Robert Earl Keen, Shelby Lynne, Rhett Miller and Black Prairie kick off West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s “Mountain Stage with Larry Groce” 30th year of live music. Showtime is set for 7 p.m. at the West Virginia University Creative Arts Center. Tickets are on sale now at the Mountainlair and Creative Arts Center box offices, online at ticketmaster.com or by calling 304-293-SHOW and 800-745-3000.

Singer-songwriter Robert Earl Keen has established himself as one of alternative country’s most engaging live performers on the roadhouse circuit. Capable of coaxing a two-step out of the most reticent audience member and planting a tear in the beer of the toughest customer, Keen’s persuasive style has also helped him win friends and influence contemporaries like Jack Ingram, Pat Green and Todd Snider, all of whom have sung his praises. Keen has been a popular asset to several genres since the early 1980s, taking his country-flavored tunes from Americana to college radio. The Texas native’s national debut album “A Bigger Piece of Sky” was met with critical acclaim and started the momentum that hasn’t stopped since.

Shelby Lynne was destined to be a singer. Raised in rural Alabama by musical parents who stressed individuality and the importance of standing apart from others, Lynne loved the written lyric and a beautiful melody. Throughout her early life, Lynne was surrounded by the influences of country music past, including Hank Williams, Dottie West, Waylon Jennings¬—as well as old 45s that belonged to her parents stacked high with most all Everly Brothers, The Beatles and Elvis. Lynne now showcases that love of music with her slick country vocals and hip-swaying guitar melodies. After appearing on TNN’s “Nashville Now” in 1987, Lynne was offered a record deal that lead to the release of hits including her duet with George Jones “If I Could Bottle This Up.” Lynne was honored with a Grammy Award for Best New Artist in 2001 and charmed the scene again in 2008 with the Dusty Springfield tribute album “Just A Little Lovin’.”

Rhett Miller is most widely known as the front man of alternative country band Old 97’s, but the singer has also forged a very successful solo career. In 2004, Miller toured with Neil Finn and Tori Amos and was named Writer of the Week by American Songwriter in 2012. Songs by both Miller and Old 97’s have been used in the soundtrack of the hit comedy series “Scrubs.” Miller also covered The Beatles song “Girl” for 2005’s The Beatles tribute “This Bird Has Flown.”

In addition to releasing nine studio albums with the Old 97’s, Miller has also released four solo albums, including 1989’s “Mythologies,” 2002’s “The Instigator,” 2006’s “The Believer,” and 2009’s “Rhett Miller.” Rhett is also a critically acclaimed author whose work has appeared in several books and such well-known periodicals as Rolling Stone, McSweeney’s and The Atlantic.

Formed as a side project from members of the indie folk band The Decemberists, Black Prairie blends an eclectic mix of bluegrass, jazz and traditional klezmer music with a Romanian influence for an unmistakable sound. Between the haunting voice of Annalisa Tornfelt and the textured background of strings and blues, Black Prairie invites audiences to a completely new experience. Many of Black Prairie’s tracks are instrumental. The band cultivates an almost classical approach to composition, with songs containing multiple movements that ebb and flow in a way that differs greatly from traditional pop or bluegrass structure.

Tickets for the Jan. 20 show are on sale now and are $18 in advance, $23 on the day of show. Showtime is set for 7 p.m. Tickets are available at the Mountainlair and Creative Arts Center box offices, online at ticketmaster.com or by calling 304-293-SHOW and 800-745-3000.

This event is produced by WVU Arts & Entertainment. For additional event information, call 304-293-SHOW, or visit http://events.wvu.edu. Like us on Facebook at facebook.com/wvuevents and follow us on Twitter at @wvuevents for the most up-to-date show information.

-WVU-

DR/12/10/12

CONTACT: David Ryan, WVU Arts & Entertainment
304-293-8222, David.Ryan@mail.wvu.edu

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