Our Most Memorable Performances Are Yours - Support Jefferson Center

2016 - 2017 Star City Series

Shaftman Performance Hall • Presented by Jefferson Center
Tuesday, July 5, 2016 - 10:00am - Friday, October 7, 2016 - 11:59pm

Taj Mahal Trio with Davina and The Vagabonds, 10.8.16, 8pm

Taj Mahal Trio

It’s difficult to sum up Taj Mahal’s 50-year plus career as a performer and musician. Sure, he’s widely considered one of the most influential bluesmen of the late 20th century. But he’s more than “just” blues royalty. The self-taught multi-instrumentalist—he plays more than 20—is a sonic explorer, credited with reshaping the definition and scope of the blues. Today, Mahal’s ever-evolving sound weaves elements from West Africa, the Hawaiian Islands, the Caribbean, Latin America and beyond. Eric Clapton, Van Morrison, The Allman Brothers, Susan Tedeschi, and The Roots are just a few who have shared his stage. With the Trio, Taj Mahal joins long-time collaborators Kester Smith on drums and Bill Rich on bass for sold-out performances around the globe.

Davina and The Vagabonds

Amy Winehouse, Etta James, Billie Holiday, even Betty Boop: just a few of the names inevitably dropped in the same breath as Davina Sowers. Comparisons won’t do, though—Davina is “one of the most distinctive and expressive vocalists to come around in a while” (Phoenix Blues Society). With nods to New Orleans jazz and the swagger of Memphis soul, Davina conjures influences as diverse as Fats Domino, Aretha Franklin and Tom Waits, while creating a sound that is wholly unique.


Lalah Hathaway, 11.10.16, 7:30pm

The daughter of legendary soul singer Donny Hathaway, Lalah Hathaway was born of a musical legacy. Yet her mark on the music world is wholly self-made. With a voice described as “rich, melted organic chocolate,” the Berklee-educated Hathaway boasts three Grammy Awards—including Best R&B Performance for 2013’s "Something" with prominent jazz collective Snarky Puppy, performed and recorded at the Jefferson Center. Hathaway’s most recent release, 2015’s Layla Hathaway Live, surged onto the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Chart at #2. Hathaway has performed with Prince, Snoop Dogg, Stevie Wonder, Natalie Cole, Dianne Reeves, Dizzy Gillespie, and many others. We’re thrilled to welcome her back, thanks in large part to the generosity of supporters like you.


SOLD OUT - Loretta Lynn with Dori Freeman, 11.18.16, 8pm

Loretta Lynn

Country music’s most awarded female musician in history is also it’s most unlikely. Loretta Lynn was born into dire poverty in remote, rural Kentucky. At 13, she became a wife. By 18, she was a mother to four. At age 24, Lynn wrote her first song on a $17 guitar, a gift from her husband. Little did the self-taught singer and songwriter know that “Honky Tonk Girl” would eventually open the door to Nashville super-stardom.

"Don't Come Home a Drinkin' (with Lovin' on Your Mind)." “Coal Miner’s Daughter.” “Success,” “The Pill” and “Dear Uncle Sam.” Lynn’s body of work fearlessly explores both everyday struggles and the seething controversies of their time, like women’s sexual liberation and the Vietnam war.  Her voice is considered one of country music’s greatest. From her years at the Grand Ole Opry alongside best friend and mentor Patsy Cline, to her autobiography turned Oscar-winning biopic A Coal Miner’s Daughter, to her multiple Grammy Awards and Hall of Fame inductions, Loretta Lynn is truly a living legend. She joins us to celebrate her first new studio album in over a decade, Full Circle, a collection of classics and brand new material.

Dori Freeman

Dori Freeman's lilting vocals shine front and center, at times reminiscent of Emmylou Harris, and are delivered with an aching melancholy. A native of Galax, Virginia, Freeman grew up performing in her grandfather's shop on the historic Crooked Road. Her latest self-titled album dances between country and western, old-time and folk.


