February Shows

Davina & The Vagabonds

The Davina and The Vagabonds concert scheduled for February 5, 2016 has been postponed due to double booking for this date. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. It is beyond our control and we are working on a new date for as soon as possible in 2016.

Member: $13.50
Guests:   $16.50


Mike Compton and Joe Newberry
Friday, February 12, 2016
8 pm

Joe Newberry is a Missouri native and North Carolina transplant who has been playing music most of his life. Joe took up the guitar and banjo as a teenager and learned fiddle tunes from great Missouri fiddlers. He came to North Carolina as a young man and quickly became part of the state's thriving music scene. His powerful and innovative banjo playing, along with his guitar playing, fiddling and songwriting skills has delighted audiences around the world. Joe is a frequent guest on Garrison Keillor's A Prairie Home Companion.

Born in Meridian, Mississippi, Mike Compton has been playing the mandolin for over 40 years. Mike is infamous for his mandolin kickoff for the song "Man of Constant Sorrow" as a member of the Soggy Bottom Boys in the movie "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou".

Mike's career also includes time spent as a member of the John Hartford Band and the Nashville Bluegrass Band. Mike's brilliant playing is also on display with the Helen Highwater Band, The Jumpsteady Boys, in duet with David Grier and as a solo artist. There’s no better way to describe him than in the words of Mandolin Magazine--Mike Compton, is, simply put, “a certified mandolin icon.”

"Joe Newberry is one of my favorite songwriters and interpreters of the old songs. Mike Compton’s playing is part of my musical DNA. My earliest infatuation was with The Nashville Bluegrass Band and his mandolin rang out in my head as I tried to figure out how to make music with other pickers. When I learned two of my favorites had formed a duo I was very excited, but still not prepared for how good it would be. Mike Compton and Joe Newberry make music together. Lots of people play together, but few are able to make music. With only two voices and two instruments they can break your heart with one song and make you want to shout with joy on the next. Newly written songs sound ancient and their choice of covers seem somehow new." --Leigh Gibson, The Gibson Brothers.

Mandolin Magazine calls Mike Compton a player with “a worldwide reputation as one of the modern masters of bluegrass of the most recognizable and respected mandolin voices anywhere”.

Member: $15.00
Guests:   $20.00


John Nemeth
Saturday, February 13, 2016
8 pm

John Nemeth and his band come to Acoustic Stage and Hickory for their first performance here.

John Nemeth's love for the blues began in Boise, Idaho. It is the starting point for a journey that has taken him from his first gigs fronting a teenage band to five Blues Music Award nominations. In between, he gained his chops on harmonica playing seven nights a week on the Boise scene in clubs, taverns and parties for nearly a decade.

When his girlfriend moved to California, he knew he couldn't lose her so he packed up and moved west. and was soon signed to Blind Pig Records. In 2013 Nemeth moved to Memphis. "I moved to Memphis because it is the epicenter for soul and blues" Nemeth confirmed. His latest album is titled "Memphis Grease".

Nemeth's amalgamation of of scorching harmonica-driven blues and sweet soul is reminiscent of the late 60's era Muscle Shoals sound. John has been nominated for the Blues Music Award B.B. King Entertainer of The Year Award for 2016.

“It’s a real tribute to his talent that he’s not just imitating a genre, but that he’s re-creating it, complete with its original style and feeling, but re-creating it in his own image.”

Jim White, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, April 2010

“Classic soul and R&B styles have been revitalized in recent years by a cadre of young and relatively young artists such as James Hunter, Eli “Paperboy” Reed, and Sharon Jones. You can include John Németh on any list of the best of them.”

Nick Cristiano, Philadelphia Inquirer, Feb 2009

“Németh is not only the fastest rising star on the national blues scene, he may be the best white blues singer in the history of the genre.”

Lee Hildebrand, East Bay Express, Feb 2009

“You could swear he was freeze-dried in the 1960s, as the music has a driving, rock-’n'-soul punch that makes him seem spiritual kin to long-gone stompers Sam Cooke, Otis Redding and Jackie Wilson.”

Jonathan Takiff, Philadelphia Daily News, Feb 2009

Member: $12.50
Guests:   $15.00


March Shows

John Cowan Band
Friday & Saturday, March 11 & 12, 2016
8 pm

John Cowan returns with his band for 2 concerts in March.

An Acoustic Stage regular for many years, John's Acoustic Stage performances have always been spectacular!

The Voice of Newgrass has been singing his heart out for thirty-seven years now, and his soaring vocals have only improved with time. A true innovator, John applies his powerful pipes to genres from country, bluegrass, and gospel to soul, jazz, and rock-and-roll – often within the space of a single concert. His ability to move fluidly through multiple styles has set him apart as one of the most loved and admired vocal artists of his generation, not just by fans and critics but among fellow musicians as well.

With his distinctive, rock-tinged tenor vocal and heart-thumping electric bass, John, along with fellow New Grass Revival band mates Sam Bush, Courtney Johnson, and Curtis Burch, and later Bela Fleck and Pat Flynn, introduced a new generation of music fans to an explosive, experimental and ultimately, eponymous brand of bluegrass.

The John Cowan Band comes to life when John is not performing with the Doobie Brothers. The band features various incarnations of some of acoustic music's finest players. Many fine musicians have been in John's band over the years and stints in his band have helped launch the careers of Noam Pikelny (Punch Brothers), Luke Bulla (Lyle Lovett), Scott Vestal and others.

Member: $23.50/ea.
Guests:   $27.50/ea.


Selwyn Birchwood
Friday, March 18, 2016
8 pm

Returning to Hickory is Selwyn Birchwood, the 2015 winner of the 36th Annual Blues Music Award for "Best New Artist Debut!!" Selwyn has made quite an impact here along with his band after their Pavilion Stage appearance at Hickory's Oktoberfest 2015. This will be their second time at Acoustic Stage.

