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ESC announces 2023 concert series lineup

Amazing live music is coming to The Earl Scruggs Center (ESC) in Uptown Shelby. The ESC recently released its Center Stage Concert Series lineup for 2023.

"This outstanding slate of award-winning artists features multiple Grammy winners and nominees, as well as IBMA (International Bluegrass Music Association) and Americana-recognized artists. It showcases the diversity and far-reaching impact of American traditional music," says ESC Executive Director Mary Beth Martin.

The Center Stage Concert Series includes six shows, with the first on March 23, 2023 and the last on August 10, 2023. A limited number of season passes for the entire series are available, with preferred seating as an add-on option. Tickets may also be purchased for individual shows.

"Center Stage Concert Series shows take place in the Great Hall at the Earl Scruggs Center, a beautiful 100-seat venue that gives music fans the opportunity to experience outstanding performances in an intimate and comfortable setting," says Martin.

Doors to the Great Hall at the ESC open 30 minutes prior to show time, and a cash bar will be available at each event.

"We encourage concert attendees to arrive early to explore the Earl Scruggs Center's exhibits and to visit uptown Shelby shops and restaurants before the show," says Martin.

Here is a list of this year's series artists and performance dates:

Rob Ickes & Trey Hensley • 6 p.m., Thursday, March 23, 2023 • Ticket Price: $30. Rob Ickes and Trey Hensley are a powerhouse acoustic duo that has electrified the acoustic music scene around the world. Known for their white-hot picking and world-class musicianship as well as their soulful stone-country vocals, the Grammy-nominated duo cleverly and uniquely melds bluegrass, country, blues, rock, jam grass, and string band music of all kinds to create a signature blend of music that defies restrictions of genre.

Bill & The Belles • 6 p.m. on Thursday, April 13, 2023 • Ticket Price: $25. Bill and The Belles, a string band from Johnson City, Tennessee, combines expert musicianship and unique vocals to create a spirited sound that blends the past with the present. By putting their own spin on the music of the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s, the group delights with their candid songwriting, energetic stage presence and pop sensibilities.

Jake Blount • 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 25, 2023 • Ticket Price: $25. A powerfully gifted musician and a scholar of Black American music, Jake Blount speaks ardently about the African roots of the banjo and the subtle, yet profound, ways African Americans have shaped and defined the amorphous categories of roots music and Americana. As an award-winning performer of spirituals, blues, and string band repertoire, Blount has performed at the Kennedy Center, the Newport Folk Festival, and many other venues across the country and internationally.

Andrew Finn Magill Jazz Quartet • 6 p.m. on Thursday, June 22, 2023 • Ticket Price: $25. NC violinist/fiddler Andrew Finn Magill is a Fulbright Fellow, a South Arts Emerging Traditional Artist, an NC Arts Council Fellow, an all-Ireland Fiddle finalist, and a Ropeadope Records recording artist. His new jazz endeavor, "The Polaris Project," synthesizes Magill's years living and working as a musician in Ireland, Malawi, Ghana, Brazil and the Southern US. The band features world-class and Grammy-winning musicians.

The Barefoot Movement • 6 p.m. on Thursday, July 20, 2023 • Ticket Price: $30. This acclaimed Americana group has carved out an indelible space in the acoustic scene since their 2011 debut album, "Footwork." The Barefoot Movement's sound is invigorating, infused with a captivating honesty that transports audiences to a place of complete enthrallment. Their performances are heartfelt, energetic and folksy.

Mark & Maggie O'Connor • 6 p.m. on Thursday, August 10, 2023 Ticket Price: $30. Mark O'Connor began his creative journey at the feet of American fiddle legend Benny Thomasson and the iconic French jazz violinist Stephane Grappelli. Throughout his award-winning career, he has melded these influences into a new American classical music. Mark and his wife and duo partner, Maggie, have existed in an uninterrupted musical collaboration since the day they met in 2014. Mining a huge body of repertoire that has made its impact on American music, the selected tunes and arrangements by O'Connor represent stylistic importance, pedagogical value and timeless appeal.

To purchase Center Stage season passes or individual show tickets, visit www.earlscruggscenter.org/events or call 704-487-6233. Earl Scruggs Center hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. with extended hours on Wednesdays until 6 p.m.

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