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Fair to offer top notch musical entertainment

By Staff | Aug 3, 2011

Emerson Drive will take the stage at 9 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 13 to close out the 49th Annual Tyler County Fair.

People from far and wide congregate at the Tyler County Fairgrounds every year to enjoy arts and crafts, barn exhibits, carnival rides, deep fried concoctions and track events. But many come solely for the mainstage entrainment.

This year’s mainstage entertainment will kick off at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 9 with the Texaco Country Showdown, sponsored by Power Country 104 Radio.

The Texaco Country Showdown, America’s longest-running and largest talent search, is a synergistic promotion incorporating all forms of media. It is a year-long competition that begins with over 500 live, family-friendly shows produced by participating country music radio stations across the country. Local winners then advance to State and Regional Showdowns held at major entertainment venues where the field is narrowed to five National Finalists.

These five then compete in a nationally syndicated Television Special at which the winner receives a Grand Prize of $100,000. The television special features major country music artists like LeAnn Rimes, Willie Nelson, Montgomery Gentry, Reba McEntire, Barbara Mandrell, Miley Cyrus, Sara Evans, and Loretta Lynn.

The Texaco Country Showdown celebrates that spirit, a spirit and belief that is rooted in local communities throughout the United States, and exemplifies qualities that the Texaco brand values – heritage, tradition, pride in communities and the spirit of the American Dream, a dream that offers undiscovered artists from communities all across the country a shot at becoming a star.

Cledus T. Judd

On Wednesday, Aug. 10, fairgoers will be transported back in time through the music of a legend.

Born and raised in Wood County, Steve Sams has been doing Elvis impersonations professionally since 1966. Show venues have included Pittsburgh, Blackwater Falls, Akron, Ohio, Crosslanes, W.Va. and many fair and festivals throughout the Mid-Ohio Valley. Sams has also performed at the Charleston Civic Center and is available for weddings and private parties.

Sams’ show, Visions of Elvis, focuses on a 70s Vegas format, but includes some of ‘The King’s’ earlier works. He is slated to perform at 7:30 p.m.

Thursday’s musical entertainment will come from the East Run Bluegrass Band, followed by Doyle Lawson and Quick Silver.

East Run started in 1997 and is based in Doddridge County. They have been playing fairs, festivals, parties, bars and halls all over West Virginia and beyond for the past 10 years.

South of the River

Over the years an eclectic mix of bluegrass based music has emerged. In the past, all the members have performed in bands spanning many genres of music, such as blues, rock, country, heavy metal, jam bands, punk and swing. With a varied musical background and strong vocal harmony, the band can change their set list to cater to many audiences. From the honky tonks to the wedding receptions, “they can play em’ all.”

Jeff Powell has played with many notable bands, including the Neon Cactus Band. He has written many of East Run’s original tunes.

Wayne Woods is originally from Taylor County, W.Va. and got started in music playing bluegrass with his father, Neil Woods. He sings lead vocal on many tunes and is currently playing a Frank Neat Banjo.

Chris Rossi is a talented mandolin player from Greensburg, Pa. He is a disciplined player with a style drawing from New Grass, Swing and Southern Rock.

With the addition of West Virginia music veteran Rus Reppert on bass, the music is evolving into new sounds and dimensions.

East Run Bluegrass Band

The band has performed at many venues and events including the North Bend Bluegrass Festival,The Wheeling Jamboree, Alpine Lake Bluegrass Festival, Nicholas County Fair, Jerry Run Theater, 123 Pleasant Street in Morgantown WV, Upper West Fork Fireman’s Bluegrass Festival, Poppy Mountain Bluegrass Festival, Nutter Fort Blackberry Festival, Salem Apple Butter Festival, The Pennyroyal Opera House, The Purple Fiddle and The Bourbon and Bluegrass Festival in Franklin, Kentucky.

They will perform on the Tyler County Fair stage at 7:30 p.m.

Also slated to perform on Thursday evening is Doyle Lawson & Quick Silver.

Fronted by the longtime member of progressive bluegrass pioneers the Country Gentlemen, Doyle Lawson & Quick Silver is a bluegrass ensemble that has made both gospel and secular recordings since its inception in 1979.

The group has had numerous members move through its ranks over the years, the one constant being Lawson, who jokingly refers to his group as a “farm team” for professional bluegrass.

Doyle Lawson and Quick Silver

The current ensemble is comprised of Doyle Lawson, Jessie Baker, Jason Barie, Corey Hensley, Mike Rogers, Josh Swift, and Carl White.

They will perform at 9 p.m. on the mainstage.

