Irish, folk and Americana band Scythian will kick off a summer of music at Blue Ridge Music Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The concert series will be in the outdoor amphitheater at the base of Fisher Peak at Milepost 213.
“We’re so excited and honored to be playing at the Blue Ridge Music Center at their amazing amphitheater right in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains this year,” Scythian posted on the band’s website.
Scythian, a Washington, D.C.-based group, has grown to be a headliner at Celtic and bluegrass/Americana festivals. Frequent performers at MerleFest and Bristol Rhythm & Roots, the group is well-known by fans of these events. The Washington Post wrote that “Scythian’s enthusiasm is contagious, and shows seem to end with everyone dancing, jumping around or hoisting glasses.” For more than 12 years, they have toured across the United States and in Europe, Canada and Australia.
Spencer Branch will open the show at 7 p.m. The group is the collaboration of siblings Martha and Kilby Spencer from Whitetop Mountain, Va., along with North Carolina native Kelley Breiding. Their music, a blend of original and traditional songs, draws from their mountain heritage, as well as traditional country and bluegrass. Their vocal harmonies and rousing fiddle tunes are a powerful combination.
Tickets are $25 in advance at blueridgemusiccenter.org/concert-events/scythian. No tickets will be sold on the day of the show. Children 12 and younger are free.
During the concert, The Galax Smokehouse will be on site serving its signature barbecue, sides, drinks and desserts.
The June 5 concert is the first of the 13 concert Roots of American Music summer series at the Blue Ridge Music Center. Concerts are held most Saturday evenings at 7 p.m. through Labor Day. Additional concerts are:
June 12: Symphony Unbound presents Hank, Pattie & The Current with the Winston-Salem Symphony String Quartet (hankandpattie.com, wssymphony.org). Veteran bluegrass performers Hank Smith on banjo and Pattie Hopkins Kinlaw on fiddle will join a string quartet from Winston-Salem Symphony. The Current includes Billie Feather on guitar and Stevie Martinez on bass. $25.
June 19: Amythyst Kiah with Aaron Burdett (amythystkiah.com, AaronBurdett.com). Kiah, a Tennessee-raised singer/songwriter, earned a Grammy nomination in 2019 with her standout song “Black Myself” for Best American Roots song. Kiah also performs with Our Native Daughters, a group that also features Greensboro native Rhiannon Giddens. Burdett is an Americana and folk singer-songwriter and performer from Western North Carolina. $25.
June 26: Mipso with Shay Martin Lovette (mipsomusic.com, shaymartinlovette.com). Mipso is fiddle player Libby Rodenbough of Greensboro, mandolinist Jacob Sharp of Morganton, guitarist Joseph Terrell of High Point and bassist Wood Robinson of Greensboro. The band plays old-time music featuring four-part harmonies. Lovette plays folk, indie and roots music. Volkaert is one of the country’s top Telecaster guitar slingers. He won a Grammy in 2009 for Best Country Instrumental Performance. $25.
July 3: The Malpass Brothers with Redd Volkaert (themalpassbrothers.com, reddvolkaert.com). The Malpass Brothers feature Christopher on guitar and Taylor on mandolin with both on vocals, these brothers play and remote classic country music with a side of humor. Galax, Va., resident Volkaert is among the country’s top Telecaster guitar slingers. He won a Grammy in 2009 for Best Country Instrumental Performance. $20.
July 10: Steep Canyon Rangers with Lakota John (steepcanyon.com, musicmaker.org/artists/lakota-john-locklear). The Asheville-based bluegrass band members are frequent collaborators of Steve Martin. The band members are Woody Platt on guitar and vocals, Graham Sharp (of Greensboro) on banjo and vocals, Mike Guggino on mandolin/mandola and vocals, Nicky Sanders on fiddle and vocals, Mike Ashworth on drums and vocals, and Barrett Smith on bass and vocals. John Lakota Locklear uses his guitar for jaunty ragtimes and lilting blues music, as well as to represent his American Indian heritage. This concert is sold out.
July 17: Sierra Ferrell with Dori Freeman (sierraferrellmusic.com, dorifreeman.com). Ferrell is a singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who spent her early 20s busking across the country. Her music is called alternative and indie, but she calls it a “jingle-janglin’ gypsy tornado.” Freeman, of Galax, Va., is a country/folk singer/songwriter. $25.
July 24: Becky Buller Bluegrass Band with Laurelyn Dossett (beckybuller.com, laurelyndossett.com). Buller is a multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter and producer who has traversed the globe performing bluegrass music. Singer/songwriter Dossett, who is from the Triad, is often sought out for collaborations with musicians, playwrights and others. $20.
July 31: Tui with the Dedicated Men of Zion. (tuiband.com, concertedefforts.com/roster/dedicated-men-of-zion). Tui (pronounced too-wee) is an internationally touring old-time duo made up of Jake Blount and Libby Weitnauer. Dedicated Men of Zion, made up of Anthony Daniels, Antoine Daniels, Dexter Weaver, and Marcus Sugg, performs four-part harmonies. $20.
Aug. 7: Chatham Rabbits with Kate Rhudy (chathamrabbits.com, katerhudy.com). Chatham Rabbits, made up of the husband-wife team of Austin and Sarah McCombie, perform Americana music. Raleigh-based Rhudy plays indie folk music. $25.
Aug. 21: Tuba Skinny (tubaskinny.com). Tuba Skinny embraces spirituals, Depression-era blues, ragtime, traditional jazz and more to evoke the rich musical heritage of their New Orleans home. $20.
Aug. 28: Joe Troop (of Che Apalache) & Friends with Tray Wellington Band. (cheapalache.com, traywellington.com). Troop of the Latin grass group Che Apalache writes acoustic old-time music sung in English, Spanish and Japanese. Wellington fuses jazz, progressive bluegrass, blues, rock and more into his banjo music. $20.
Sept. 4: Jeff Little Trio with Wayne Henderson & Herb Key (jefflittle.net, waynehenderson.org/wayne-henderson, blueridgeheritage.com/artist/herb-key). Jeff Little Trio includes piano in its Appalachian and Americana music. Little plays piano and harmonica. Award-winning Steve Lewis plays acoustic guitar and five-string banjo. And Luke Little plays mandolin and acoustic guitar. Henderson is an award-winning luthier and finger-picking guitarist. Key is a luthier who plays bluegrass and old-time. $20.
The Music Center is taking precautions during concerts to make the experience as safe as possible for visitors. Those who have a fever, cough, aches and pains, loss of smell or taste, difficulty breathing or are sneezing and coughing are asked to please stay at home.
Concert attendees must maintain 6 feet of distance between groups throughout the evening, including when standing in line and selecting seating locations in the amphitheater. When in high traffic areas, guests should wear masks to protect others.