Opry Night at the Opera House has come to showcase some of the best musical talent from the two Virginias. This season’s Opry Night features Virginia favorite Southern Rail Express and West Virginia banjo virtuoso Bob Shank.
Based in Hot Springs Virginia, Southern Rail Express is know for traditional bluegrass music. Bandleader Willie Smith brings various musicians together to create their great sound. On alternate Fridays, Willie hosts TGIF Bluegrass on local community radio station WVMR. “DJ Willie” also produces and hosts WCHG’s annual Bath Buegrass Jamboree. Besides radio, Willie’s true love is making music with his bluegrass band, Southern Rail Express. He lives in Bath County and works for Dominion Power at the Pumped Storage Station.
For more than three decades Bob Shank (pictured above) has been a benchmark for American banjo players. Not bluegrass or old-time, or classical or ragtime, but all that and more. A sixth-generation West Virginian, Bob began his musical journey at age 5 with drums and piano, and by age 13 he was firmly hooked on banjo. And then guitar. And then hammered dulcimer. And an abiding rock-and-roll sensibility.
Shank has performed on NPR’s Mountain Stage. He has been an invited guest at West Virginia University’s annual World Music Concert and has been a Master Artist at the Augusta Heritage Center’s Spring Dulcimer Week, the Upper Potomac Dulcimer Festival, and West Virginia’s traditional music camp, Allegheny Echoes. Shank has also won first place old-time banjo at West Virginia’s celebration of traditional arts, the Vandalia Gathering.
This performance is held on Saturday, February 28th at the Pocahontas Opera House in Marlinton, WV. Event starts at 7:30pm. Admission is $10. For more info, click here.