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Tuesday Tune: “Ring of Fire” by Home Free

July 29, 2014

Home Free

NBC’s “The Sing-Off”, a celebration of a cappella music, has launched the careers of Committed, Pentatonix and most recently, Home Free, which brings its unique blend of country music and a cappella to McGlohon Theater on Thursday, Nov. 6! The group, featuring Austin Brown, Rob Lundquist, Chris Rupp, Tim Foust and Adam Rupp, embarks on its Crazy Life Tour in September.

Founded during their college years by brothers Chris and Adam Rupp, Home Free was the first country music group featured on “The Sing-Off.” Memorable performances such as country hits “Cruise’,” “Life is a Highway” and “Colder Weather,” in addition to a show-stopping duet of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” with celebrity judge Jewel, led to Home Free’s victory on Dec. 23, 2013.

While the group’s country flavor was shot to the national spotlight on the show, Home Free was perfecting its art and building a fan base long before “The Sing-Off.” The group performed at fairs, colleges and theaters across the country, and those experiences have led to the current live show, which the group describes as a “high-energy show peppered with quick-witted humor that meshes Nashville standards with pop hits dipped in country flavor.”

Since being crowned winner of the fourth season of “The Sing-Off,” Home Free has continued to tour, created original material and released its first album, “Crazy Life,” with Columbia Records in February. The Johnny Cash classic “Ring of Fire” is featured on the debut album, and the group just released the “Ring of Fire” music video last Friday, which features bass Avi Kaplan of Pentatonix. Watch Home Free’s stirring rendition of the country music classic below.

Tickets are on sale now, and if you purchase through our Christmas in July special, you get FREE parking with your order! Hurry! Offer ends Friday, Aug. 1.

To celebrate Christmas in July, check out Home Free’s performance of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” with special guest Jewel.

Don’t miss Home Free’s Crazy Life Tour LIVE in the intimate McGlohon Theater at Spirit Square on Thursday, Nov. 6 at 7:30 p.m!


Looking Ahead: Everything Is Better With Bacon!

July 28, 2014
The Bacon Brothers

Experience the rock and “soul” show that is The Bacon Brothers Aug. 4.

In honor of our next concert coming to the Blumenthal Performing Arts, I had some amazing bacon this morning with my toast and eggs (hint, hint). Just like the headline states, everything is truly always better with bacon! That said, our next show coming to Queen City is The Bacon Brothers! On Monday, Aug. 4, this brotherly duo and their band will take the McGlohon Theater stage for one night only and give the audience an unforgettable show!

The New Yorker observed: “Hollywood hangs like an albatros around the neck of any movie star turned musician, but this duo shakes off the burden of fame with sharply executed rock that has a blue-collar, rootsy edge.” These brothers give their audiences a taste of the “hard-rock” life with their electrifying and compelling music that will leave you star-struck.

The “Prince of Bel Air” wasn’t the only one who spent most of his days in west Philadelphia. Brothers Michael and Kevin Bacon were born and raised in the home of the Liberty Bell, where Michael was the first to start a career in the music industry. Kevin, being inspired by his older brother, would tag along and he soon joined the band that came to be known as The Bacon Brothers in 1995. Transitioning from movies to music, Kevin has seamlessly juggled both sides of his career with stellar reviews on both fronts.

Since then, The Bacon Brothers have had ongoing success worldwide with seven albums and sold-out shows everywhere they’ve performed. With energy, entertainment and a broad range of talent, this dynamic team and their band give audiences a bang for their buck with every show.

Want a taste of their rock ‘n’ roll experience? Check out this video of the brothers performing live on an episode of “Live From Daryl’s House” in New York, playing “Go My Way”:


If you don’t already have tickets, CLICK HERE to snag seats to see this powerhouse band perform one night only on Aug. 4!

Friday Giveaway! Win 2 Tickets to See Joshua James on Sept 21!

July 25, 2014

Every single person reading this should have a big smile on their face, and do you know why? Because it’s finally Friday again! Time to break up with the week and get together with the weekend, am I right? There’s only one way to kick off a fantastic weekend though and that’s with our Friday Giveaway!

