Popular event returns to Tryon Fine Arts Center

Published 12:04 pm Wednesday, April 26, 2023

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‘Chase Away the Blues’ hits the stage on May 6


TRYON–Tryon Fine Arts Center is again hosting one of the area’s premier live music events, Chase Away the Blues, on Saturday, May 6. 

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GRAMMY-nominated Delta bluesman Jontavious Willis and the high-octane sounds of blues master Mac Arnold and his band Plate Full ‘O Blues headline the Veh Stage for this must-attend event. Doors open and music begins at 5:30 p.m., with the main stage acts starting at 6 p.m.


Willis is one of the most celebrated young bluesmen to come on the music scene. He captures the heart and soul of the blues with an unwavering nod to its Delta roots. The legendary Taj Mahal describes Willis as a great new voice in acoustic blues. When asked what the blues means to him, Willis says, “I feel when I’m playing the blues, I am connecting with those before me and presenting it to others, a spiritual type thing.”


Arnold’s years in the music business reads like a who’s who of musical royalty. His first band included James Brown on piano. He moved to Chicago as a young man and was hired on the spot by Muddy Waters. He recorded with John Lee Hooker and played bass for Otis Redding and BB King. As a member of the Muddy Waters Band, they were regularly joined on stage by Eric Clapton, Paul Butterfield and Elvin Bishop.


Opening on the main stage is regional favorite Shane Pruitt Band. Combining a rich mixture of the blues, gospel and southern rock music, the Shane Pruitt Band embodies a regional tradition of music that is original with a bit of flare in every performance. 


There’s also a Blues Patron’s Lounge in the TFAC Pavilion featuring Piedmont bluesman Freddie Vanderford. Blues Patrons in the Pavilion will enjoy an open bar and food provided Tryon Resort. Wines in the Blues Lounge will be provided by Mountain Brook Vineyards. 


Local musician Keith Troutman will greet patrons with his smooth style in the Blues Tent located at the TFAC entrance on 34 Melrose Avenue. General admission patrons will have food and drinks available for purchase, with food provided by Manzolina’s Eatery.


Chase Away the Blues is a great way to welcome all that spring is about in the Carolina foothills. To learn more about the event visit tryonarts.org or call the box office at (828) 859-8322. 


Submitted by Debra Torrence