The HillBenders’ “Tommy: A Bluegrass Opry” and the Amy Helm Band are two of the newcomers this season.
The HillBenders will present “Tommy: A Bluegrass Opry” on Saturday, April 11, at Parrish Auditorium. Originally composed by guitarist Pete Townsend of The Who as a rock opera, “Tommy” has now been fully realized as a full-length bluegrass tribute that pays respect to its creators.
The Amy Helm Band will debut at Dave Finkelman Auditorium in Middletown on Saturday, Nov. 9. Helm, a singer/songwriter, is the daughter of the late Levon Helm, legendary drummer and vocalist for The Band, and singer Libby Titus. Her latest album, “This Too Shall Light” is marked by streaks of Americana, country, blues and gospel.
Another newcomer to the series is the David Bromberg Quintet, who will perform on Saturday, Nov. 16, at Parrish Auditorium. Rooted in Newgrass, Bromberg’s musical journey spans more than five decades and includes adventures with Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Jerry Garcia and other all-time greats. Audiences will experience Bromberg’s legendary mastery of several stringed instruments and multiple styles.
“The Artist Series continues to be a popular draw. It is well established and I’m working hard to earn the trust of ticket buyers that my predecessor and mentor Howard Epstein worked so hard to establish. There is more competition out there than ever before, yet we continue to stand out in terms of quality of talent, affordability, timing and convenience,” Richardson said.
There are also several returning acts this year, including Dailey & Vincent on Saturday, April 25, in Middletown, and Over the Rhine on Saturday, Feb. 22, in Hamilton. Both artists played sold-out shows last year.
“We received an outpouring of ‘bring them back!’ calls after both of their sold-out shows. The experience was as excellent for the performers as it was for the totally engaged audiences,” Richardson said.
Other returning acts will include Rhonda Vincent & The Rage and Steep Canyon Rangers. Reaching beyond the boundaries of bluegrass music, Rhonda Vincent & The Rage will return to Hamilton on Saturday, Oct. 19, at Parrish Auditorium. Vincent’s career spans four decades, and she has worked with artists like Dolly Parton and performed at Merle Fest and Grand Ole Opry, among many more. Her band, the Rage, is one of the most awarded groups in bluegrass.
On Saturday, March 21, Steep Canyon Rangers will play at Dave Finkelman Auditorium in Middletown with special guest Che Apalache, a string band based in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Steep Canyon Rangers’ latest release, “Out in the Open,” is the band’s sixth album to earn the top spot on the bluegrass charts.
“We receive a lot of compliments from concertgoers about the high quality of sound and lighting, the comfort of both auditoriums, and the easy access to the venues with plenty of close-by free parking. We provide much-appreciated shuttle service at Finkelman because the auditorium is located uphill from the parking lot,” Richardson said.
All shows will be on Saturdays. Most will start at 7:30 p.m. with the exception of two — Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers/Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper on Saturday, Sept. 28, and Steep Canyon Rangers with special guest Che Apalache on Saturday, March 21, which will both start at 7 p.m. at Dave Finkelman Auditorium.
Ticket prices vary for each show. Season ticket packages are available at both venues — in Hamilton and Middletown. Tickets are available online at www.miamioh.edu/Regionals/ArtistSeries, or by calling the Miami Middletown Cashier’s Office (513) 727-3412 or the Box Office on the Oxford Campus (513) 529-3200. Tickets are also available at the cashiers’ windows on both the Hamilton and Middletown campuses.
For more information or questions, email RegArtistSeries@MiamiOH.edu or contact Perry Richardson, director of the Artist Series at perry.richardson@MiamiOH.edu or (513) 785-3221.