This week’s giveaway is for tickets to see the illustrious and captivating Joshua James, who will be performing at Stage Door Theater Sunday, Sept. 21.

Who is this young, singer-songwriter, you might ask? James is a Nebraska native whose music parallels his captivating and astute presence on stage; the lyrics to his songs very much exemplify his belief in the contrast of absolutes such as love and hate, good and evil, life and death, and even pleasure and pain.

He’s not your average alternative rock musician — he channels his life experiences, feelings and soul into his songs, giving listeners an almost instant gratification to receiving the deeper meaning behind his music. Almost a musical philosopher, James spares no space in his songs reaching out to his audience, inviting them to listen to his interpretations of life and love. His personal quest for transcendence in his shows is apparent by his arresting voice and commanding stage presence.

During his performances, James brings his audiences to highs and lows you could never expect; he draws them into his music and makes them feel what he feels. Don’t just take it from me, there’s a pretty excited fan from Norfolk, Va., who had this to say about him:

“Joshua James has an incredible depth of soul and passion that is evident in his music. With every song, I am moved by the emotion and the universal themes of family, friendship, love and pain. His voice is truly haunting and powerful at once. Unlike any other artist that I have heard. I recommend his concerts whenever you have the opportunity.”


Still aren’t convinced? Here’s a taste of what to expect when you see him live! Here is James playing an acoustic version of “Favorite Diamond” during a live AU session this past March:

CLICK HERE for tickets to the show!



Email and tell us why you love Joshua James! Use the subject line: Joshua James Giveaway! A winner will be selected at noon Monday, July 28, and notified via email. Good luck!

5 Fast Facts About Steve Forbert

July 24, 2014

Steve Forbert“Romeo’s Tune,” that’s the song by Steve Forbert that most people know. And by “most people,” I mean “most people of a certain age.” (I can say that … I am one of them.) The sweet, upbeat love song that opened his second album, “Jackrabbit Slim,” hit No. 11 on the Billboard charts in 1979. While that was his most commercial success, Forbert developed a loyal following with strong songwriting, 14 albums and constant touring.

He returns to Charlotte on Sept. 11 for an intimate performance of his bluesy Americana songs at Stage Door Theater at Blumenthal Performing Arts Center. It’s $22 for the general admission show. Click here for tickets and more info.

Page Leggett of Charlotte is a formidable Forbert fan. Forbert’s debut album, “Alive on Arrival,” sparked comparisons to Bob Dylan. “It made the world think he’d be selling out big arenas throughout his career,” says Leggett, a freelance writer. “That’s not how it has played out, but in his live shows, you really get the sense that he is just grateful to make a living at something he loves. He really connects with his audience — with his music and the stories he tells about the songs.”

His most recent album, “Over With You,” returns to the theme of relationships, “… the good, the bad and the in-between,” Forbert said in an interview with American Songwriter. Click here to read the full interview.


Steve Forbert in Lauper video

Forbert as Cyndi Lauper’s beau in the “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” video.

Here are five fast facts to know about Forbert:

1. He was Cyndi Lauper’s boyfriend in 1983’s “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” video. “How can you not love that?” says Leggett, who provided this tidbit. He appears at the 3:44 mark, but go ahead and watch the whole thing.

2. Forbert’s tribute album to Jimmie Rodgers, “Any Old Time,” was nominated in 2004 for a Grammy Award in the Best Traditional Folk category. June Carter Cash’s “Wildwood Flower” won.

Check out PRX’s Sound Portrait of  “Any Old Time” (you have to log in to listen to the full broadcast).

3. In 2013, Blue Corn Music reissued “Alive on Arrival” and “Jackrabbit Slim” as a double-disc package featuring bonus tracks from each album’s sessions. “Slim” features a live version of “Romeo’s Tune,” recorded in New York City just after the album’s release.

4.  Forbert put together an exhibit called “Highway of Sight” from “fine-art photography” taken on tour using a 2005 LG cell. Many shots are on his Instagram page. “They’re beautiful, tightly framed moments of classic Americana: old signs, empty bottles, cars that aren’t made anymore. Each photo looks like the start of another song,” says Ryan White in a recent Sacramento Bee article. Click here to read the full story.

