October Shows

Wyatt Rice and Rickie Simpkins
Friday, October 16, 2015
8 pm

Wyatt Rice and Rickie Simpkins have been playing music together for nearly 30 years! This special concert combines Rice's stellar flat-picking with Simpkins' phenomenal fiddle playing.

Best known for the syncopated lyricism of his fiddle playing, Rickie Simpkins has been on the the go musically since his childhood days, building a catalog of recordings and appearances that testifies both to his creative flexibility as well as to his enduring roots in the classic bluegrass of his native Virginia. He has appeared on recordings in a variety of musical genres including Nils Lofgren, Ralph Stanley, Mary Chapin Carpenter, John Starling, Tony Rice, Chris Hillman, Herb Pedersen, Eddie from Ohio, The Issacs, Mike Auldridge and others.

Rickie has won many awards including SPBGMA's – “Fiddle Player of the Year”, IBMA's – “Instrumental Group of the Year”, 1991 & 1995 and Bluegrass Now's – “Fan's Choice Awards, Fiddle Player of the Year” in 1998. Rickie was inducted into the Virginia Folk Music Hall of Fame in 2008. Since 2007, Rickie has toured extensively with Emmylou Harris and Her Red Dirt Boys.

Fans of acoustic guitar music and Acoustic Stage should be well acquainted with Wyatt Rice. Wyatt and brother Larry performed at the very first Acoustic Stage show on December 12, 1992! Wyatt (as well as Rickie) has also appeared at Acoustic Stage as a member of the Tony Rice Unit many times. He began his career as an original member of the Unit where he played primarily rhythm guitar, although he had many opportunities for soloing as well. Wyatt has been featured on many recordings and videos, and has played countless gigs with the Tony Rice Unit. He played lead and rhythm guitar with his own band Wyatt Rice and Santa Cruz and with the Ronnie Bowman Committee.

Today, Wyatt works with a varied palette that includes teaching, recording, producing and performing.

Member: $  12.50
Guests:   $16.00


Andrea Zonn
Saturday, October 17, 2015
8 pm

Andrea Zonn and her band will appear at Acoustic Stage for the first time in support of her forthcoming, superstar packed album on the 2015 fall "Rise" Tour.

Andrea Zonn is one of the most respected fiddle players and harmony vocalists in contemporary music. Raised in Urbana, IL, Zonn became both a champion bluegrass fiddler and an accomplished classical violinist. Nashville based since her years as a violin major at Vanderbilt University, she’s performed on stages all over the world with icons including James Taylor, Vince Gill, Lyle Lovett, Darrell Scott and John Cowan. As a recording artist and songwriter, her own albums have been admired widely for their beauty, taste and impeccable musicianship.

While making other musician's music sound great, Zonn has been quietly developing her own music: an indescribable intermingling of bluegrass, country, and contemporary folk influences. Andrea is at home in any number of musical settings. For this skill, Zonn credits her total musical immersion as a child. "My father, Paul Martin Zonn, was chair of the Music Theory and Composition Department of the University of Illinois. He was a versatile fiddle player and also a great clarinetist and jazz pianist. My mother is a world-class oboist and pianist, and my younger brother Brian is a great bass player. Needless to say, our house was always filled with music."

Andrea added classical violin to the household soundscape by age 5, and soon embraced bluegrass and country fiddle styles. "I started fiddling at age 10," she says, "when I was frustrated with the violin repertoire I was technically limited to." She began competing in fiddle contests, meeting and playing alongside the new generation of bluegrass musicians now shaping the music. "Alison Krauss and I met at our first fiddle contest, which was at the Champaign County Fair. She was 8 and I was 10. We became friends and started listening to all the same records, going to the contest and festival circuit, and looking at - I mean- listening to all the young boy fiddlers."

Filtered through Zonn’s natural abilities, the combination of classical training and bluegrass inclinations produced a unique style: elegant and restrained, but able to still let loose with wailing double stops and propulsive rhythms. "Certainly my classical training aided my bluegrass and country fiddle playing from a technical standpoint," she observes. "However, it was of no help when it was time to improvise .But in turn, the improvisational development that I learned from bluegrass helped me to bring a fresh approach to the classical literature. At this point in my playing, I think the two disciplines are knit pretty tightly together."

