The June 1 taping of Song of the Mountains at the Lincoln Theatre in downtown Marion will highlight the music of John Scott Sherrill, Michael Reno Harrell, Kristi Stanley and Running Blind, and Presley Barker.
Song of the Mountains is the official television series of Virginia and airs across the United States on approximately 190 PBS outlets. The concert series is in its 15th year of tapings at the 90-year-old historic theatre. The theatre has hosted a long list of famous entertainers over the decades, including the Carter Family, the Stanley Brothers, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry and Mac Wiseman. Song of the Mountains has continued to carry the legacy of the Lincoln Theatre by having such names as Kathy Mattea, Tom T. Hall, Ralph Stanley, Mike Seeger, Jimmy Fortune and well over 300 other artists and entertainers, carrying them to a national television audience.
John Scott Sherrill
John Scott Sherrill is an American songwriter whose work is primarily in the field of country music. He has written songs for such artists as John Anderson, Brooks & Dunn, Jimmy Buffett (Steamer), Johnny Lee, George Strait, Steve Wariner, Patty Loveless, Josh Turner, Waylon Jennings, Alison Krauss, Peter Wolf, Mick Jagger, Michael McDonald and Willie Nelson, and Kris Kristofferson. Over the past three decades, Sherrill has earned a reputation for his lyrics about love, loss and the human condition. His breakthrough hit was Johnny Lee’s “When You Fall in Love,” which he co-wrote with his friend, Steve Earle. This was also Earle’s first songwriting hit. Sherrill was also a member of the country music group, Billy Hill, which included fellow hit songwriters Bob DiPiero and Dennis Robbins, and ace players Reno Kling and Martin Parker. The group charted with the single “Too Much Month at the End of the Money.” This is Sherrill’s first appearance on Song of the Mountains.
At 14, Presley Barker has been playing acoustic guitar for seven years. Living in the North Carolina mountains and listening to Doc Watson on the radio inspired Presley to begin picking fiddle tunes and bluegrass music. He has been influenced and mentored by Steve Lewis, Wayne Henderson and Bryan Sutton. He has quickly emerged as a gifted flat-picker. In the summers of 2015 and 2017, Barker won first place in the prestigious Adult Guitar Competition at the annual Galax Old Fiddler’s Convention, and, in the summer of 2016, he was named West Virginia State Flat-picking Guitar Champion. In 2017, he won the Wayne C. Henderson Guitar Competition. Barker has appeared on NBC's “Little Big Shots" with Steve Harvey and on NBC’s “Today Show” with Al Roker. On March 23, 2018, he was invited to play The Grand Ole Opry with Country Music Hall of Fame and Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame member Ricky Skaggs. Barker released his first solo album entitled “JUST-TEN” in the fall of 2015. This will make his third appearance on Song of the Mountains.
Michael Reno Harrell
Michael Reno Harrell hails from the Southern Appalachian Mountains, but his appeal extends much farther afield than his roots might suggest. He is an award winning singer/songwriter, published author and a master storyteller.
Harrell blends his personal stories about the myriad characters and locals he has encountered on his lifelong journey with the songs he creates. His combination of music and storytelling are sometimes funny, sometimes just plain scary, maybe even with a message worth taking away, but always entertaining.
Kristi Stanley & Running Blind
Kristi Stanley has become well known for performing a diverse catalogue of roots music for her audience. She says it’s all about making a connection between them and the music, delighting the fans and brightening their days. She said she hopes, through her music, she and her band are able to create emotion and bring back memories of days gone by. Her shows include a vast array of Americana, bluegrass, gospel, traditional country and even the occasional classic rock song.
Born and raised in Pikeville, Kentucky, Stanley was brought up among a rich history of bluegrass and country music, immortalized along the famous Country Music Highway. From her upstairs bedroom, she recalls spending hours singing along with the legendary Dolly Parton and dreaming of becoming a big star. She recorded her own renditions of Dolly's songs, singing them over and over again until every note was perfect and then garnered the nerve to let her parents listen in. It was her mom that convinced her that she was good enough to consider singing for a bigger audience.
The highlight of her career came when she was asked by Dr. Ralph Stanley to be a part of the Grammy nominated album "Clinch Mountain Sweethearts." She joined not only her hero, Dolly Parton, but other stars, including Pam Tillis, Sara Evans and Chely Wright on the project. Just 18 years old, she sang "I'll Never Grow Tired of You" with the bluegrass legend himself and said was both honored and humbled by the experience.
She met her husband, Ralph Stanley II, while on vacation with her family in Nashville, sitting in at a taping of Prime Time Country with then host Gary Chapman. Ralph II spotted her in the audience while performing onstage with Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys, and they later met at the meet-and-greet following the show. Two years later, the couple was married and they now have two children, Taylor Stanley and Ralph Stanley III. This will be her first appearance on Song of the Mountains.
Tickets for the June 1 taping of Song of the Mountains are available online and at the Lincoln Theatre box office.
For more information, visit the website at www.songofthemountains.org or call 276-783-6092.
The next Song of the Mountains taping will be on July 13 and will feature The Highwaymen-A Musical Tribute, honoring Willie, Waylon and Johnny Cash; Dewey & Leslie Brown and the Carolina Gentlemen; and Eddy Davis.
The concert series is underwritten by the town of Marion, the Ellis Family Foundation, including the General Francis Marion Hotel, The Bank of Marion, and Blue Ridge Country 98.1 WBRF Radio and Bryant Label Co.
Song of the Mountains is a non-profit 501c3 organization.