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Live show sets Savannah Jack apart

staff report • Aug 23, 2011 at 4:07 AM

From playing honky-tonks on lower Broadway in Nashville to opening arena dates for John Fogerty, Vince Gill and the legendary Kenny Rogers, Savannah Jack’s members have honed their skills as outstanding live entertainers who captivate audiences from the very first note. Founding members Don Gatlin, Jay Darby and Matt Crouse are joined by newcomers Matthew Thomas Schumacher on fiddle and harmony vocals, and Jon Lewyckyj on lead g u i t a r. Savannah Jack’s 2011 tour has taken them from New York to Hawaii and all points in between. They will perform at 7 p.m., Friday, on the Museum Stage at the Appalachian Fair in Gray. Gate admission is $8 for adults, $3 for children ages 6-11 and free for children 5 and younger. Parking is $3 per vehicle. Since forming in 2004, Savannah Jack has toured both nationally and abroad. The band’s live show was recognized as one of the “Top 10 Concerts of 2010” in the greater Pittsburgh area. Their debut CD, “I Know,” was released in May 2010 and is available on i Tu n e s . All three original members infuse their individual style to collectively create Savannah Jack’s unique sound. Easily taking the lead on vocals in their live shows, each comes from a musical family and has been singing and playing their individual instruments from a young age. Their musical influences range from Ronnie Milsap, The Gatlin Brothers, Kenny Rogers and Restless Heart to The Beatles, Tom Petty and The Eagles. Drummer Crouse has played with the likes of Sheryl Crow and Jo Dee Messina. Prior to joining Savannah Jack, Schumacher toured with country star Phil Vassar for seven years, playing fiddle and adding vocal harmonies. “I’m excited to be on board with these guys,” Schumacher said. “Their professionalism and musicianship are at the highest level — they’re great entertainers.” “Being on the road with these guys is really a blast,” Darby added. “Don is like a light switch that’s always on — there’s never a dull moment.” Born and raised in Florida, Darby started out playing the drums at age 10 while his brother played the guitar. He sold his drum set to buy his first guitar but continued playing percussion in the high school band. Gatlin grew up in Beaver Falls, Penn., where he started singing for his neighbors for 25 cents or a piece of bubble gum. His mother was a talented singer who had the opportunity to open for her heroes, Kitty Wells and Wilma Lee Cooper. “We truly are like family,” Gatlin said. “We have a lot of fun on the road and you never know what we’ll do next.”Courtesy of Savannah Jack

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