/songwriter Jeni Carr seeks to warm the hearts of people everywhere with her candid lyrics and her sultry, soulful voice. Carr began writing and recording her own music in 1992 when she moved from her hometown of Fairdale, Ky. to Nashville, Tenn. Since then, her twenty years of performance experience in venues large and small have bolstered her reputation as a seasoned musician. In addition to opening for artists such as Faith Hill, Tim McGraw, Rodney Atkins and Reba McIntire and the Great Women of Country, Carr regularly lends her voice to organizations such as Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield and WHAS Crusade for Children.

In 2012, Carr released her original and versatile music on her first solo album entitled Jeni Carr, which debuted at #75 on MusicRow’s “Hot New Country” charts. Inspired by her own experiences as a performer, her song "Famous By Now" was chosen as a finalist in the Undiscovered Songwriters division of Country Music Television’s Music City Madness competition in 2009. The second release from her album, Grace, reached the Top 20 on the National Inspirational Country Charts. The online music platform Sonicbids placed Carr on their April/May 2012 “Artists To Watch” list. 

AUG 29

Levitt AMP Middlesboro Music Series: Lauren Shera

Lauren Shera’s voice is unique in its spare but heartfelt style of classic folk and its soft rock sound, reminiscent of music that emanated from Laurel Canyon, Los Angeles in the ‘70s. While she was born in New York, her upbringing in California deeply inspired her music. Shera hails from a musical family that always encouraged her to pursue musical aspirations. She has been performing and songwriting from the time she was old enough to pick up a guitar. Her experience living in the Golden State—from the people she had met to the state’s coasts and mountains—can be heard on her latest album Gold and Rust.

Despite her youth, Lauren Shera has made a name for herself on the folk scene. Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh said of Lauren, “Her voice is going to define the next generation of folk.” Shera’s performances at open mics, folk clubs, and coffee shops in Northern California in her early teens caught the attention of San Francisco’s public TV station KQED. At the age of 18, she was invited to perform at a tribute to Bob Dylan at New York’s Avery Fisher Hall alongside luminaries Patti Smith, Roseanne Cash, Ryan Adams and Ramblin’ Jack Elliott. In 2011, Shera toured nationally with Communion, a UK-based artist collective founded by Mumford & Sons’ Ben Lovett, on their inaugural U.S. tour. Today, Shera lives in Nashville, Tenn. and continues to tour extensively.

SEP 05

Levitt AMP Middlesboro Music Series: Whiskey Shivers

Chopping away at traditional bluegrass constraints with its mischievous cleaver, mixing in shadows of Delta swamps and New Orleans basements, Whiskey Shivers calls itself a “trashgrass band.” The band adds hints of country and old time and a layer of sheer grit on top of hard-driving bluegrass rhythms. Born in Austin, Texas from a Craigslist ad, Whiskey Shivers is comprised of musicians from all around the country—Bobby Fitzgerald, Andrew VanVorhees, Joe Deuce, Jeff Hortillosa and James Bookert. The group seeks to revive the joy of a community barn dance with their lively audience engagement and an anything-goes philosophy.

Encouraging musical honesty as a means to connect crowds of individuals together, Whiskey Shivers fills their rich, layered music with heavy themes of universal struggle – work, pain, sin, regret and death. This is present in their latest self-titled album released in 2014. Their sound caught the attention of concert tour industry publication Pollstar, which produced a three-part documentary series on the band. Whiskey Shivers won Best Country/Bluegrass at the 2012 Austin Music Awards and was voted on to the Austin Chronicle Critics “Best New Local Act” list in 2012. 

SEP 12

Levitt AMP Middlesboro Music Series: Appalatin

The name Appalatin reflects the unexpected meeting of Kentucky-raised musicians and Latin émigrés from Ecuador, Nicaragua, and Guatemala in Louisville, Ky. Appalatin’s foot-stomping, hip-swinging sounds organically unite Appalachian folk with high-energy Latin music. The band uses acoustic instrumentation that features classical and steel string guitars, traditional Native wood flutes and pan flutes, harmonica, mandolin, charango, bass and a myriad of percussion. Their latest album, Waterside, shifts between languages, styles and vibes and features original music and interpretations of traditional songs from their native regions. One track from the album, “Alpa Mayo,” appeared on Public Radio International’s show The World.

Since their beginnings at a local coffee shop’s weekly show in 2006, Appalatin has performed at some of the most prestigious stages and venues of their area. In 2013, the band had the honor of performing for over 10,000 people at the Dalai Lama’s public talk at Louisville’s Yum! Center. The group has performed at the RiverRoots Music & Folk Arts Festival, Worldfest and Culturefest and on radio shows such as Michael Johnathon’s Woodsongs Old-Time Radio Hour and 91.9 FM WFPK’s “Live Lunch.” Appalatin has shared the stage with artists including Sam Bush, The Black Lillies and Ben Sollee. 