Member: $  15.00
Guests:   $20.00


Rev. Billy C. Wirtz
Saturday, October 24, 2015
8 pm

Rev. Billy C. Wirtz returns to Hickory! The Rev. Wirtz wraps his humorous stories and songs into carefully orchestrated sets that feature his stellar piano playing. If you attended any of Rev. Wirtz's previous Acoustic Stage performances, you may still be laughing at his stories and songs.

But don't let his brilliant comedy overshadow his masterful keyboard talent. By no means a straight-ahead blues player, much of his material is based in blues and classic R&B. His sharp social commentaries, sprinkled with humorous observations about life always make for a unique and entertaining, not to-be-missed show.

Member: $  10.00
Guests:   $12.50


November Shows

Adrian Legg
Saturday, November 7, 2015
8 pm

Fingerstyle guitarist Adrian Legg will make his first appearance at Acoustic Stage.

Early in his career, following a stint in an Irish show band based in Dublin, Legg moved back to London and continued to gig in bands that played clubs and pubs and toured around and outside Britain. When one bandleader asked him to play acoustic guitar chords up against a microphone, he became fascinated with the notion of blending the tonality of an acoustic with the amplified power of the electric guitar.

Thus began an electro-acoustic quest that continues today to find the holy guitar grail that melds tone, technique and technology to allow him to create, perform and record the music his imagination envisions, eventually incorporating synthesizers and computerized MIDI programming to augment and enrich his one-man musicality. “I wanted something that had the harmonic content roughly like an acoustic, and that had the flexibility in terms of stringing and volume levels, whatever you wanted to do, of an electric,” he explains.

Starting to gig as a solo artist in the mid 1970s, Legg won a Guitar magazine solo acoustic competition in both the composition and performance categories. In the 1990's Legg found even greater success in the U.S. as a regularly touring solo act, headlining and sharing bills with fellow guitarists Richard Thompson, David Lindley and others.

Throughout his career, he has earned the highest praise from the media. "Legg is, above all, a guitarist of great power, invention and versatility,” observes the St. Petersburg Times. “Through fast-fingered picking, spontaneously layering parts and occasional ringing harmonics, he sounds like an orchestra.” Guitar Player heralds how he “combines a sublime melodic sense with a mighty right-hand groove, creating pretty music with rhythmically aggressive undercurrents,” while Acoustic Guitar notes that “the guitar is the most versatile instrument in the world, and nobody demonstrates this better than Adrian Legg.”

For Legg, the essence of his creativity is in live performance. “Playing live is the whole point,” he stresses. “Everyone makes a journey, an effort; we all come together — me, the audience, the people who run the venue — to share this wonderful, universal, human emotional interaction. This is where music lives."

Member: $12.00
Guests:   $16.00


December Shows

David Via and Mason Via
Saturday, December 5, 2015
8 pm

This marks the first appearance at Acoustic Stage of this father-son pairing. Hot picking and great songwriting are in their blood!

Hailing from Patrick County, Virginia, David Via always puts forth an impassioned performance. Via's top notch mandolin and guitar playing on his songs like "Hard Times", "Ain't That The Blues" and "It All Comes Down To A Song" are what makes it so special to him see perform live. His songs come from being raised and living in the Blue Ridge mountains of Virginia. David is the winner of the 2009 International/American Folk Alliance Songwriters Contest, held at Mountain Stage and the 3-time Chris Austin Songwriting Contest winner at Merlefest.

Mason Via is a talented young musician/singer/songwriter from Danbury, NC. He has just released his debut CD, "UP, UP, UP" which contains only his original songs. Mason has been playing acoustic guitar since the age of 12, taught by David. Mason's playing and vocals back up the deep emotion his lyrics possess. His music has its own unique sound that is hard to categorize. He has been labeled a folk troubador! Mason won the fall Shakori Hills mandolin competition and also placed in Male Vocal at Union Grove Fiddlers Convention '15.

Member: $10.00
Guests:   $13.50


Coming soon: From Calcutta, India Sandip Burman on Sitar and Tabla