The South of the River Band is scheduled to perform on Friday evening at 7:30 p.m.

For the past four years, South of the River has been entertaining people at fairs and festivals across the West Virginia and Ohio with their unique mix of country and southern rock. The band is made up of lead singer Tarah Marie, Adam Spaur, Austin Clark, Thomas Eaton and Zac Windland.

They have enjoyed a lot of success and has had the privilege of opening for country stars Luke Bryan, Jason Michael Carroll, Randy Houser, JImmy Wayne and Bucky Covington. Friday evening, they will add Cledus T. Judd to this list.

Cledus T. Judd is an American country music artist well known primarily for his parodies of popular country music songs. He has been called the “Weird Al” Yankovic” of country music. He has released over 20 music videos, nine studio albums and two EPs, with several of the singles entering Billboard’s Hot Country Songs charts.

Judd was born with the name Barry Poole on Dec. 18, 1964, in Crowe Springs, Ga. He grew up in Cartersville, Ga., in a double-wide mobile home with his mom and stepfather. A hairstylist by trade, he won first place at an open mic comedy night at the Buckboard country music nightclub in Marietta, Ga., by singing two funny rap songs. Six months later he was in Nashville. Two years later, he had a record deal with indie label Razor & Tie.

By mid-2005, Judd had announced plans to release a tribute album to Ray Stevens entitled “Boogity, Boogity” – A Tribute to the Comedic Genius of Ray Stevens, containing covers of Steven’s material with several guest vocalists. Due to the closure of Koch’s Nashville division, however, this album was delayed until 2007, when he signed to Asylum-Curb Records and released it in August. Shortly before its release, he made his sixth chart appearance with the non-album song “Illegals”.

Judd re-signed to Koch in 2009.

In January of this year, he released the single “Waitin’ On Obama” (a parody of Brad Paisley’s “Waitin’ on a Woman”) referencing Barack Obama’s election as President of the United States. This is the first single from his forthcoming album Polyrically Uncorrect.

He has also signed a publishing deal with Sony/ATV Music and Rascal Flatt’s Joe Don Rooney’s publishing company as a songwriter. Cledus was co-writer on a bonus track “The Way” from the Rascal Flatts CD Still Feels Good.

Judd will entertain the Tyler County Fair crowd at 9 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 12.

Friday’s opening act is Titus Canbe, a group from the classic rock/country genre comprised of Eric Bever, Bruce Haas, Mike Starkey and Joe Wright, all of Marietta, Ohio. The audience can expect everything from Classic Rock to Country to Bluegrass

They are scheduled to perform at 7:30 p.m.

Emerson Drive will take the stage at 9 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 13 to close out the 49th Annual Tyler County Fair.

It is an auspicious moment in the history of a band that began with a high school talent contest. On the bill was Brad Mates, an 11th-grader singing for the first time in front of an audience. In addition, Pat Allingham and his pal (and now Emerson keyboardist) Chris Hartman – the two had been in school and church choirs together since kindergarten – joined a few buddies to form an impromptu group doing an equally impromptu song.

Allingham, Hartman and Mates quickly recognized their mutual talents and tastes, and the three soon formed a band with some classmates.

Mates had soaked up his dad’s Don Williams and George Strait albums, as well as the hard rock favored by his junior high buddies. Hartman came from a large family who would sing harmonies around the kitchen table, and he also received classical piano training. Allingham, too, had a serious interest in music, playing classical violin from the age of 3 and performing in orchestras and at festivals during his growing-up years.

After playing some local gigs, the trio added bassist Jeff Loberg, guitarist Danick Dupelle and drummer Mike Melancon and called themselves Emerson Drive, taking their name from the Emerson Trail, which crosses western Alberta and joins the Alaskan Highway.

They released their self-titled U.S. debut on DreamWorks Nashville in 2002 and cracked the Top 5 with “I Should Be Sleeping” and “Fall Into Me.”

The current line-up of Emerson Drive features Mates, Melancon and Dupelle, as well as Patrick Borque, David Pichette and Dale Wallace. They released a second album on Dreamworks, What If, in 2004, but parted ways with the label following a corporate restructuring. They released the independent album, Countrified, in 2006.

With the release of its fourth studio album, Believe, Emerson Drive secures its place as the premiere band in contemporary Country music. The album, showcases all of the attributes that have fueled the group’s long, steady rise through the country ranks. The quintet’s ability to choose first-rate songs, coupled with their own growth as songwriters; and their ability to capture in the studio the energy that has made them one of modern music’s must-see live acts.