Spotlight Shines for Night of Singer-Songwriters Wednesday in Barnesville

BARNESVILLE — Skyflight Productions presents an evening with Mark Stuart, Kyle Cox and Adrian Niles on Wednesday, June 5, at The Albert S. George Youth Center at Barnesville Memorial Park in Barnesville.

Doors will open at 7 p.m., and show will begin at 7:30 p.m.

For more information, call 423-276-2653 or visit Skyflight Productions’s page on Facebook.

MARK STUART: After many years on the Americana/folk circuit, Mark Stuart has cultivated a very rounded performance. His show consists of storytelling, flashy guitar “chops,” and songs that seem to draw from his rock, blues, country and folk music roots. Mostly, this artist from Tennessee has toured solo or in a notable duo with his wife (“Stacey Earle and Mark Stuart”). There were stints along the way as a sideman, though (Steve Forbert, Freddy Fender, Steve Earle, Joan Baez). If placed on the bill with a contemporary artist, he is usually asked to play guitar on their portion of the show. Just ask Jason Ringenberg, Ray Wylie Hubbard or Jimmy LaFave.

One can find Stuart on any given night in a small theater, coffeehouse, house concert, festival stage, club, church auditorium, etc. giving it his all. Aside from that, he could be instructing at a guitar clinic, songwriting workshop, or playing on someone’s recording session. As co-owner of Gearle Records, he has produced or co-produced many albums. Stuart’s career has repeatedly taken him to all of the USA, Canada, Europe, and the United Kingdom, and, has spanned several decades.

KYLE COX: It might seem incongruous that the most intimate songs that flow from the heart and pen of a skilled songwriter are also sometimes the most deeply relatable to many who hear said songs, but that is the sonic sweet spot in which Kyle Cox practices his craft. The hoops- and hooks-loving (basketball and catchy songs, respectively), Nashville-based Cox, who recently signed a label/management deal with Rock Ridge Music, will consummate the partnership with the 2016 release of his five-song EP, “Trio and Friends.”

“Immediately, from the first time I sat down with them, it seemed to click,” Cox said of the determining factor that sparked the flame that fueled his decision to make Rock Ridge Music his home — his musical sanctuary. “They seemed to understand who I was as an artist. They appreciated the blue collar aspect of my touring, my hard work and hit-the-pavement-running work ethic. It was just cool all around.”

On “Trio and Friends,” the comfortable artist-label relationship and aural rubber immediately meets the road with the opening track, ties-that-bind, tale “Trusty Ol’ Pair of Boots,” in which Cox sings, “Built to last and never fall apart/only fits better over time,” referring to his closest and most trusted partner in life. “The whole song is about my wife and the idea of marriage in general,” he vows. “The first verse is about the warm feeling love can give you and the ability to brighten up your day, or to keep you warm and safe or protect you, like a nice pair of boots can do.”

Cox’s uncanny ability to connect with his audience is the bridge that leads his followers over the troubled waters of everyday life, like in the lonesome lullaby “The One Left Behind.” Now firmly pledged to the historic fraternity of Nashville songwriters, Kyle Cox has the tools at his disposal to build a solid bridge that leads to a long career. And it all begins and ends with just one thing: the song. When asked to describe the feeling he gets when he finishes writing a song and he can say to himself, “That’s it! I got it!,” Cox doesn’t hesitate for a second to respond, “Oh dude, that’s the best feeling in the world. I love it, man!”

ADRIAN NILES: A singer, songwriter, and guitar slinger who fuses the raw passion of the blues with the force and swagger of rock’n’ roll, Adrian Niles grew up in the Upper Ohio Valley and was raised in a musical household. Niles’ father, Loren Porter, played in a bluegrass group that also featured his cousin, Harold Dailey, and uncle, Larry Porter, and Niles grew up watching the family band rehearse in the kitchen. Seeing the band play on-stage had a strong influence on Niles, and when he was nine, he saved money, bought a guitar and started learning to play.

Before long he was picking along with vintage country-rock albums, and he formed his first band, Legacy, when he was a freshman in high school. Legacy specialized in hard rock covers and did steady business playing at local clubs, but at age 19 Niles was eager to try something more ambitious. In 1993, Niles debuted Reverend Smitty and the Backsliders, a jam band in which he and his bandmates stretched out on material by Bob Dylan and the Grateful Dead. Niles also began writing his own songs, and by 1996 he had relocated to Memphis, Tenn. and was striking out on his own as a blues artist.

After winning a few talent contests but finding few gigs, Niles headed back to Ohio, and formed the first lineup of the Adrian Niles Band. The band gigged heavily, finding loyal fans in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Wheeling, and in 1998, the Adrian Niles Band released their first album, “Manumit,” produced in part by Pittsburgh rock hero Norman Nardini. While the album was well received locally, the Adrian Niles Band soon broke up, and while they would reunite periodically, Niles would primarily gig as a solo act until 2006, when he formed the roots rock band the Trainjumpers with Matt Heusel. The group’s debut album, 2007’s “Deadtown,” was well received by fans and critics, but before long Niles opted out of the group and recommitted himself to a solo career.

In 2008, Niles released his first proper solo effort, “Things Gonna Break,” and two more albums followed in 2010, a studio set titled “Ghost Road” and a live disc, “Bootlegged Down on Main Street.”

By this time, Niles was establishing himself as a powerful live act, and he was sharing stages with the likes of Dave Mason, Los Lonely Boys and New Riders of the Purple Sage, as well as earning high marks in blues competitions around the country. Niles also licensed his songs for use on the popular TV shows “Justified” and “The Young and the Restless.” In 2011, Niles released “Roll and Move,” and three years later, he dropped “Rough Rider.” In 2015, Niles delivered one of his most accomplished sets to date, “Supermoon,” which Niles described as “a record with a strong lyrical narrative, vintage-tone heavy guitars, big drums and loud bass, Fender Rhodes, and Hammond organ.”


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