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Blue Highway performance to benefit Duffield firefighters

August 30th, 2012 2:27 am by Wes Bunch

DUFFIELD — One of the biggest names in bluegrass music will perform in Scott County Friday night to help raise money for local firefighters and kick off the 31st edition of Duffield Daze.


Blue Highway, the Grammy-nominated bluegrass band, will perform at the Natural Tunnel State Park amphitheater Friday with opening act Monroeville.


General admission tickets will be on sale for $15 through 9 a.m. Friday and $20 the day of the show. The performance begins at 7 p.m. The amphitheater will open at 5:30 p.m.


While the concert marks the beginning of Duffield Daze 2012, Duffield Volunteer Fire and Rescue Chief Roger Carter said it will also help the department raise funds to cover the purchase of new equipment.


"We're having the concert to help offset some major expenses that we have this year for radio equipment," Carter said. "Because the (Federal Communications Commission) mandated all radios be narrow-band compliant, we had to buy several thousand dollars worth of pagers and radios."


Carter said the department came up with the idea to stage a concert after weighing several other options.


"We played with a couple of different things to do, and Southwest Virginia and Northeast Tennessee are big areas as far as bluegrass music goes, so we thought it would be a good fit," Carter said.


After thinking of several bands, and checking with booking agents, Carter said the decision was made to book Blue Highway.


"We checked their schedule and saw it had an opening ... and everything ended up just falling into place," Carter said. "We didn't have any hiccups anywhere."


Carter added: "We went to the Duffield Daze committee and told them what we wanted to do, and they were receptive to it. We wanted to try and bring more things to Duffield Daze and try to help on that end. ... Getting a band that is nationally known is hard to pull off for a town of 91 people."


The fact that several of the band's members are either from, or reside in, the region also played into the decision to get Blue Highway, Carter said.


Blue Highway mandolin player Shawn Lane is a native of Scott County, while guitarist Tim Scott hails from Kingsport and bassist Wayne Taylor lives in Abingdon.


Those three members, along with Dobro player Rob Ickes and banjo player Jason Burleson, formed Blue Highway in 1994.


Since that time, the band has released nine albums and been nominated for two Grammy awards. Blue Highway has also won a Dove Award and other recognition from the International Bluegrass Music Association and Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America over its 18-year history.


Discount tickets for the concert can be purchased at the Front Porch Store & Deli in Fort Blackmore, Powell Valley Bank locations in Duffield and Big Stone Gap, Circle V Market in Nickelsville, Circle V Petroleum in Weber City, and online at www.ticketriver.com.

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