CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Charleston is two weeks from launching its 14th season of free Friday evening concerts in Haddad Riverfront Park, and today dozens of people involved with Moses Auto Group Live on the Levee gathered to announce the schedule for the 2017 series. This year’s lineup of concerts from the Schoenbaum Stage includes a wide cross section of musical styles, some national acts, plenty of West Virginia performers and fireworks shows to kick off the season Memorial Day weekend and close the season on the Friday of Labor Day weekend.
“Live on the Levee began in 2004 with local bands playing on a temporary stage for ten Fridays in a wide open and often overheated concrete park,” Charleston Mayor Danny Jones recalled. “Now, thanks to the canopy in Haddad Park, the Schoenbaum Stage and growing commitment of our sponsors and organizers, the Moses Auto Group Live on the Levee is a 15-week showcase of talent on Charleston’s front porch along the river, a staple of summer in our city and a centerpiece of several special weekends.”
“Thanks to 44 sponsors this year – led by Moses Auto Group – Live on the Levee has become a community celebration that is paid for through widespread community support,” said City Council President Tom Lane, who first proposed the concert series in 2003. “We started with the theme, ‘Good Fun for a Good Cause,’ and have been true to that promise with great music, great fun and strong support for our agencies that focus on homelessness in out city.”
“When you think of all the great things to do in Charleston during the spring and summer months, the Moses Auto Group Live on the Levee is usually the first thing that comes to mind – and was just voted the Favorite Event in the CVB’s annual Charleston People’s Choice Awards for tourism,” said Jim Strawn who serves as primary emcee for the season and raises sponsorship money. “Clearly Live on the Levee has grown to where it adds great value to our community as a whole – and serious value to the businesses and organizations that sponsor it throughout the summer.”
“Moses Auto Group has a significant stake in Charleston with our dealership being in downtown, and we are proud to be a strong supporter of such a great event that brings our community together every Friday during the summer months,” said Suzanne Moses Persinger. “As someone with an interest in a wide variety or music, I am delighted that this year’s lineup offers something for just about everyone.”
“This is perhaps the most diversity we’ve had in a schedule in regard to styles of music,” said Adam Harris, chair of the Live on the Levee Music Committee and executive producer of West Virginia Public Radio’s “Mountain Stage.” “This season has lot of soul, R&B and funk, plenty of country, but also some bluegrass, classic rock and some modern original artists. We have 13 first timers among local and regional performers and five returning favorites from years past – Qiet, Carpenter Ants, Company Stores, The Band Wagon and Mothers Nature.
The city continues to collaborate with various organizations in Charleston to present performances that will reflect several special events during the summer months that coincide with Friday evenings. This year organizations and/or events include: Special Olympics’ Summer Games, Capitol City Biker Bash, FestivALL Charleston, Friends of Old-time Music and Dance [FOOTMAD], Multi-Fest, and the annual Sportsfest/West Virginia Games.
The non-profit agency partners include the Roark Sullivan Lifeway Center, YWCA’s Sojourners shelter, Covenant House, RCCR’s Samaritan Inn and Manna Meal.
CONCERT HIGHLIGHTS AND HEADLINERS:
Headlining attractions at Live on the Levee in 2017 include Landau Eugene Murphy Jr., 10,000 Maniacs, Sundy Best and TUSK- The Ulitmate Fleetwood Mac Tribute.
Other highlights include a special reunion show from mid-80s Charleston-based band Stark Raven, Americana star Nora Jane Struthers & the Party Line, plus modernized soul music from DeRobert & the Halftruths and Southern Avenue.
America’s Got Talent winner and Logan native Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. will headline a special edition of the Moses Auto Group Live on the Levee Friday June 23 as part of FestivALL Charleston. While he’s known for his interpretation of classic American singers like Cole Porter, Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra, Murphy continues to expand his artistic horizons and cover new ground. His Independence Day celebration performances at Haddad Riverfront Park have seen record-setting attendance.
One of the most critically acclaimed bands of the last three decades, 10,000 Maniacs, who appear on July 21, defined college rock and created the first wave of alternative rock bands and what became known as the alternative rock format on FM radio. Featured vocalist Mary Ramsey has been with the band since original singer Natalie Merchant departed in 1995. Their hits include “Because the Night”, “More Than This”, “Trouble Me” and “Eat For Two.”
Five seasoned, well-respected musicians comprising TUSK have been making music together in various combinations and styles, from complete originals to covers, for more than 30 years. Now they’ve come together again to form the Ultimate Fleetwood Mac Tribute, paying homage to a group that dominated the charts during the band members’ formative years. TUSK, appearing Aug. 25, takes its audience members on a sweet ride down memory lane and leaves no stone unturned in replicating the sounds of one of the world’s best-loved, top-selling bands.
