Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

July 28, 2013

Local artists to take the stage

Greenup County Music Festival set for Saturday

ARGILLITE — Shannon Spears credits his wife Bonnie’s squeeze box for enhancing his performance and bringing them even closer together.

“She never wanted to play with me on stage until she got a squeeze box in her hands,” the veteran musician from Worthington explained as the duo of Bonnie and Shannon, “the newest act around right now,” recently rehearsed a few songs together in preparation for their appearance as part of the upcoming Greenup County Music Festival.

Bonnie’s “button box,” or “squeeze box” is properly known as a concertina, a type of bellows-operated hand organ which was independently born in both England and Germany. Similar to an accordion, a concertina has no piano-style keyboard, and typically has buttons on either end used to produce different notes, relying upon harmonica-type reeds to produce different tones when the bellows is expanded or compressed.

Spears said she began playing about a year ago, and has progressed nicely with the instrument, joining her husband on stage for gigs in New York and North Carolina, as well as the lodge at Greenbo Lake.

“I’ve just had fun with it,” she said, noting she knew little about the squeeze box before deciding she wanted one of her own. “I knew it sounded like an accordion. I worked on it because I liked the sound. I mean, I wanted to be able to play it.”

Spears said he has thoroughly enjoyed sharing the stage with his wife, although they haven’t yet worked up a full set.

“We’re doing old stuff. It’s kind of a mix,” he said, adding they tend to open with an old Merle Haggard song and an old Buck Owens song before adding more modern songs into the set list. “And, we do a couple of ol’ cowboy songs — then we do more Merle! We like to do stuff you don’t hear on the radio anymore.”

Bonnie and Shannon are only one act among many set to take the stage at the festival at the amphitheater at Greenbo Lake State Resort Park from 4 to 10 p.m. Saturday. The day begins with an opening ceremony by hosts Julie Reeves and Don Rambo, followed by an abbreviated performance by members of the Stephens Family (Tom and Anne Stephens, along with their children Isaac and Aaron as well as trombonist Brooks Callihan) with special guests. Spears said the Stephens family band’s 15-minute appearance, featuring unidentified relatives who will be visiting that weekend, will serve as a sort of teaser for the Col. Bill Williams Heritage Music Festival, which will be scheduled later this year.

Singer/songwriter Roger Smith will perform at 4:30 p.m., followed by Bonnie and Shannon at 5 p.m., with the acappella trio Just His on stage at 5:30 and veteran bluegrass band Poacious at 6 p.m.

South Bound 7, a Greenup County-based band featuring Trent Hicks on lead guitar and vocals, Dustin Thompson on lead guitar, bassist Brett Gumbert and drummer Cole Blagg, are scheduled to perform at 6:45 p.m.

“We do hard rock with southern influence,” Hicks said, adding the band always provides “a very high-energy show,” with lots of twin-guitar appeal. “We do a lot of shredding.”

Knockin’ Spirits, featuring former members of the band PB&J, will play at 7:30 p.m. with a set of songs Spears described as “upscale folk-grass kind of stuff.” The band Burning Ridge, featuring Brent Geer drums and vocals, JD Adkins bass and guitar, with Tom Wintz on guitar and vocals will take the stage at 8:15, performing until time for the evening’s headliners, Rob McNurlin & his Cowboy Band.

Admission to the Greenup County Music Festival is free. For more information, call Spears at (606) 923-7117.

TIM PRESTON can be reached at tpreston@dailyindependent.com.

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