Steve Forbert's instagram

5. His new song, “You’d See the Things That I See,” is subtitled “July 6, 1957: The Day John Met Paul,” and was inspired by Forbert’s visit to John Lennon’s childhood home.

“Seeing John’s bedroom, which still contains his orange and yellow acoustic guitar; lingering in the foyer where he and Paul practiced their vocal harmonies; standing by the garden wall that borders the grounds of the Strawberry Field orphanage; and then traveling a mile or so to see where Paul grew up, was very inspiring to me,” says Forbert on his site. “I ditched the lyrics I was working on for a new song and instead tried imagining some of the thoughts John might have had on the evening of July 6, 1957, after meeting Paul for the first time.”

Bonus: Rod Davis, a member of Lennon’s group, The Quarrymen, allowed Forbert to include in the song’s video some recently discovered photos taken by Davis’ father on that fateful day.

Click here to listen and download three live tracks on his website!

Get your tickets now for Forbert’s performance on Sept. 11 at Stage Door Theater.

Wednesday Wow: Spotlight on Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella Star Paige Faure

July 23, 2014
Don't miss Ella dancing with the prince of her dreams Nov. 4-9

Don’t miss Ella dancing with the prince of her dreams in Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Nov. 4-9.

Is it impossible for a plain yellow pumpkin to become a golden carriage? Or maybe even a plain country bumpkin and a prince to join in marriage? Not for one fairy godmother and a girl down on her luck! From the creators of South Pacific and The Sound of Music comes Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderellagracing Belk Theater starting Nov. 4. Tickets start at $20. Click here to get yours today!

This contemporary take on the classic tale won a 2013 Tony Award for best costume design and was nominated for best musical. It brings together family and friends with the idea that no wish or dream is too impossible to come true in front of your eyes!

The tale stars Ella, a girl down on her luck as she slaves away in a house run by her evil stepmother and two stepsisters, who one day dreams of bigger and better things! Her dreams are realized through the magic of a fairy godmother, a transformed pumpkin, and the famous glass slippers. Be transported back to your childhood as you rediscover your inner child through your favorite songs and the message that anything is possible!

Paige Faure plays Ella in Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella.

Paige Faure plays Ella in Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella.

Creating her own magic as the star of the show is Paige Faure in the role of Ella! This feisty, inspiring performer (and mom) has been wowing theatergoers and performers since her Broadway debut as a lead understudy in the national tour of Aida. However, it wasn’t immediate stardom for this red wine and dark chocolate-loving dancer.

Growing up in the heart of Atlanta, Faure loved dance from the start; from a young age she studied ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical and modern dance at the Alpharetta Dance Theater. Then in high school, she added choir to her performance repertoire. Graduating from high school, she went up north and attended Marymount’s Manhattan Theater program for about a year before she put on her big-girl dance leggings and auditioned in the real world.

She landed the understudy lead role in the national tour of Aida as her first step into Broadway stardom! From that moment, her career took off like a smooth rocket launch. For years, she participated in national tours such as A Chorus Line and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, as well as various regional shows, and even landed a role in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying alongside Daniel Radcliffe.

From an interview in 2011, Faure commented on how veteran Broadway performers have said she’s been “spoiled” as her rise to fame in the industry has been more positive than most! Her most recent project, before her role as Ella in Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella, was a lead role in the musical Bullets Over Broadway. She was able to complete most of the tour before her son, Hank, arrived!

Faure has an alter ego aside from her Broadway identity — as a mom and a wife. She gushes how much her son and her husband, Adam Monley, inspire her in her everyday life. She also gives another meaning to triple threat: she’s friendly, fit and fun! In between challenging choreography numbers and running around onstage, offstage she loves yoga, running and playing with her son. She actually even expressed interest in an earlier interview that she wants to get a massage therapy degree if given the time. Her tips on staying in shape? “All the old adages, really — eat right, sleep well, don’t drink too much, don’t smoke, breathe deep, smile whenever you can and be realistic with yourself … and love yourself and those around you as best you can.”

She’s a Star Wars geek and loves anything that seems French. She is known for her outgoing and energetic persona around cast and crew members while on tours. As a performer but a confident woman, she knows just how much self-esteem can play into a healthy life. She had this to say about being confident on stage and in life:

“Be versatile, be devoted, be curious, be prepared, be open to new ideas, and stay hydrated.”

