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Rives Theatre annual outdoor concert to feature Lizzy Ross and Major and The Monbacks on Saturday, Aug. 23

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Lizzy Ross

Lizzy Ross

MARTINSVILLE, Va. — The best party of the season in Henry County is coming to Shining Star Farm on Saturday, Aug. 23.

Just ask Dean Johnston, president of Arts at the Rives Theatre (ART). “The Rives Theatre’s annual outdoor concert is always the best party of the summer in Martinsville and Henry County.”

This year’s event features Lizzy Ross and Major and The Monbacks. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for the 8 p.m. show at  3838 Barrows Mill Road in Martinsville.

If you missed Major and The Monbacks at FloydFest 13 in July, the Rives concert provides another the chance to catch the soul and R&B sounds of the Norfolk-based band along with the bluesy/Americana stylings of Ross.

Ross and The Monbacks, who are also playing at Front Porch Fest in Stuart, Va., on Aug. 31, have been popular with past audiences at The Rives Theatre and Rooster Walk Music and Arts Festival, says Johnny Buck, co-founder and executive director of the festival.

“Major and the Monbacks are an awesome ‘rock’n’soul’ band from the Norfolk area, and they stole the show Thursday night at Rooster Walk 6,” Buck said. “This full-sized rock band comes complete with a horn section.”

The Monbacks are fresh out of college, exploding into the East Coast music scene with two solid years of touring in their back pocket, wielding an original blend of retro R&B, 60’s twang and new school garage-pop jams, according to the Rives website. The Monbacks have reached “monback mania” status in their hometown, self-releasing a 5 song EP and 2 singles while playing shows, festivals, and colleges across the East Coast and packing out every major venue in Norfolk, including three headline shows at the 1500-capacity venue The NorVA, ranked Rolling Stone’s No. 1 venue in the country.

The C-ville Weekly in Charlottesville, Va., writes: “This nine-piece band adds just the right amount of twangy soul to classic Norfolk rock.”

Ross and her band deliver exuberant Soul/Americana, according to the Rives website. Ross’s voice delivers a charming trill one moment, only to erupt in rough, bluesy emotion the next. It’s a powerful instrument that’s earned her comparisons to artists like Grace Potter and Edie Brickell, among others, according to the Rives website.

“Ross finished second in the FloydFest 11 band competition and played a main stage set at FloydFest 12,” Buck added. “She has since moved to Nashville. She’s also played four of the six Rooster Walks”.

IndyWeek writes about Ross: “A native of Annapolis, Md., the hometown she calls “possibly the place where music goes to die,” Ross moved to North Carolina to go to college in Chapel Hill five years ago. In school, Ross first pursued an immersive band experience with Lafcadio, a group praised for its twangy indie rock shuffle and signed to the university’s student-run label, Vinyl Records. But she took a step back and decided to try it solo. On Traces, her 2010 debut release, Ross offered a batch of acoustic tracks that spotlighted her songwriting style without many backing arrangements. The bluesy range of her vocals managed to goose the singer-songwriter fare.”

Tickets for the Rives Theatre outdoor show are $12 in advance, $15 at the gate and available at Daily Grind and Woodall’s Music and Sound or online. Lawn chairs and blankets are permitted but outside alcohol is not. To learn more about group-ticket-sales options, email

Arts at the Rives Theatre is a community nonprofit dedicated to preserving the historic Rives Theatre by offering high-quality musical, educational and artistic programming. This volunteer-run organization is devoted to transforming the Rives Theatre from a movie house into a live-music venue and a community space for arts and education.

Mark your calendar for the next Rives Theatre Artisan Cafe Concert Series show on Sept. 25 featuring the Doobies’ John Cowan, John McFee and Friends.

One thought on “Rives Theatre annual outdoor concert to feature Lizzy Ross and Major and The Monbacks on Saturday, Aug. 23

  1. Pingback: Rives Theatre annual outdoor concert to feature Lizzy Ross and Major and The Monbacks on Saturday, Aug. 23 | musicreporterblog

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