March brings roots and blues to the Opera House
Springtime is just around the corner, and the Opera House is heating up as two great groups from the two Virginias prepare to grace the stage this month. On March 13, Trent Wagler and The Steel Wheels, will pay a visit from the Shenandoah Valley for an evening of original Americana roots music. The next weekend, March 20, Greenbrier Valley favorite Sweety will again bring their swinging groove to the Opera House. Both performances begin at 7:30 p.m.
The acoustic music of Trent Wagler & The Steel Wheels ranges from old time, country folk, infused with elements of gospel, blues, and rock and roll.
Wagler has been singing since the age of four. He grew up Mennonite, singing four-part harmonies in a family gospel quartet. His musical training includes punk rock, jam bands, select university choirs, traditional Arabic music and his grandfatherﾒs harmonica.
The Steel Wheels joined Wagler in January 2005, adding a fresh sound and exciting energy to his songwriting. The Steel Wheels are Brian Dickel on bass, Eric Brubaker on fiddle, and Jay Lapp on mandolin.
Wagler and the Steel Wheels have toured internationally and across the US.
They have shared the stage with Robin and Linda Williams, Tim Reynolds, Marshall Crenshaw, Carrie Newcomer, Over the Rhine, John McCutcheon, and Adrienne Young and Little Sadie among others.
Together, Wagler and the Wheels have assembled a loyal following that appreciates the honest, deceptively simple sound, with raw emotion and strong musicianship.
Sweety has been performing in Pocahontas County and the Greenbrier Valley since 2002.
This ensemble of talent has developed a strong following in the area as they showcase their original music and cover tunes from various artists, including Deanna Boggart, Bonnie Raitt, Rod Piazza, Sippie Wallace, Toni Price, Shemekia Copeland, Duke Ellington and Chuck Berryﾗall with a Sweety twist.
Christine Campbell sings with finesse and fury; her powerful vocals stay with you long after the show has ended. Her musical debut was in the early 90s, singing everything from country to classic rock. She eventually found her soul in the blues.
Keyboardist Bill Clapham creates the musical drama in Sweety. Bill spent years performing and songwriting in the New England music scene. Claphamﾒs talent sets the tempo for the bandﾒs hot rhythm section.
The flawless, driving bass lines of Virgil Kris Kelly provide the backbone for Sweetyﾒs swing and groove. Virgil studied music at WVU and Berklee College of Music. Virgil also plays with the West Virginia Jazz Orchestra and is a charter member of the Andrew Lewis Volunteer Fife and Drum Corps.
Campbell, Clapham and Kelly write all of their unique originals and sustain the core of Sweety.
They are also joined by Philip McLaughlin, a native of Greenbrier County and rhythm guitar player of the band Steel Pterodactyl, who rocked out the local venues and beyond in the late ﾑ90s.
Philipﾒs steadfast rhythm pulls together the unique sound this band delivers. Sweetyﾒs percussionist, Ben Hunt, is a fabulous up-coming young drummer. Ben is a member of the Greenbrier East Spartan Marching/Concert Band and plays with various local musicians. Benﾒs energy and style adds exceptional flare to this well-established ensemble.
The Pocahontas County Opera House is located at 818 Third Avenue in Marlinton. Admission is $7 at the door. Children 12 and under are admitted free. For information on other upcoming Opera House events, visit www.pocahontasoperahouse.org, or call the Opera House at 304-799-6645.
These performances are part of the 2009-2010 Performance Series sponsored by the Pocahontas County Opera House Foundation with financial assistance through a grant from the West Virginia Division of Culture and History and the National Endowment for the Arts, with approval from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts. Financial support is also provided by Pocahontas County Drama, Fairs and Festivals.
Please note: The performance by acoustic world beat ensemble Comparsa, originally scheduled for February 6 was cancelled due to snow. It has been rescheduled for April 24. The performance begins at 7:30 p.m., with salsa dancing lessons half an hour prior to the show.