SEP 19

Levitt AMP Middlesboro Music Series: Annandale

Annandale is a hard rock/alternative band founded by Ashley and Chad Grennor in 2012. Their intertwining voices give audiences a listening experience filled with comfortable tension, marking their sound with harmonies that remain chilling without sacrificing vocal strength. Complementing their signature melodies, Annandale’s blazing guitar lines and steady, upbeat percussion band frame today’s mainstream rock elements. The group has completed its lineup with the addition of lead guitarist Zack Burnette, bassist Jody Jordan and drummer Dave Rush.

The band was initially the Grennors’ project of rebirth, musical refuge and self-discovery. Taking its name from an institution for rehabilitation, the band was initially the Grennors’ final attempt at music and their own means of nursing their wounds from the collapse of their previous attempts. Having released their debut EP Moving Forward with the production help of Clint Lowery of Sevendust fame, the couple sought to sell their album and nothing else. However, after witnessing the clamor to see their music performed live, the Grennors changed their focus entirely. Annandale now concentrates much of its efforts towards live shows and aims to implement a guerilla, DIY business approach to name building uncommon to bands of their genre. The band’s music video for the song “This Fight” from their debut EP was included in 2013 Competitive Video Music Awards’ Official Music Selection.

SEP 26

Levitt AMP Middlesboro Music Series: Erica Blinn

Erica Blinn constructs American rock songs one earnest melody at a time. She weaves honest and heartfelt lyrics into her raw Midwestern melodies. Fusing together the soulfulness of blues and playfulnesses of pop music, Blinn creates a blue collar sound that resonates with all types of listeners.

Blinn's most recent album, Lovers in the Dust (2014), features second-time collaborators producer/engineer Mike Landolt (Maroon 5, Blues Traveler, OAR) and guitarist Andy Harrison, as well as some exciting "firsts." On this record, Erica is joined by her backing band The Handsome Machine and guests Devon Allman and Aaron Lee Tasjan. “I like to think of this album as having a little something for everybody,” says Blinn.Listeners are treated to a well-balanced mix of rock, blues and pop with a strong Midwestern twist.

Over the last year, Blinn and her band have toured the nation, logging over 30,000 miles in their van. Blinn has also shared stages with names like Blues Traveler, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Family Stone, Royal Southern Brotherhood, Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers and Devon Allman. 2015 finds Blinn and company writing new songs for an upcoming record and continuously playing shows from coast to coast. 

OCT 03

Levitt AMP Middlesboro Music Series: Dale Ann Bradley

Raised in the coal fields of Appalachia, Dale Ann Bradley began her musical journey as a member of Backporch Grass, a bluegrass group whose other members included her high school band director, Mearl Risner, and his late wife, Alpha. After playing regular regional gigs and recording several 45 singles, the band got into the finals of Marlboro Country Music Round Up held in Lexington, Ky., where Bradley met an all-female bluegrass band, The New Coon Creek Girls, that would play a big part in her career.

After marrying, moving to Jacksonville, Fla., and giving birth to her son, Bradley returned to Kentucky, where she landed a regular gig performing at Kentucky's famous Renfro Valley Entertainment Center. While at Renfro Valley, she recorded two solo albums and for the Sunday Morning Gatherin', the second oldest radio show in America next to The Grand Ole Opry. She also joined The New Coon Creek Girls, performing with them until 1997 and recording four albums on Pinecastle Records with the band. After leaving the group, she has recorded multiple acclaimed albums, including two projects co-produced by Tim Austin and Dan Tyminski, Cumberland River Dreams and Send the Angels Down, on Doobie Shea Records, and Catch Tomorrow and Don't Turn Your Back on Alison Brown's Compass Records.

Bradley took home her first International Bluegrass Music Association (IMBA) Female Vocalist of the Year Award in 2007. She also was awarded this honor at the Grand Ole Opry House and in 2008-2009 from The Ryman Auditorium. In 2011-2012, the IBMA bestowed the Female Vocalist of the Year to her for the fifth time.

Before and After Photo of where the Levitt Concerts will be held. Credit: DDM (above), Cris Ritchie (below).

Other events happening in downtown Middlesboro include the Freedom Fest on August 8 with live music and food. The Cumberland Mountain Fall Festival will be on Friday and Saturday October 2 and 3. This will feature artisans, crafters, music, food, and plenty of family friendly entertainment.

Discover Downtown Middlesboro has been awarded an Arts Access Assistance Grant through a program of the Kentucky Arts Council, the state arts agency, which is supported by state tax dollars and federal funding from the National Endowment for the Arts. The Levitt AMP [Your City] Music Series is supported in part by Levitt Pavilions, the national nonprofit behind the largest free outdoor concert series in America. Dedicated to strengthening the social fabric of our communities, Levitt partners with cities to transform neglected public spaces into thriving destinations through the power of free, live music. In 2015, free Levitt concerts will take place in 16 cities across 14 states, all featuring a rich array of music genres and high caliber talent. In addition to Levitt AMP, Levitt forms the only national network of nonprofit outdoor music venues, each presenting 50+ free concerts every year. Learn more about our locations and impact:

For questions please visit or call (606) 248-6155. We are also on Facebook and Twitter @DDMBoro.

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