The Jacoby Arts Center will host a truly family-oriented event with the appearance of the popular Harman Family Bluegrass Band on Friday, July 24.
With a genealogy that includes first and second generation musicians, the band has its roots in traditional and contemporary country, bluegrass and gospel music while also performing songs from the Beatles and Orleans.
“We’re excited to be playing at Jacoby,” said band matriarch Stacy Harman. “It’s a smaller venue which is good for us because we enjoy communicating with our audience. This will be a great time for everyone.”
The group will perform as part of Jacoby’s Summer Music Series at 8 p.m. Doors will open at 7:30 for a short one-act play performed by Bankside Repertory Company. Seating is available on a first-come basis.
While the Harman’s instrumentation may be called rustic acoustic, their songs are varied in style and typically possess a strong narrative element, sometimes including autobiographical material. One of the Harmans’ signature pieces is The Auctioneer, drawing upon their own business experiences with Harman’s Auction Service in Shipman.
Certainly in the Harman’s case, the family that works together plays together. This younger generation of musicians, Mark, Jeff and John, began playing with their parents, Mike and Stacy, when they were just 10 years old. The current band membership has been performing together some 15 years.
“We know each other very well so we like to play each other’s instruments— we’ll have one hand on our own and another on someone else’s,” Harman explained. “There’s a certain art to doing this.”
The band, however, dates back to 1975 with the first generation talents of patriarch Mike Harman and his sister Lori and brother Bull. Mike Harman was a member of the Alison Krauss Union Station Band from 1986 to 1990. During this time, Mike performed on the Grand Ole’ Opry stage. The group will be releasing a new CD, their sixth, shortly.
“With the Harman Family Bluegrass Band’s tremendous popularity, we are looking forward to hearing the group perform in Jacoby’s intimate East Gallery space with its great acoustics,” said Denny Scarborough, Jacoby’s president. “It’s been very exciting to see our audience grow from week to week along with our range of performances. Visitors can now enjoy not only looking at our current display, Confluence of Expression, but can also be entertained by actors from Bankside Repertory, Jacoby’s new resident acting troupe, prior to the evening’s music event.
“Everyone who saw Bankside Rep perform last week was impressed by their terrific acting ability and their insightful take on life,” Scarborough continued. “Their Jacoby residency will begin on Oct. 9, and their debut season’s offerings will be a broad range of plays that offer humor, warmth and present day life situations that give the audience something to consider long after the curtain call.”
The newly formed troupe will perform a short one-act play Ferris Wheel on Friday, July 24, written by Mary Miller and performed by Trish Brown and Caleb King.
The Harman Family Bluegrass Band concert will also feature the renowned baking talents of My Just Desserts. Ann Badasch’s popular eatery will serve its signature peach and blackberry cobblers and Mrs. Ledbetter chocolate pie for the performance.
Tickets can be purchased at the door for $10, and no reservation is required. Food and drink are available at an additional cost.
For more information on the series, call (618) 462-5222 or visit www.jacobyartscenter.org.