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Karl Shiflett brings Big Country to Broad

staff report • Aug 9, 2011 at 5:51 AM

Known for its retro stage act, The Karl Shiflett and Big County Show captures the spirt of classic country and bluegrass acts of the 1940s and 50s.Karl Shiflett brings Big Country to Broad The five-piece bluegrass band known as The Karl Shiflett and Big Country Show will make its way to downtown Kingsport for Friday night’s Bluegrass on Broad concert series. Show time is 7 p.m. at the corner of Broad and Market streets. Karl Shiflett and his son Kris Shiflett along with Dillon Scott, C.J. Lewandowski and Charlie Lawson have been performing together since 1993. Growing up in Texas, Karl Shiflett developed a love for traditional country music early in life and began playing guitar at the age of 9. Drawing on influences ranging from Roy Acuff to Hank Williams to Bob Willis, Shiflett began chasing his own dreams and launched his professional bluegrass career as a side man in the 1980s, performing with the Legendary Sullivan Family. Throughout his career, Shiflett has attempted to keep the “spirit of the past” alive through his music. Boasting a sound that’s all his own, he blends elements of classic country, Western swing and honky tonk. Shiflett passed his love for music along to his son, Kris, who joined the Big Country Show as its bass player at the age of 16. Kris Shiflett began playing tuba in his school’s band when he was 12. Years later he discovered the bass, and like his father, has developed his own unique style of playing that sets him apart from others in the bluegrass genre. The youngest member of the band, Dillon Scott grew up playing the guitar, but at the age of 12 discovered his passion for the banjo and bluegrass music. He joined Big Country as a banjo player and harmony singer in 2008. Band member C.J. Lewandowski also learned to sing at an early age. Lewandowski grew up singing in church, but it wasn’t until later that he discovered a love for bluegrass. Before joining Karl Shiflett and the Big Country Show, Lewandowski toured with acts such as David Davis and the Warrior River Boys as well as The Men of the Week, which he co-founded with Dillon Scott. Rounding out the band is Charlie Lewis, who also joined Big Country in 2010. At the age of 11, Lawson began playing the piano and mandolin. He later learned how to play all of the bluegrass instruments, including fiddle. By the time he turned 13 he was the front man of his own group, Charlie Lawson and Oak Hill. Admission to Friday’s concert is free. Bring a lawn chair but leave the coolers and pets at home.

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