Enquirer Herald

Regional musicians to perform at McCelvey

Traditional Piedmont music will be showcased during two double-feature concerts at the McCelvey Center’s Lowry Theatre this summer.

The Grand Ole McCelvey Concert Series will highlight Carolina talent, giving way to bluegrass, folk, hillbilly, gospel and the blues.

On July 26, musician and historian Hunter Holmes will take the stage followed by the Spartanburg-based Mill Billy Blues Band.

On Aug. 16, bluegrass champions the Hinson Girls will be followed by the legendary Briarhoppers.

“By hosting concerts of this type, CHM is helping to keep this early folk music alive and to make it available to audiences in the 21st century,” said Culture and Heritage Museums historian Michael Scoggins, who is coordinating the summer series.

Influenced by the front-porch pickers they grew up with in mill towns and farming communities, Mill Billy Blues are four long-time friends who specialize in acoustic sounds. Freddie Vanderford, Shane Pruitt, Brandon Turner, and Matthew Knights are referred to as the Highwaymen of the Piedmont.

Holmes from Laurens will fill the room with sounds of the quills, harmonica, kazoo, and guitar. Holmes, preserving the heritage of traveling Southern musicians of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, will play songs from the era of jug bands and medicine shows.

The Hinson Girls are four sisters from Lancaster who won the state championship for top bluegrass band in 2012. The band was started by the girls’ father in 2010 and includes Kristin, 19, on harmonies and guitar; Melissa, 16, harmonies and upright bass; Allison, 16, harmonies and banjo; and Katelyn, 14, lead vocals and mandolin.

The Briarhoppers came together in 1934 to fill the bill for WBT radio’s request for a hillbilly band to help promote its products. Celebrating 80 years, the family continues the bluegrass tradition with the band’s latest members: Alana Flowers, Hannah Nicole Flowers, Dillon Flowers, Ellie Flowers, Donnie Little and Tom Warlick.