Birchwood is a guitar and lap-steel-playing bundle of pure energy. He plays high-octane blues -- at once deeply rooted, funky and up-to-the-minute -- with true passion and honest emotion.

With his band feeding off his drive and exuberance, the striking 6' 3" 29-year-old from Florida, with his trademark Afro roams the stage (often barefoot), ripping out memorable guitar licks with ease. With his warm, magnetic personality, his mission is to spread his music far and wide, to share his joy, to play his heart out, and to push the blues into the future. "There's nothing I'd rather be doing than playing the blues," he says. "And I try to convey that with every song and with every performance."

In 2013, Birchwood catapulted from local hero to shooting star. In addition to winning the world-renowned International Blues Challenge, Birchwood also took home the Albert King Guitarist Of The Year Award.

"Selwyn Birchwood is an indelibly modern and original next-generation bluesman; his tough vocals, guitar and lap steel touch on classic Chicago blues, Southern soul and boogie." --Washington Post

Member: $12.50
Guests:   $16.00


April Shows

David Lindley with Special Guest Marshall Ballew
Friday, April 8, 2016
8 pm

Acoustic Stage is proud to bring David Lindley and Marshall Ballew back to Hickory! This concert is a repeat Acoustic Stage performance from last year, combining these two musicians together.

Lindley, a multi-instrumentalist performs music that redefines the word "eclectic." Well known for his many years as the featured accompanist with Jackson Browne, and leader of his own band El Rayo-X, he has long championed the concept of world music. Lindley's electro-acoustic performance effortlessly combines American folk, blues, and bluegrass traditions with elements from African, Arabic, Asian, Celtic, Malagasy, and Turkish musical sources. Lindley incorporates an incredible array of stringed instruments including but not limited to Kona and Weissenborn Hawaiian lap steel guitar, Turkish saz and chumbus, Middle Eastern oud, and Irish bouzouki. The eye-poppingly clad "Mr. Dave's" uncanny vocal mimicry and demented sense of humor make his onstage banter a highlight of the show.

David Lindley grew up in southern California, first taking up the banjo as a teenager, and subsequently winning the annual Topanga canyon banjo and fiddle contest five times as he explored the American folk music tradition. In 1971, Mr. Dave joined forces with Jackson Browne, serving as Jackson's most significant musical co-conspirator until 1981. In 1979, Lindley had begun working with old friend Ry Cooder on 'Bop Till you Drop' and 'The Long Riders' sound track, a musical collaboration that lasts to this day, and has spawned many recording projects and several world tours as an acoustic duo.

In 1981, Lindley created his own remarkable Band El Rayo-X, which integrated American roots music and world beat with a heavy reggae influence. Throughout this long and distinguished career, Lindley has been one of Hollywood's most in demand session musicians, lending his skills to the recorded works of Bob Dylan, Rod Stewart, Linda Ronstadt, Crosby and Nash, Warren Zevon, and many others.

At his expansive and eclectic live performances David Lindley consistently gives one of the most unique concert experiences available to adventuresome music listeners.

Joining David for this show will be Marshall Ballew. Marshall, a native North Carolinian has performed at Acoustic Stage three times now, once with the WNCW All Stars (Marshall was a beloved WNCW host with a broad knowledge of of music), in 2000 with David Gans and again last year with Lindley. Marshall is also a talented multi-instrumentalist with various musical influences shaping his performances. Lindley and Ballew have only performed together a handful of times in the past!

Member: $18.00
Guests:   $22.50


May Shows

Tim O'Brien
Friday, May 13, 2016
8 pm

Tim O'Brien returns to Acoustic Stage on Friday, May 13th!

On the surface, Tim O’Brien’s career seems maddeningly eclectic. But over the years, he's become a subtle master at mixing the primary musical colors into his distinct sound. You hear the numerous influences in every note, yet each and every note is uniquely his own.

Born in Wheeling, West Virginia, Tim grew up singing in church and in school, and started playing folk and rock music at age 12. After seeing Doc Watson on TV, he became a life-long devotee of old time and bluegrass music. He started making his living as a musician at age 19 in Chicago and in Jackson, Wyoming eventually relocating to Boulder, Colorado in 1974. In the early Colorado years, he started playing the mandolin and studied guitar and music theory with local jazz great Dale Bruning.

In 1978, Tim co-founded the group Hot Rize with Nick Foster. Solo recordings began with 1982's Hard Year Blues. Tim's songs have been covered by Kathy Mattea, New Grass Revival, Nickel Creek, Garth Brooks, The Dixie Chicks and many others. Hot Rize went dormant in the spring of 1990, after which O'Brien released 14 solo recordings and collaborations with Dirk Powell (Songs From The Mountain) and Darrell Scott (Real Time). Tim toured and recorded with Steve Earle in the early 2000's and with Mark Knopfler in 2009 and 2010. He has recorded and performed with The Chieftans, Joan Baez and Bill Frissell. He contributed to the movie soundtrack of O Brother Where Art Thou as well as Cold Mountain.

More recently, between collaborations with Darrell Scott, the recent Grammy winning recording with Jerry Douglas’s Earls of Leicester and the rebooting of Hot Rize; he's barely had time for a shower. Still, somewhere in his vivid imagination, the seeds of his new album Pompadour began to sprout. The fruits of his recent wanderings, music making and worldly observations have blossomed into eleven varied, true-to-life and above all, musical tracks.

Tim has appeared at Acoustic Stage 7 times, dating back to 1996. Tim has also appeared at our current location when it was Ten Years After with his band Tim O'Brien and the O'Boys.

Member: $22.00
Guests:   $26.00