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Rising star Hunter Hayes headed to Fun Fest

REBEKAH WILSON • Jul 12, 2013 at 11:44 AM

Emerging country artists Hunter Hayes, The Henningsens and Ella Mae Bowen will sing some unrecorded originals and others that were certified gold within weeks of their release at the Friday night, July 19, Fun Fest concert at J. Fred Johnson Stadium.

Grammy-nominated songwriter and multi-talented musician Hunter Hayes has enjoyed lavish success in the dawn of his young career.

Though he is only 21, the multi-platinum artist has performed on “Late Show With David Letterman,” “Good Morning America,” “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon,” “The Talk,” “E! News” and “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” He also appeared on the ABC television special “The CMA Music Festival: Country's Night to Rock” performing his double-platinum hit “Wanted.”

He won New Artist of the Year at the 2012 Country Music Association Awards.

“Storm Warning,” Somebody’s Heartbreak” and “I Want Crazy” are gold singles on his gold self-titled album.

At only 4 years old, he sang “Jambalaya” with Hank Williams Jr. At age 6, actor Robert Duvall gave him his first guitar after inviting him to perform in the film “Apostle.” He recorded his first album at age 9 and his second at 10.

In his late teens, he recorded an album, played all the instruments on it and then used it as a sales pitch to producers to demonstrate his versatility.

He stays busy writing, recording and performing and said that when one aspect becomes dull, he can shift gears to creative writing or recording.

“It allows it to never get old and to never get stressful,” he said. “And when it gets stressful, I just go into another aspect of what I do.”

On his self-titled album, he played about 30 different instruments, wrote or co-wrote all the songs and sang all vocal parts. He is re-releasing the album as “Encore” with additional songs and re-recorded hits.

He opened 10 shows on the Carrie Underwood Blown Away Tour earlier this year and sang the national anthem at a New Orleans Saints football game.

He won Male Country Artist of the Year at the 2013 Teen Choice Awards and continues to impress fans with his lyrics and prodigious instrumentals.

Prior to Hayes‘ performance, family trio The Henningsens will perform songs from their self-titled EP and album-in-progress “American Beautiful.”

Father Brian (bass, guitar, vocals), daughter Clara (lead vocals, guitar) and son Aaron (guitar, vocals) hail from a 1,700-acre farm in Atwood, Ill. They built a home in Tennessee and played one of their first public sets in 2007 at an open microphone event in Nashville.

They toured with country music icon Brad Paisley as a part of his 2013 Beat This Summer Tour.

Grammy Award-winning, multi-million-selling producer Paul Worley is producing their debut album “American Beautiful,” which was released on July 2.

Ella Mae Bowen, a blossoming 17-year-old country artist, will open the show at 7 p.m. Big Machine Records signed her in 2011, and she has been writing with top tunesmiths in Nashville, including Keith Urban.

She plays guitar, bass and banjo and either wrote or co-wrote all of the songs for her debut EP.

She is currently recording an album and preparing for fall tour dates. She said she hopes the album has honest and poignant lyrics with a sound that is organic, yet progressive for the country genre.

Bowen stepped into the spotlight with her cover of “Holding Out for a Hero” on the “Footloose” movie and soundtrack released in 2011.

The soundtrack also features Hayes singing “Almost Paradise” with Victoria Justice. Bowen has met Hayes on a few occasions and said he is amazing and she looks forward to seeing his live show.

Sponsors for the Friday night concert are American Electric Power, AGC Glass Company North America, Domtar and radio sponsor WXBQ. Additional sponsors are Eastman Credit Union and the Kingsport Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Ticket packages are available online at funfest.net. The Thursday and Friday package is $25, the Thursday and Saturday or Friday and Saturday package is $30 and the three-night package is $45.

Remaining single night tickets are available at the Fun Fest Store inside the Kingsport Area Chamber of Commerce at 400 Clinchfield St. in downtown Kingsport. A Thursday or Friday ticket is $15 and Saturday tickets are $20. VIP packages for this show are sold out.

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