By: Rick Zeigler—
Muncie, IN—The Muncie Three Trails Music Series returns in 2016 for its 4th season and again features a stellar line-up of critically acclaimed national recording artists who will perform in a series of 4 free concerts in downtown Muncie. Full series information, including songs and videos of the performing artists, can be found at www.munciethreetrails.com.
Bluegrass greats The Grascals will kick things off on Sat., July 9th at Canan Commons. The Grascals are two-time winners of the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Entertainer of the Year award and three-time Grammy nominees. They have played over 150 shows at the Grand Ole Opry and have appeared numerous times at the Ryman Auditorium, Radio City Music Hall, and Merlefest. Honors have also included performing twice for President George W. Bush and at President Barack Obama’s inaugural ball at the Smithsonian. The group has also shared the stage with a long list of bluegrass and country music luminaires, including Dolly Parton, Vince Gill, Dirks Bentley, and Patty Loveless, among many others. The Stampede String Band from Indianapolis will be the opening act.
Delta bluesman and Telarc recording artist Tab Benoit will perform at Canan Commons on Sat., July 23rd. He is a two-time winner of the B.B. King Entertainer of the Year award, generally considered the highest accolade afforded blues musicians and songwriters. Benoit has also won numerous other Blues Music Awards, including multiple nods as Best Contemporary Blues Male Performer and, for his 2011 release Medicine, Best Contemporary Blues Album. Benoit is also the recipient of a Grammy for Best Traditional Blues Album, and has placed 10 of his 18 releases in the top ten of the Blues Album charts. He is an inductee into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame and is the founder of “Voice of the Wetlands,” an organization promoting awareness of the receding coastal wetlands of his home state. Local bluesman Chad Nordhoff will open the show.
Pokey Lafarge and his band will bring their eclectic mix of early jazz, hot swing, ragtime, country blues, and Americana to the Canan Commons stage on Sat., Sept. 3rd. Lafarge proclaims, “I’m born and raised in the Midwest, and my family’s been here for generations. This is where I’m from, how I think, and that’s reflected in the music I make.” With instrumentation that includes guitar, bass, tenor banjo, kazoo, washboard, snare drum, cornet, trombone, piano, lap steel, fiddle, upright bass, and harmonica, Lefarge’s music evokes the old-time spirit of the era of 78 RPM records while being centered around newly composed tunes. Lafarge has appeared numerous times on Prairie Home Companion, has performed on The Late Show with David Letterman, and contributed to the soundtrack for HBO’s Boardwalk Empire. He is also a favorite of Jack White, formerly of the White Stripes, who signed him for an EP on his Third Man Records’ label. Lafarge’s latest album, Something in the Water, came out last year on Rounder Records, the premier “American roots” label. The Halfstepsisters. From Indianapolis, will open.
Legendary jazz guitarist John Scofield will conclude the Muncie Three Trails 2016 season with a performance at Conrnerstone Center for the Arts on Thursday, Oct. 6th. Considered to be one of the “Big Three” jazz guitarists of the late 20th and early 21st century (along with Pat Metheny and Bill Frisell), Scofield has recorded over 30 albums, 22 of which have placed in the top ten on the jazz charts. Also, after multiple nominations, Scofield received his first Grammy in 2016 for Best Jazz Instrumental Album for his 2015 release, Past Present. His current tour, the “Country for Old Men” tour, with keyboard ace John Medeski, bassist Steve Swallow, and percussionist Bill Stewart, will feature jazz interpretations of classic country songs. “We’re going to turn ‘outlaw’ country tunes into Jazz vehicles…. We improvise while keeping the integrity, character and twang of this wonderful American music.” The BSU-associated jazz quartet LaMont’s Company will be the opening act.
The Muncie Three Trails Music Series is dedicated to presenting outstanding national acts free of charge, and also encourages attendees to take advantage of the concert venues’ proximity to our downtown and the three beautiful trails that give the series its name: the White River Greenway, Cardinal Greenway, and Muncie Arts and Culture Trail. We hope attendees will heed our slogan, “Explore the Trails, Enjoy the Music.” Funding for the series comes from a variety of local foundations, including the Ball Brothers Foundation, George and Frances Ball Foundation, the Community Foundation of Muncie and Delaware County, and the Sherman and Marjorie Zeigler Foundation. Many local businesses have also contributed substantial sums over the last two years to help sustain and publicize the series.
The Muncie Three Trails Music Series is a non-profit joint venture of the Muncie Downtown Development Partnership, Muncie Arts and Culture Council, and Rick Zeigler, series founder and organizer.