Liberty Square Celebration set for Oct. 8
By Sparta Live | September 29, 2011 12:00 am
The annual Liberty Square Celebration begins at 11:45 a.m., Oct. 8, in downtown Sparta, and will feature three well-known bluegrass bands, including Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, The Claire Lynch Band and Midnight Flight, as well as White County’s ‘hometown’, but nationally known, bluegrass stars, The Expedition Show.
Doyle Lawson is a living legend in bluegrass music and has been nominated in two categories in the upcoming 17th Annual Inspirational Country Music (ICM) Awards to be held in Nashville at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center on October 28, 2011.
Lawson was nominated individually for Musician of the Year, and with his band Quicksilver for Inspirational Bluegrass Artist of the Year. His list of awards is very extensive and can be found by visiting www.doylelawson.com.
‘The Expedition Show’ is comprised of native White Countain Blake Williams, his wife Kimberly Williams, Wayne Southards and Alex Hibbitts.
As an accomplished musician on several instruments, Blake has been a professional bluegrass musician more than 34 years. He first toured with Bobby Smith and The Boys From Shiloh fresh out of high school and soon moved into the role of banjo player for Lester Flatt and the Nashville Grass until Lester’s death in 1979. He then went to work with Bill Monroe, for 10 years, making him Monroe’s longest tenured banjo player.
In 1991, Blake was given the opportunity to play bass with comedian, Hee Haw star and Grand Ole Opry member Mike Snider, where he stayed until 2001. During his career, Blake has toured 48 states and seven countries, played Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, and the Lincoln Center.
He has also performed on projects by Patty Loveless and Vince Gill. Blake has recorded three solo projects and performed regularly on the Grand Ole Opry more than 23 years. He has also enjoyed songwriting success having his songs covered by Lester Flatt and The Nashville Grass, Rhonda Vincent, and Williams and Clark Expedition. He is a three-time nominee for ‘Entertainer Of The Year’ by Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music in America. In May 2009, Sparta unveiled new city limits signs declaring Sparta as ‘Bluegrass USA’ and the home of Blake Williams.
Kimberly Williams, a native of Texas, moved to Nashville in 1992. She had enjoyed her musical beginnings by performing with her family’s band, where she sang and played mandolin. Kimberly has performed demos as a vocalist for songwriters and publishers in Nashville. Kimberly has also worked as a producer for Gaylord Entertainment’s Opryland Productions and Grand Ole Opry Group. During her seven-year tenure with Gaylord, Kimberly produced shows and special events for Opryland theme park, including the popular “Sundays In The Park” event series that included a monthly bluegrass jam, gospel and songwriting events. She has enjoyed two guest appearances on the Grand Ole Opry. In 2005, she opened her own company, East Public Relations, with a focus on affordable tour support and publicity for bluegrass artists.
Wayne Southards is a native of Salem, Mo. He moved to Nashville, in 1990, with his wife and two sons. He would soon become a highly sought after guitarist and work for country artists such as John Conlee, The McCarters and Sweethearts Of The Rodeo. Southards is a seasoned professional in bluegrass, too. He is a Midwest Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music in America ‘Male Vocalist of the Year’ having won the award in 1987.
Alex Hibbitt, on mandolin, is the newest member of The Expedition Hibbitts is an accredited musician on several instruments, a creative songwriter, and an outstanding harmony vocalist.
Claire Lynch is long recognized and praised as a creative force in acoustic music and considered a pioneer who continually pushes the boundaries of the bluegrass genre.
The current Claire Lynch Band includes Mark Schatz on bass, clawhammer banjo and percussive dance; Jason Thomas on mandolin, fiddle and vocals; and Matthew Wingate on guitar, mandolin and vocals.
The band has been aptly described as a powerful juggernaut, a quartet that has the innate ability to perfectly interpret the beauty, subtlety, and genre-defying sophistication of Claire’s music.
Claire’s career is fittingly bookended by two IBMA Female Vocalist of the Year awards – one in 2010, in recognition of her current work with the Claire Lynch Band, and another in 1997, for her influential work with the Front Porch String Band, and as a solo artist.
Claire is currently nominated for the 2011 IBMA Female Vocalist of the Year Award.
Known as the Missouri Ozark’s premier traditional bluegrass band, Midnight Flight has great instrumental musicianship, tight vocal harmonies, and a unique brand of spontaneous humor that always makes them a crowd pleaser.
Midnight Flight’s stage show is dynamic, utilizing the single microphone since the band’s formation in 1992.
One of the founding members of Midnight Flight, Jimmie Allison is an award-winning guitarist whose big-arm rhythm is the heartbeat of the band’s drive.
Casey Freeland began singing and thumping bass at the age of eleven with her family, whom she credits with giving her the tools and motivation to hone her musical talents.
Eli Johnston learned to pick and sing while growing up in southeast Kansas and southwest Missouri. He joined the band in 2011 and provides the ‘grassy’ sound of the 5-string banjo.
Kevin Shults handles mandolin duty for the band, as well as contributing a fine vocal blend to The Flight’s trios and quartets.
On any given weekend, Midnight Flight can be found performing from Lake Pontchartrain to Lake Superior, and from the Rockies to the Great Smokies.
Liberty Square Celebration begins at 11:45 a.m., Oct. 8, 2011. For more information call Sparta City Hall at (931) 836-3284.