Country By Night ready for Smyrna At Night

Local band Country By Night will play Thursday's Smyrna By Night festival at 8 p.m. at the Smyrna Opera House. (Submitted photo)

Local band Country By Night will play Thursday’s Smyrna By Night festival at 8 p.m. at the Smyrna Opera House. (Submitted photo)

Country By Night will add a Southern flair to Thursday night’s second annual Smyrna At Night event.

The free, multi-venue, all-ages evening will bring 13 musical acts together around town.

Regional and touring groups from a range of genres will perform at the Painted Stave, both floors of Sheridan’s Irish Pub, the Smyrna Opera House and on the Outdoor Stage in front of Smyrna Town Hall from 5:30 to 10 p.m.

Last year’s inaugural event drew almost 2,000 people.

This will be Country By Night’s first year at Smyrna At Night.

Best Bets logo CLEAR copy“We had a couple of friends play it last year and they said ‘You have to play this,’ ” said drummer Jeff Maddocks.

“We got a hold of (organizer Jeremy Hebbel) and he had seen us out and about and said ‘Sure. We need you guys.’ We’re really excited about it.”

Country By Night started two years ago when guitarist Bob Jones and lead singer Travis Wade, both of Smyrna, were looking for more members to produce a fuller sound to accompany their acoustic duo.

“It got to a point where they were looking at other musicians and names were shot out there and this band started taking flight,” said Mr. Maddocks, a resident of Woodstown, New Jersey, a longtime drummer who also teaches percussion.

The band also includes bassist John Smith of Bear and fiddle player Kerry Craig of Elkton, Maryland, who has played with The Charlie Daniels Band and has been featured on the PBS television show “Austin City Limits.”
Country By Night is part of a growing list of popular local country bands that have sprung up over the last few years.

“We’re friends with quite of few of them and we all fill in for each other if we can’t make a gig,” Mr. Madddocks said.

“There is a great community of friends through all of the bands and not a lot of rivalry. We’re all looking to have a good time.”

Country By Night mainly focuses on covers of Top 40 country tunes but does have an arsenal of original songs.

“Those songs have gone over great. We’ll probably do two or three at Smyrna At Night,” said Mr. Maddocks, whose band will perform from 8 to 8:45 at Smyrna Opera House on West South Street.

Although they have “country” in their title, members aren’t afraid to deviate a bit.

“We like to play great classic rock and some funk and soul,” Mr. Maddocks said.

“We have fun busting out a version of the ‘Fresh Prince (of Bel Air)’ theme song. We feed off the crowd. If they want some craziness, we’ll give them craziness.”

The band has been playing regularly around the area at bars, festivals and events such as Smyrna At Night.

They currently are looking for management to expand their reach.

“We all have full-time jobs beyond music so we’re looking for someone else to take the reins with some of this stuff.

In September we go into the studio to record our original songs and we’ll be looking to get that out,” Mr. Maddocks said.

“We’re by no means looking to be superstars overnight and we’re not looking to leave the locals behind. We just believe in this band so much and we’re just looking to stay on track and keep entertaining fans young and old.”

This year, Smyrna At Night will feature two headliners, both on the Outdoor Stage. New York-based Australian rockers goodbyemotel, return to Smyrna after performing at the Smyrna Opera House this past March. They will play an hour set starting at 8 p.m.

Wrapping up the evening will be Annapolis-based, high-energy soul/funk/rock band, Sweet Leda at 9:15.
Other artists slated to appear include Angela Sheik, No Good Sister, Tim Hein, Surreal Nation, Giada J, Bryan Russo, Todd Chappelle, Single Origin, Minerva and Edna’s Tribe.

Presented by the town of Smyrna and the Smyrna Downtown Renaissance Association, and organized by Gable Music Ventures in association with Strongpoint Marketing, Smyrna At Night also will offer food trucks, including Crave Eatery, The Plum Pit, Fifer Orchards, Maui Wowi Fruit Smoothies, B&K Caterers and Vanderwende Farm Creamery.

For more information on the evening and a band schedule, visit www.smyrnaatnight.com.

Roll out the Barrel

In what seems like the month for local music festivals, plans for the inaugural Big Barrel Country Music Festival, set for June 26-28 at the Woodlands of Dover International Speedway, became clearer this week with the rollout of a daily schedule of acts.

