Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center’s Fall Concert Series will present three concerts in September, premiering on Friday, September 2 with a performance by Jerry Butler & The Blu-J’s. All the concerts begin at 7:00 pm and are presented in the Heritage Center’s outdoor amphitheater which has a roof over the entire amphitheater so that concerts take place rain or shine.
Based in Knoxville, Jerry Butler & The Blu-J’s are bluegrass festival favorites. Their repertoire consists of original and traditional bluegrass songs, familiar classic country songs and heartfelt gospel.
Band leader/guitarist/vocalist Jerry Butler began playing and singing bluegrass music at the age of twelve. His first band, The Knoxville Newgrass Boys, included Phil Leadbetter, a classmate and dobro virtuoso. They started out playing at high schools and then played at festivals around the South and even performed at the White House during the Bicentennial. Butler has also performed with Lynwood Lunsford & the Misty Valley Boys, The Joe Isaacs Band, and Pine Mountain Railroad.
On September 9, The Grassabillies are returning to the Heritage Center after making a big splash at their Fall Concert Series debut last year. Hailing from Gatlinburg in the Great Smoky Mountains, The Grassabillies are a musical group of family and friends that plays bluegrass music with no rules and no apologies. The star of the show is vivacious vocalist/songwriter/guitarist Kata Hay. A native of Oklahoma and a talented yodeler, she holds the distinction of being the youngest person to win the Ed McMahon Star Search at age five. She then went on to tour the country, opening concerts and working with such artists as LeAnn Rimes, Rascal Flatts, Ray Price, Kitty Wells, Mickey Gilley, and Barbara Mandrell. In 2005, she took a job in one of the music theaters in Pigeon Forge, TN, where she met Robbie Helton, her future husband, band-mate, and co-writer. They later became featured performers at Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede and formed two bands, Kata Hay & The Blaze and The Grassabillies.
The Fall Concert Series will conclude with a performance by The LoneTones from Knoxville. Also making their second appearance at the Heritage Center, The LoneTones are a very talented group of songwriters and musicians with a unique acoustic sound. They play original, Appalachian roots-based music that stretches the “tradition.” They’ve been called modern folk, Americana, folk rock, folkadelic, and more by various music writers attempting to describe their music. At the center of the band are married couple Steph Gunnoe (guitar and vocals) and Sean McCollough (banjo, mandolin, guitar, keys and vocals). They are backed by the strong rhythm section of Maria Williams (bass and vocals) and Steve Corrigan (drums and glockenspiel).
The Fall Concert Series is sponsored by Boyd’s Jig & Reel. Admission to each concert is $5.00 per person at the door, with Heritage Center members admitted free. Food and beverage concessions are available for purchase on site. No coolers, food, drink, or pets are allowed. For more information, call the Center at 865-448-0044 or visit their website.