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The Tillers to Close Todd Summer Music Series on Saturday at Cook Memorial Park


By Jessica Isaacs | jessica@highcountrypress.com

The Todd Summer Music series will draw to a close this weekend with a finale performance from The Tillers, a nationally recognized bluegrass Americana group from Ohio that feels a strong connection to the High Country.

Sponsored by the Todd Community Preservation Organization, the series has featured artists including Joseph Houck, Strictly Strings, Wayne Henderson and Friends, Danny Whittington and A Killa Band, Amantha Mill and Melissa Reaves.

“We have had really good attendance. The weather has held off for most of the concerts and the crowds have been great,” said Susan McBurney of the TCPO. “We bought two large open tents this year for either rain or sun, and those have been a big hit to give people a little more shade. It’s been going great.”

McBurney said an added effort to get the word out and steady support from local businesses have been instrumental in the success of this year’s concert series.

“The Todd Mercantile is the sponsor for this last concert, but we have had corporate sponsors for all of the concerts. We have been super pleased with that and it’s really helped us have a great season.”

On Saturday, The Tillers will close out the summer season in Todd with a free concert at 6 p.m. at Cook Memorial Park.

“They play really all over the nation, and I think they’ve gone overseas, as well. They are Cincinnati based, but this will be their fourth or fifth year playing in Todd,” McBurney said. “The first year they came they opened for Doc Watson. It was the year before he passed away. They’re huge Doc Watson fans and that’s really how they made that connection to Todd. A couple of their songs mention playing with Doc.”

In a recent blog post on the TCPO website, local resident Helen Barnes-Rielly of the Todd Mercantile shares her own personal connection to the Tillers.

“This year, before the band plays, we will be dedicating a bench to the man who helped bring the Tillers to Todd, my late husband, Jack Rielly. The bench is located in the spot where Jack always stood in the audience to listen to bands. The TCPO bought it with donations made to them in honor of Jack,” she writes. “A memorial plaque will be added to the bench before the concert. (If you are interested in doing the same for a loved one, contact the TCPO.) Jack loved the Tillers. When he went into hospice care in 2014 and couldn’t make it to their concert, they came to our house and played their concert for him.

“Since 2010, the Tillers have created a huge following here in Todd and the High Country, playing a mix of their original songs and songs plucked out of the Appalachian woods, churches, riverboats, railroads, prairies and coal mines – some older than their grandparents. This is a band you won’t want to miss!”

Bring a lawn chair or blanket if you plan to attend. Food, snacks and beverages will be sold, too.

For more information, visit toddnc.org or call 828-263-6173.

So, what’s next? Stay tuned for information on the community’s popular Todd Fall Festival in October.