Big Sound, Small Town: ArtSpring's Local Music Showcase

By Jacob Powers, ArtSpring AmeriCorps Member

On Friday, April 7th, musicians gathered at the Purple Fiddle for an evening benefit concert that showcased the many talents of Tucker County residents and raised financial support for the Thomas-based non-profit, ArtSpring, in preparation for the annual ArtSpring Festival on Memorial Day Weekend. The Local Music Showcase featured a group of artists who donated their time and tunes to benefit Tucker County’s unique arts community.

Thanks to local support, ArtSpring walked away from the evening with over $1500 that will compensate musicians performing during the ArtSpring festival (May 26 -28). Attendees made donations to ArtSpring at the door and purchased raffle tickets for a chance to win items/gift baskets donated by local businesses. ArtSpring Program Coordinator, Erika May, summarized, “The event was a success in every sense…The turnout was lovely, the sense of community was palpable…Our local contingent came out in droves, with all their beautiful smiles and wicked dance moves.” This event epitomized the amazing support that local artists receive from the Tucker County community and demonstrated once again that a vibrant, revitalized arts scene is here to stay.

Fourteen artists provided the entertainment for the evening starting with the showcase’s youngest musician, Arianna Villar, whose strong voice and songwriting talent set the tone for the evening. Ben Mckean & Friends followed with some rousing folk rock tunes that started to get the crowd moving while The Cheat Mountain Homesteaderz brought an authentic West Virginia mountain sound to the stage with the inclusion of a Dobro in their set. The 3Cs shifted the soundscape from acoustic folk to electrified rock with a dash of R&B. The first of two headliners followed their performance, as local favorite Gravel Quire took the stage gripping the audience with beautiful harmonies mixed with technical grooves. The Chaga Tea Project rounded out the night’s group of musicians with tight, bluesy jams.  After five hours of music, the revved-up crowd enjoyed a ‘Superjam’ featuring musicians from previous acts as well as local musician Erika May, known as EMay.

“Tucker County’s local talent was on full display for the ArtSpring fundraiser…I feel spoiled to be surrounded by so much varietal, eclectic music,” said Cory Chase, who played on drums with two bands. ArtSpring could not have asked for more generous, passionate performances from this diverse group of local performers.

If you would like to be more closely involved with ArtSpring’s activities and stay up to date with ArtSpring happenings, please email to sign up for the ArtSpring mailing list.