Billy Bragg, The Flatlanders, Joe Pug and Amy Speace will grace the West Virginia University Creative Arts Center April 21 as part of West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s Mountain Stage with Larry Groce.

Showtime is set for 7 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at the Mountainlair and Creative Arts Center box offices, online at, or by calling 304-293-SHOW and 800-745-3000.

The British are coming. Billy Bragg’s driven blend of punk and folk rock has had audiences hanging onto his every word for decades. Even since his street-performing days in London, Bragg has been a powerful force both musically and politically. Though Bragg’s songs have often been active participants in the politics of his native England and globally, all of this is driven by his creative urges.

“My theory is this: I’m not a political songwriter. I’m an honest songwriter. I try and write honestly about what I see around me now,” Bragg told Lip Magazine.

Familiar tunes to a Bragg fan of any age would include the soothing “California Stars,” Bragg’s worldwide acclaim has come through the fever of hard work that has defined his career, from his “Between the Wars” EP’s appearance on the UK Singles Chart to collaborations with Less Than Jake. His latest album, “Tooth and Nail,” is his first in five years and was recorded in only five days. The album has been praised by many critics for its authentic, easy style.

The Flatlanders are a country band formed out of Lubbock, Texas and founded by Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Joe Ely, and Butch Hancock. Their unique brand of country-rock influenced music has experienced a revival in later years, following the respective solo successes of its members. Now heralded as “founding fathers of Americana,” The Flatlanders have become something of a myth. Fans scramble to pick up their older, obscure recordings in such compilations as “More a Legend Than a Band.” Though the band began their influential ride in the 1970s, The Flatlanders are still a powerful force in country music today.

Joe Pug is a hard-working folk singer whose songs offer up a sharp edge of insight. Pug has been performing for less than five years, but talent combined with ingenuity has already landed him among the ranks of legendary storytelling singers like Bob Dylan and John Prine. After recording his “Nation of Heat” EP, Pug was fully aware of the difficulties new artists face breaking into the industry. Instead of feverishly marketing, Pug initially shipped CDs of his most popular songs for free to anyone who wanted to share his powerful music with their friends, and the response was overwhelming. Skyrocketing demand forced a switch to a digital format, leading to more than 20,000 downloads.

Having caught the attention of indie label Lightning Rod Records, Pug went on to record his full-length album “Messenger,” which received widespread praise from both critics and audiences.

“Unless your surname is Dylan, Waits, Ritter or Prine, you could face-palm yourself to death trying to pen songs half as inspired as the 10 tracks on Joe Pug’s debut full-length,” wrote Paste Magazine.

Amy Speace began as a professional actress with the National Shakespeare Company, soon infusing her talents into a pawn shop acoustic guitar and cranking out “the unconscious cool of true Americana.” In 2002 she released her first set of songs, “Fable,” independently before a chance meeting with Judy Collins’ manager, resulted in her signing with Collins’ Wildflower Records. Subsequent records were met with critical acclaim and feature creative collaborations with such artists as Ian “Mott the Hoople” Hunter and Gary Louris of The Jayhawks.

Following the 2011 release of “Land Like a Bird,” The Classic Rock Examiner said that “Amy Speace sounds uncannily like a 21st Century Joan Baez, her timbered voice full of genuine emotions.”

Showtime is set for 7 p.m. on April 21. Tickets are $18 in advance and $23 on the day of show. Tickets are on sale now at the Mountainlair and Creative Arts Center box offices, online at, 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 Like us on Facebook at and follow us on Twitter at @wvuevents for the most up-to-date show information.



CONTACT: David Ryan, WVU Arts & Entertainment

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