Although no times were announced, it was revealed that headliners Blake Shelton will play on that Friday, Miranda Lambert Saturday and Carrie Underwood will wrap it up Sunday night.

On the second Wildwood Stage, classic country rockers Lynyrd Skynyrd will perform Friday and legends Loretta Lynn and Merle Haggard will perform Saturday and Sunday, respectively.

A third stage will be manned by a disc jockey and have line dancing all weekend long.

Other main stage acts include Chris Young, Jana Kramer and Cassadee Pope on Friday, Gary Allan, Eric Paslay and Jon Pardi on Saturday and Jake Owen, Kacey Musgraves and Dan and Shay on Sunday.

On the Wildwood stage, artists include Sturgill Simpson, Billy Joe Shaver and Hurray for Riff Raff on Friday, Nikki Lane, The Felice Brorthers and Caitlin Rose Saturday and The Oak Ridge Boys, The Del McCoury Band and Shakey Graves Sunday.

A general admission pass is $149 for all three days. There are no single-day passes available.

The pass gives ticketholders access to Big Barrel attractions including the Harvest Moon Dance Hall featuring Barn Burner Saloon, Big Barrel Market, The BBQ Pit and The Patch Family Area

Children 8 years old and younger are admitted free.

Three-day VIP packages are available for $499.

Festival hours are from 12:30 p.m. to midnight all three days with camping check-in hours from noon Thursday to 9 p.m. Friday, Saturday from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 6 a.m. to noon.

For tickets and complete artist information, visit www.bigbarrel.com.

Webb sighting tonight

As we told you last week, tonight is the big Jimmy Webb tribute to Glen Campbell tonight at Dover’s Schwartz Center for the Arts with tickets still available.

In the show, noted songwriter, composer and singer Mr. Webb pays homage to his friend and collaborator, a legendary musician whose impact on American families now extends to his role as one of the most public faces of Alzheimer’s disease.

A centerpiece of the show is when Mr. Webb trades verses with recordings of Mr. Campbell and adds insights to “By the Time I Get to Phoenix,” “Wichita Lineman” and more from various recent performances by the duo. Personal video and photos from Mr. Webb’s private collection and from other friends, mostly never-before-seen, bring back decades of shared musical memories.

In an interview last week, Mr. Webb talked about Mr. Campbell’s versatility as a performer and his connection to other legendary musicians.

As a member of the famed Los Angeles group of session musicians known as The Wrecking Crew, Mr. Campbell played guitar on recordings by performers including Elvis Presley, Dean Martin, the Mamas and the Papas, Ricky Nelson and Bobby Darin.

His guitar playing is featured on Frank Sinatra’s “Strangers in the Night,” and The Monkees’ “I’m a Believer.”
He was also a temporary member of The Beach Boys.

“Brian Wilson had personal problems and didn’t want to go out on their first tour (in 1964),” Mr. Webb recalled.

“Everyone was fit to be tied. Here they had all these hit records and a lot of advance sales and here was a reluctant Brian Wilson who didn’t want to sing. They thought ‘Who do we know that can do his part?’

“Management came to Glen and asked him to come out on the road to sing Brian’s parts on the tour. Brian had this unique falsetto and Glen was able to duplicate it to the point where I’m not sure how many people knew the difference.”

Mr. Webb said that Mr. Campbell regularly kept him laughing.

“He had an almost freakish ability to do impersonations. He would do Elvis, Andy Williams, Roger Williams, Herb Alpert. Glen had a really sharp ear,” he said.

Tonight’s Schwartz audience can expect to hear more stories about Mr. Campbell as well as classic performances.

Tickets for tonight’s show are $30 for adults, $25 for seniors and $20 for children. For tickets, visit www.schwartzcenter.com or call (302) 678-5152.

The Schwartz Center is at 226 S. State St., Dover.

Now showing

New this weekend in theaters is the big-screen version of “Entourage,” Melissa McCarthy in the action-comedy “Spy” and the horror film “Insidious: Chapter 3.”

On DVD and download starting Tuesday is “Kingsman: The Secret Service” and the comedy “The DUFF.”

Reach features editor Craig Horleman at chorl@newszap.com

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