Emerging from Lexington, Ky., the duo of Kris Bentley and Nick Jamerson have made a name for themselves as Sundy Best, and will bring their blend of classic rock, modern country music and pure, sing-a-long pop on July 7. Their latest release, “Salvation City,” was recorded in the midst of 2014, a year when they made multiple appearances on the Grand Ole Opry and headlined a sold-out show in New York City.
Alabama born country singer Ashton Shepherd will bring her spunky brand of modern country to the levee stage on Aug. 18. Her 2011 album “Where Country Grows” featured her top 20 hit “Look It Up.”
Stark Raven, formed in the mid-1980’s in Charleston was a genre bending band that played for thousands of excited fans throughout West Virginia and the United States during the nine years that they were together. The band played their last concert in 1992 and on Aug. 11 will perform publicly for the first time in 25 years. Three of the members, Ron Sowell, Ammed Solomon and Julie Adams, became members of the house-band for the West Virginia-based radio program Mountain Stage. Violinist Deni Bonet and bassist John Kessler left to pursue solo careers and multi-instrumentalist Bob Webb became a sought after recording engineer.
Live on the Levee continues to showcase the best of local and regional talent, bringing the music of the region to a wider audience. This season, 13 local talent are making their first appearance at the event, while returning favorites from years past include Mothers Nature (for the Special Olympics opening ceremonies June 2), The Company Stores (June 16), Qiet (July 21), Carpenter Ants (June 23) and The Band Wagon (August 11).
The season begins on Friday, May 26th as part of FestivALL’s Preview Weekend, headlined by the dynamic R&B, soul and funk of Nashville-based DeRobert & the Half Truths. Led by church-raised, Memphis-born DeRobert Adams, the band has spent the last decade putting Music City soul back on the map. This high-energy show promises to kick of the season with style, starting with Huntington’s funk and soul-revivalists, The MFB opening.
The season closes on Sept. 1, when Memphis-based band Sothern Avenue brings its home city’s soul, blues and gospel traditions to the stage, while adding a youthful spirit and dynamic energy all their own. Their self-titled debut album is a blend of gospel-tinged R&B vocals, roots/blues-based guitar work and soul-inspired songwriting. Southern Avenue’s upcoming release on the fabled Stax label is a testament to the young combo’s talent and vision.
|26-May||O: The M.F.B.||Fireworks|
|H: DeRobert and the Halftruths|
|2-Jun||H: Mothers Nature Band featuring Lola Spencer||Special Olympics|
|Opening Ceremony SOWV Summer Games|
|9-Jun||O: Jack Dunlap and the 2 Dollar Short Band||Capitol City Biker Bash|
|H: Joe Hunt Project Band|
|16-Jun||O: William Matheny||FestivALL|
|H: The Company Stores|
|23-Jun||O: Carpenter Ants||FestivALL|
|H: Landau Eugene Murphy Jr.|
|30-Jun||O: Of the Dell||WTSQ Night|
|H: Whiskey Daredevils|
|7-Jul||O:Union Sound Treaty||Veteran’s Night|
|H: Sundy Best|
|14-Jul||O: No Pretty Pictures|
|H: Split Nixon|
|H: 10,000 Maniacs|
|28-Jul||O: Gypsy Rhythm||FOOTMAD Night|
|H: Nora Jane Struthers and the Party Line|
|4-Aug||O: Multifest All-Star Show Band||Multi Fest|
|H: Priscilla Price|
|11-Aug||O: The Band Wagon|
|H: Stark Raven|
|18-Aug||O: Seth Bunting||SportsFest|
|H: Ashton Shepherd|
|25-Aug||O: Tim Bowning & The Widowmakers|
|H: TUSK – The Ultimate Fleetwood Mac Tribute|
|1-Sep||O: To be determined||Fireworks|
|H: Southern Avenue|
Special thanks to our sponsors:
Title: Moses Auto Group
Gold: AARP, Aetna Health Care, AmherstMadison, Charleston Convention & Visitors Bureau, Fast Signs, Sears Monument, Terradon Corporation, Walker Machinery, Redeemer Lutheran Church, Spriggs Distributing, Mountain State Beverage, CASCI, Charleston Marine, HealthSmart, and WTSQ
Contributing Sponsors: AEP, Bowles Rice, Bridge Valley Community & Technical College, C.B. Hall Insurance Agency, Express Employment, Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield West Virginia, United Talent, University of Charleston, ZMM, Pickering Associates, Ear Nose & Throat, Recovery Bar and Grille, Asher Agency, Devonshire, Budget Towing, Bell Law Firm, CAMC, C&H Taxi, SCHS Class of ’97, and FOOTMAD.
For more information regarding Live on the Levee, contact the City Manager’s office at 304-348-8014.