Wild Blue Yonder to kick off Third Thursday concert series May 17
By Kim Swindell Wood | May 7, 2018 2:45 pm
With a nod to the past and an eye to the future, Knoxville Appalachian Americana band Wild Blue Yonder will take the stage at Dogwood Park on May 17 for Cookeville Leisure Service’s Third Thursdays in the Park concert series.
The show begins at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free.
“I think folks enjoy Third Thursday concerts because we provide a variety of free music throughout the summer and the setting of the park in the evening is very nice,” Chad McDonald, Cookeville Leisure Services cultural arts superintendent, said. “There’s nothing quite like listening to good music with your toes in the grass.”
Wild Blue Yonder has endeared audiences with warm harmonies, old-time banjo and fiddle, and folksy original songs for the past 18 years across East Tennessee and Western North Carolina. All five members of the group are veteran entertainers who deliver their music with passion and sincerity. Band founders Melissa Wade (guitar and vocals) and Philip Coward (banjo, mandolin, vocals) write the group’s original material. Fiddler Cindy Wallace, formerly of the band Wild Mountain Honey, performed for many years at Dollywood, Music Mansion and other Sevier County theaters.
Wild Blue Yonder’s shows are known for mixing things up musically in every set. Wade says Wild Blue Yonder’s music is hard to categorize because it covers a wide range of styles. “Appalachian Americana” is a stylistic label Wild Blue Yonder appreciates, as it conveys a respect for tradition combined with their progressive leanings. One reviewer described Wild Blue Yonder as “a tasty mix of Americana-flavored originals, old-time mountain tunes, and foot-stomping hoe-downs in folky harmony backed by spicy fiddle, smokin’ mandolin, groovy percussion, guitar and bass.”
Since the band’s inception in 2001, it has produced two well-received contemporary bluegrass CDs, “Bolt Out of the Blue” and “Above & Beyond.” Both discs received airplay on bluegrass and Folk stations across the U.S., and in the UK, Australia, and the Netherlands. Their latest project, “Full Disguise,” contains all original songs, some of which will be featured at their Dogwood Park concert.
Joining Wade, Coward and Wallace for the Dogwood Park show will be Barry Johnson from Atlanta, on drums, and jazz/classical bassist Daniel Shifflett. All five are graduates of the University of Tennessee Knoxville.
Third Thursday concerts are produced by the City of Cookeville Department of Leisure Services. Additional concerts are scheduled for June 21, July 19 and Aug. 16. For more information about this concert or any event in Dogwood Park, call 528-4FUN(4386).