You won’t want to miss seeing the lovely Faure star in Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella playing in Belk Theater Nov. 4-9. This show teaches people of all ages to believe in the beauty of your dreams, and that with just a pinch of faith and magic, anything is possible!

Tuesday Tune: ‘Longer Than You’ve Been Alive’ by Old 97’s

July 22, 2014

Old 97’s

Hailing from Dallas, Old 97’s are considered pioneers in the world of alternative country music. Created in 1993, the band has had one critically acclaimed album after another and recently released “Most Messed Up” with ATO Records.

With over 15 albums under their belt, Old 97’s continue to write and release fresh tracks that showcase their signature Texas sound. Perhaps one of the band’s greatest accomplishments is the 2013 EP “Old 97’s and Waylon Jennings,” which features the band collaborating with the country music legend on two of the six tracks.

Co-founder Rhett Miller had this to say to the New York Times about recording with Waylon:

After lunch, he cut the vocals for “The Other Shoe.” He got to the second verse, where the cuckolded husband is under the bed and imagining the murders he’s about to commit. There’s a line, “You’ll try to find a doctor that will prescribe an elixir that’ll make everything better.” He kept saying “excelsior.” It got tense in the control room because he’d keep getting through the whole song and mess up that word. Eventually, I had an idea. I told him to just use the phrase “Annie licks her.” He started laughing. “I like you, you’re sick,” he told me. And he nailed it on the next take.

“Most Messed Up,” released April 29, received excellent reviews. Paste Magazine called it “the first in the band’s catalog to accurately capture their sweat-box live performances.” Rolling Stone said it’s “another round of airtight songs celebrating life-as-sublime-train-wreck amid music that conjures the British Invasion landing in a Texas barroom.” Music critic Bill Flanagan calls it “a rock opera, a way-off Broadway musical about a musician’s life, loves and lubrication.”

Listen to a live performance of “Longer Than You’ve Been Alive” from “Most Messed Up” below. The song pays tribute to the band’s 20 years in the business.

Don’t miss Old 97’s LIVE in the intimate McGlohon Theater on Saturday, Oct. 11, at 8 p.m. Get tickets now!

Looking Ahead: National Dance Day This Saturday!

July 21, 2014
National Dance Day 2013. Photo by Daniel Coston.

National Dance Day 2013. Photo by Daniel Coston.

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend and is ready to start a brand new week! I’m getting there. Monday morning coffee is the reason my head is not face down and asleep on my desk right now. But you know what gets everyone awake and groovin’ no matter what? Dancing, of course! Carolinas HealthCare System presents National Dance Day 2014 in the Wells Fargo Plaza (301 S. Tryon St.) on Saturday, July 26, where anyone can jive in whatever way they please — free! The program is part of Blumenthal’s Whirl initiative, sponsored by Piedmont Natural Gas.

National Dance Day celebrates human movement, no matter how old you are. Nigel Lythgoe, executive producer of “So You Think You Can Dance”  and founder of Dizzy Feet Foundation, created this annual event  to promote health and self-esteem through the art form of dance. What better way to raise your self-confidence than through showing off your inner Dancing Queen (or King)?

Our own Education Director Ralph Beck agrees: “National Dance Day is all about having fun and getting some great exercise. No prior dance experience is necessary, and we encourage everyone to come join in all the fun. Last year, we saw people of all ages dancing their hearts out, and we look forward to that again this year!”

It doesn’t matter if you’ve danced since you could walk or if you can barely follow a Zumba class, this event is free to participate in for anyone who wants to move to the rhythm of their own beat. Besides, we’ll have on-site instructors show you all kinds of dance styles, including two National Dance Day routines. Take a sneak peek below to mentally prepare for the fun you’ll have.

Here’s one for the beginners:


Here’s one for the more advanced groups:


It’s supposed to be a beautiful day on Saturday, so why not spend it with us at The Wells Fargo Plaza in Uptown? Don’t miss your chance to bust a move and be active in a pretty groovy way. Festivities start at 1 p.m. For information, CLICK HERE.


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