Musings on folk, Americana, country, bluegrass and newgrass

‘Live at the Rives Theatre Concert Series’ kicks off season with Asheville Country Music Revue, Junto and Kristin Diable on Saturday, Jan. 31

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MARTINSVILLE, Va. — The historic Rives Theatre in uptown Martinsville, Va., will kick off its annual “Live at the Rives Theatre Concert Series” season on Saturday, Jan. 31, with Asheville Country Music Revue and Junto, featuring members of Sanctum Sully, as well as Kristin Diable.

“Our annual season opening party is always one of the highlights of the year,” says Johnny Buck, board member of Arts at the Rives Theatre’s (ART) and executive director of Rooster Walk Music and Arts Festival.

Asheville Country Music Revue is a special “all-star” band that features members of  Town Mountain and the Jon Stickley Trio. ACMR plays classic country and Southern rock-grass with an acoustic guitar, electric guitar, electric banjo, pedal steel guitar, drums and electric bass, according to the Rives website.

“If you like Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings, you will love Asheville Country Music Revue,” Buck says.

Season PassesJunto is a new Asheville, N.C.,-based band featuring former Sanctum Sully members and Martinsville natives Win Webster and Jay Franck.

Diable plays a mix of Americana, soul and rock. Chris Rose of the New Orleans’ Times Picayune writes: “There’s a young woman out of south Louisiana who has got some serious chops, a peroxide, leggy crooner with a soul like Lucinda Williams, the confidence of Grace Slick and the voice of a decades-ago Bonnie Raitt….. It was Kristin Diable. Devil in a white dress. Biggest thing out of Baton Rouge since rush hour.”

The $125 ticket includes a catered dinner and open liquor bar at the show, plus entry to all six “Live at the Rives Concerts” in 2015.

On Feb. 14, Travis Book and Sarah Siskind, who performed at Rooster Walk 6 as Sunliner, will perform a special “Cajun Links style” show on Valentine’s Day, Buck says.

“For $50 per couple, you’ll get a delicious catered dinner at the theatre plus the concert,” he said.

Book is best known as the lead singer of the Infamous Stringdusters. His wife, Sarah, continues to be one of today’s most respected and covered songwriters as well as a stand-out independent artist, who Spin Magazine calls “an artist you must hear now.” Armed with a striking vocal style and solid guitar and piano work, Sarah is a regular NPR performer with features on NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts, World Cafe with David Dye, All Songs Considered, Song Of The Day and most recently NPR’s Mountain Stage. She has toured with Bonnie Raitt, Paul Brady, Grammy winner Bon Iver (who also famously covered her “Lovin’s For Fools”) and The Swell Season and had songs recorded by Alison Krauss (the GRAMMY nominated “Simple Love”), Randy Travis, Madi Diaz and many more.

On Feb. 26, bluegrass/Americana singer and songwriter Tim O’Brien, who performed with Darrell Scott at Rooster Walk 6, will make his Rives Theatre debut on Thursday, Feb. 26, as part of the Artisan Café Series.Season Passes

The uncanny intersection of traditional and contemporary elements in his songwriting, his tireless dedication to a vast and still-expanding array of instruments, and his ongoing commitment to place himself in as many unique and challenging musical scenarios as possible has made him a key figure in today’s thriving roots music scene – and well beyond it. O’Brien’s presence – be it as a bandleader, songwriter, mentor, instrumentalist, or vocalist – has been strongly felt not only in his own rich music, but in the many recordings of his songs by such artists as the Dixie Chicks, Garth Brooks, Dierks Bentley, Nickel Creek, Kathy Mattea, the New Grass Revival, and the Seldom Scene, and in his recorded collaborations with Steve Martin, the Chieftains, and innumerable others. All tickets $20 and Rives Concert Series passes will be accepted.

On Saturday, March 28, Rooster Walk veterans After Jack will perform, but not as part of the Rives Concert Series.  Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. The trio, which was named 2014 American Vocal Group of the Year by the Appalachian Cultural Music Association, couples old-time energy and harmonies to blend bluegrass, gospel and folk elements. 

On Friday, April 17, Stephane Wrembel & His Band plus Dave Eggar & Deoro will perform as part of the concert series. “This is an incredible co-bill featuring two of the world’s best at what they do,” Buck says.

Wrembel, a gypsy jazz guitarist, has been called “a revelation” by Rolling Stone. Woody Allen recruited him to score the theme to the 2012 Academy Award winning film Midnight in Paris, and he performed live during the Oscar’s telecast. Dave Eggar has performed worldwide as a solo cellist and pianist. A virtuoso of many styles, Dave has performed and recorded with artists in numerous genres including The Who, Beyonce, Pearl Jam, Season PassesDave Sanborn, Ray Lamontagne, Roberta Flack and many, many more. His list of awards and accomplishments includes accolades from Time Magazine, ASCAP, the National Endowment for the Arts, Sony Records Elevated Standards Award in classical music, the Geraldine Dodge & Leonard Bernstein Foundations, and at 15 was the youngest winner in the history of the Artists International Competition. Music starts at 8 p.m.

On Saturday, April 25, New York City-based alt/country/rock Yarn will perform with special guest Josh Shilling of Mountain Heart for what is being dubbed the Rooster Walk Revue.

On Friday, May 8,  Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds and Major And The Monbacks will continue the “Live at the Rives Series” season in preparation for the upcoming Rooster Walk 7. “Get ready to get down on the dance floor, as we welcome these two big, horn-backed bands to Martinsville,” Buck says.

Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds is a seven-piece powerhouse that puts a modern spin on classic soul. The band is led by Arleigh Kincheloe (Sister Sparrow), whose astoundingly powerful voice and sly demeanor make for a spellbinding presence onstage. She is backed by the mighty force of The Dirty Birds, a flock of seven men who masterfully lay down thundering grooves and soaring melodies. While each of the Birds are capable of lighting up the stage with jaw-dropping displays of musicianship, it’s clear they’re all focused on Season Passesdelivering the band’s infectious music as a single entity. Simply put, the band’s live show is explosive. Major and the Monbacks are the newest torch bearers of the old “Norfolk Sound.” With 4 vocalists, a hype man and a lively horn section, the Monbacks have revived the party infused energy of southern soul, blending this old school style with danceable pop melodies and ska and soul horn riffs, stirring dreamlike visions of Otis Redding or Chuck Berry playing a beer soaked fraternity party. Music starts at 8:30 p.m.

Three more series shows for the fall will be announced soon, Buck says.

ART is a community non-profit dedicated to promoting the historic Rives Theatre as a space for music, art and education in uptown Martinsville.

Tickets to all Rives Theatre concerts can be purchased online from Tickets are also sold locally at the Daily Grind and Woodall’s Music within 2-3 weeks of the actual show date. For more information, visit or call 276-403-0872.


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