Sugaray Rayford Blues Band with Deva Mahal, 2.25.17, 8pm

Sugaray Rayford Blues Band

Blues-soul-gospel act The Sugaray Rayford Band is one of an overflowing docket of critically acclaimed projects the Texas-born, gospel-trained Rayford is involved in. As of May 2011, Sugaray became one of the lead vocalists for The Mannish Boys, winner of 2013’s  Best Traditional Blues Album at the Blues Music Awards, and he’s lead vocalist and “most valuable ingredient,” according to one reviewer, of Aunt Kizzy’z Boyz.  Sugaray’s voice is big, like the man; emotion and hints of hardship are ever-present, at times seering. It’s on powerful display in his most solo recent release, 2013’s Dangerous, called a “a modern day masterpiece” by reviewer Bill Wilson. Dangerous debuted at # 2 on Blues Debut Chart and #6 on the Roots Music Chart.  Sugaray’s band is currently made up of world-class musicians in their own right: Ralph Carter on bass, Gino Matteo on guitar, Leo Dombecki on keyboards, Lavelle Jones on drums, Allan Walker on sax, and Gary Bivona on trumpet.

Deva Mahal

Marquee Magazine describes the sound of Deva Mahal as a “sublime pop creation, infused with soul, rootsy blues, and a slight island shimmer.” Daughter of blues icon Taj Mahal, Deva Mahal is a powerful vocalist, songwriter and performer in her own right, renowned for her energetic live shows, rich harmonies, and beautifully crafted songs. Majal also wrote the song “Never Let You Go” on her father’s Grammy-nominated 2009 album Maestro, and she’s worked with everyone from Jaleel Bunton of Tv On the Radio, to Binky Griptite of Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, to The Knocks and Nick Paul of St. Lucia, Living Color, the New York Pops Orchestra, and Teddy Thompson. Mahal has shared the stage alongside such legends as Etta James, Martha Reeves, Bettye Lavette, The Roots, Meshell N’degeocello, Cyndi Lauper, Bilal, Jean Grae and Ronnie Spector, not to mention her mentor, close friend and world-famous father.


Lúnasa, 3.16.17, 7:30pm

Lúnasa is a gathering of Ireland’s top talents—its members have helped formed the backbone of some of the greatest Irish groups of the decade. Bassist Trevor Hutchinson was a key member of The Waterboys, and later he, with guitarist Donogh Hennessy, would form the dynamic rhythm section of The Sharon Shannon Band. Paul Meehan (Karan Casey Band, North Cregg) has recently replaced Hennessy. Fiddler Sean Smyth is an All-Ireland champion who has played with Donal Lunny’s Coolfin; Kevin Crawford, considered to be among the finest flutists in Ireland played with the acclaimed traditional group Moving Cloud, and, piper Cillian Vallely is of the famous Vallely artistic clan. Folk Roots magazine has rightly termed Lúnasa an “Irish music dream team.”


Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver and Mountain Heart, 4.14.17, 8pm

Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver

International Bluegrass Music Hall of fame inductee Doyle Lawson is a “lion” of the gospel-bluegrass genre (Craig Havighurst, “Music City Roots”), who along with his band Quicksilver has nearly 40 albums to his credit.  The group is seven-times over a winner of IBMA’s Vocal Group of the Year. Virtuoso Lawson has been crowned five times SPBGMA Mandolin Player of the Year—and that’s not to mention the towering collection of Grammy, Dove, ICM, IBMA and SPBGMA nominations that Lawson and Quicksilver have between them. Following the band’s performance at the 2011 IBMA Awards Press Conference in Nashville, Havighurst wrote: “...When [Lawson] came out in perhaps the most beautiful western jacket I’ve ever seen…he was a holy vision. When DLQ, in quartet mode, nailed the final chorus of the a cappella gospel song ‘He Made It All Right,’ I swear we were mainlining the holy spirit. You know how the word awesome gets overused and misused? Here’s where it applies.”

Mountain Heart

Mountain Heart’s name is synonymous with acoustic excellence; the group and its members have been nominated for a string of Grammy, ACM, and CMA awards and are the recipients of multiple IBMAs. Mountain Heart has appeared on the revered stage of the Grand Ole Opry over 130 times, and shared the stage with acts ranging from Lynyrd Skynyrd, Montgomery Gentry, Merle Haggard, George Jones and Brad Paisley to Alison Krauss, Tony Rice, The Avett Brothers, Yonder Mountain Stringband, The Punch Brothers, Levon Helm, and John Fogerty. 

 The group’s musical virtuosity—it’s comprised of top call pros at every corner of the stage—plus a keen sense of showmanship has helped Mountain Heart build an ever-growing following and critical acclaim.


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