The Yadkin Arts Council announces their 2023 Willingham Theater Season and Special Events. The Sounds of the Mountain Series in partnership with the Blue Ridge Music Center. This schedule is filled with a curated collection of performing arts and entertainment featuring an array of live music, musicals and plays, fundraisers, and family programming. The Willingham Theater is located within the Yadkin Cultural Arts Center at 226 East Main Street, Yadkinville, NC 27055.
Upcoming Bluegrass and Old-Time Bands:
- January 21 @ 7:30pm – Sounds of the Mountains Series with The Burnett Sisters Band with Colin Ray + Tray Wellington Band – $25
For the Burnett Sisters Band, it’s all about family. Growing up playing music together in North Carolina, the sisters’ sound is focused around breathtaking vocal harmonies, expertly complemented by tight instrumental arrangements and a bona fide love of the traditional songs they play.
Trajan “Tray” Wellington’s love for music bloomed at an early age. From learning traditional bluegrass to studying genres such as jazz, progressive bluegrass, blues, rock, and more, Tray has gone on to play with some of the most accomplished musicians in the world.
- January 28 @ 7:30pm – Sounds of the Mountains Series with Rissi Palmer + Laurelyn Dossett & Friends – $30
Rissi Palmer’s gift lies in reaching across all musical boundaries. While she started out making her mark in country music, she is equally at home in R&B, bringing the entire spectrum of popular music to bear on what she calls “Southern Soul.”
Singer/songwriter Laurelyn Dossett lives and writes in the North Carolina piedmont, and her songs reflect the stories of the region. Dossett is a frequent performer at regional music festivals such as MerleFest and the North Carolina Folk Festival.
- March 11 @ 7:30 pm – Jon Stickley Trio – $25
Jon Stickley Trio is a genre-defying and cinematic instrumental trio who’s deep grooves, innovative flatpicking and sultry-spacy violin moves the listener’s head, heart, and feet. “It’s not your father’s acoustic-guitar music, Instead Stickley’s Martin churns out a mixture of bluegrass, Chuck Berry, metal, prog, grunge, and assorted other genres—all thoroughly integrated into a personal style,” -Guitar Player Magazine. Premier Guitar says, “Stickley’s trio… is not a traditional bluegrass group by any means… they are just nimble and ambitious enough to navigate EDM-style breakbeats as effortlessly as the old timey standard Blackberry Blossom.” With inspiration ranging from Green Day to Duran Duran, Tony Rice, Nirvana, The Dead, Grisman and beyond, the Trio is making waves with their unique sound.
- August 26 @ 7:30pm – Shadowgrass – $20
ShadowGrass can trace its roots to the forefathers of bluegrass. While fully embracing the traditions of the past, this is a band that is comfortable stepping outside the bounds of traditional music while maintaining traditional instrumentation.
- September 30 @ 7:30pm – The Steel Wheels – $30
The Steel Wheels have long been at home in the creative space between tradition and innovation, informed by the familiar sounds of the Virginia mountains where the band was formed, but always moving forward with insightful lyrics and an evolving sound. In 2005, Jay Lapp (vocals, guitars, mandolin) and Eric Brubaker (vocals, fiddle) joined lead singer Trent Wagler (guitar, banjo) in forming the band as a vehicle for Wagler’s songwriting. They released several albums under Wagler’s moniker, before officially adopting the The Steel Wheels name with the 2010 release of Red Wing. Quickly staking their claim as independent upstarts in the burgeoning Americana scene, The Steel Wheels followed up this release with three more self-produced albums in the next five years, before joining forces with producer Sam Kassirer for Wild As We Came Here (2017) and Over The Trees (2019). Kevin Garcia (drums, percussion, keyboards) joined in 2017, bringing a new level of sonic depth and polish to the outfit. Having gained the experience of thousands of shows, festivals and many miles on the road, the fiercely independent band has formed deep bonds with each other and the audience that sustains them
- November 4 @ 7:30pm – Della Mae – $30
Della Mae is a GRAMMY-nominated all-woman string band founded by lead vocalist/guitarist Celia Woodsmith and 2-time Grand National champion fiddle player Kimber Ludiker. Rounding out the current touring lineup are guitarist Avril Smith, and bassist Vickie Vaughn.
Hailing from across North America, and reared in diverse musical styles, Della Mae is one of the most charismatic and engaging roots bands touring today. They have traveled to over 30 countries spreading peace and understanding through music. Their mission as a band is to showcase top female musicians, and to improve opportunities for women and girls through advocacy, mentorship, programming, and performance.
Following up 2020’s Headlight, their new album Family Reunion features founding members Celia Woodsmith, and Kimber Ludiker as well as Avril Smith, Maddie Witler and Vickie Vaughn. The recording captures the joy of the band reuniting after more than a year of virtual collaboration, Zooms and group texts.