Continuing a tradition started by its founder, Joe Shannon’s Mountain Home Music once again presents its annual Memorial Day Salute to help welcome in the summer season in the High Country. This year’s concert, celebrating JSMHM’s 25th Anniversary Season, takes place on Saturday night, May 26th at the Harvest House Performing Arts Venue in Boone and features the music of one of the hottest emerging young bluegrass bands in America, Cane Mill Road! The concert begins at 7:30pm and pays tribute to the real reason for Memorial Day – to honor the memory of all of those who died while serving our country in our armed forces.
Billboard-charting band Cane Mill Road(CMR) rocks the bluegrass they grew up on, yet boldly tackles the Beatles, Dylan, Gordon Lightfoot, and more. Growing up just down the road from Doc Watson, the band honors the past, but looks to the future, blending music that walks the lines between Bluegrass, Old-time, Americana, and Folk. The band’s debut album, “Five Speed”, hit #9 on Billboard’s Bluegrass Album chart. Their much-anticipated sophomore recording “Gap to Gap” is finished and should be released any day. Band members include 15-year-old Liam Purcell on mandolin, fiddle, and vocals; 20-year-old Eliot Smith on bass; 18-year-old Trajan Wellington on banjo and 20-year-old Casey Lewis on guitar and vocals.
This year’s Memorial Day Salute show will be hosted by long time friend of JSMHM, David Johnson, and he will also set in with the CMR on a number of tunes. Johnson has been a fixture at these concerts for years and is known for his many performances with Joe Shannon at Mountain Home Music concerts with the Mountain Home Bluegrass Boys. As a part of the tradition for these concerts, the members of Cane Mill Road have put together a special patriotic set of music to honor not only those who made the ultimate sacrifice, but also all veterans who have ever served in the USA’s military branches.
JSMHM director Rodney Sutton caught up with Purcell as CMR was finishing up a week of concerts opening for the bluegrass super group Balsam Range at the Silver Dollar Bluegrass and BBQ Festival in Branson, Missouri. He was very excited for CMR to have had the chance to play at such a famous venue – “It was an honor to be featured on the same bill as Balsam Range at the Silver Dollar. They gave us a big shout-out during their show – saying, ‘There are some other North Carolina boys here at Silver Dollar City, good to see Cane Mill Road, they are young guys playing Bluegrass from our area and it’s a good thing to see them keeping the tradition alive’. Balsam Range is from Haywood County,” said Purcell.
Knowing that Purcell is one of the biggest success stories of the Boone Junior Appalachian Musicians’ music program, Sutton asked Purcell to reflect on how JAM had influenced his young musical career. “I began taking classes at JAM at the Jones House in Boone when I was six years old. I started out playing guitar, and then added fiddle and banjo – then later, mandolin. My music teacher and mentor was Cecil Gurganus, and besides his special ability to teach his students how to play any instrument, he really taught me how to play in a band with others. I learned so much from Cecil at JAM during those years and it allowed me to become a teacher at JAM myself”, added Purcell.
Purcell continued, “CMR is on the road so much, I have a hard time fitting the classes I teach into my schedule, but I am working on a project developing a JAM curriculum package and also a song/tune book to be used by other teachers in the JAM program.” “I appreciate the support and opportunity to perform that JSMHM has given me during my career,” he added.
Friendships and passion for the music are what makes Joe Shannon’s Mountain Home Music what it is today – a small mountain non-profit concert series that strives to honor the vision of its founder, Joe Shannon. This up-coming Saturday night concert – A Memorial Day Salute – will give CMR a chance to celebrate the beginning of summer with an unforgettable evening of music with a special segment of patriotic songs dedicated to our veterans and to the memory of those who gave their all in service to our country! We hope to see a lot of veterans and their families at this show!
Private sponsors for this concert are Tony and Lynn Barbour. Business sponsors are The United Way, courtesy of Jack & Karen James. Additional support is provided by Mountain Times Publishing, High Country Press, The Watauga Arts Council, and Grassroots funding from The NC Arts Council. Joe Shannon’s Mountain Home Music is also proud to be included as a site on the Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina (BlueRidgeMusicNC.com).
The Harvest House Performing Arts Venue is located at 247 Boone Heights Dr. in Boone
Tickets cost $18 in advance and $20 at the door. Student tickets are $5. Children 12 and younger are admitted free. Advance tickets may be purchased online and at the Mast General Store (Boone and Valle Crucis), Fred’s Mercantile on Beech Mountain, Stick Boy Bread Company(345 Hardin St, Boone), and Footsloggers and Pandora’s Mailbox on Main Street in downtown Blowing Rock.
Tickets, directions, and more info can be found at the JSMHM website – www.mountainhomemusic.org/