Bands set for Parkersburg Homecoming

PARKERSBURG – The 2013 Parkersburg Homecoming Festival will range from country music to classic rock on the Suddenlink Stage in downtown Parkersburg.

This year’s festival will feature performances by country singer Jason Michael Carroll on Friday, the classic rock group The Devonshires on Saturday and rock-and-roll legend America on Sunday night.

The festival will also feature three days of live music from local and regional groups on the Suddenlink Stage, the Bicentennial Park Stage and the Riverfront Amphitheater at Point Park.

Carroll will kick off the first night of headlining entertainment at 8:30 p.m. Friday on the Suddenlink stage.

Carroll signed with Arista Nashville where his first album, “Waitin’ in the Country,” debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart. Among Carroll’s hit songs were “Alyssa Lies,” “Livin’ Our Love Song” and “I Can Sleep When I’m Dead.”

On Saturday night, The Devonshires will take to the main stage at 8:30 p.m., following local opening act Mirror Mirror at 7 p.m. The band specializes in classic rock music from the 1960s and 1970s, including hits from artists like The Beatles, The Monkees, The Grass Roots, The Doors, Three Dog Night, The Who, Elton John, Led Zeppelin, The Moody Blues and others.

The final performance of the weekend will feature the legendary group America at 8 p.m. Sunday on the Suddenlink stage. The local opening act will be Titus Canbe at 6:30 p.m.

America’s hits include “Sister Golden Hair,” “Tin Man,” “Ventura Highway” and “A Horse with No Name.” The group has featured Gerry Beckley and Dewey Bunnell for over 40 years. The pair continues to perform over 100 live shows each year.

One of the first regional performers taking the stage on Friday will be Tracy Allen at 8 p.m. at the Riverfront Park Amphitheater.

Allen is a West Virginia native who taught himself how to play piano and guitar in his family home and eventually started writing songs and singing. His mother started entering him in talent shows and contests and he later formed several bands, including local favorite Mirror Mirror, before stepping out on his own. Allen has opened for groups like Warrant, Winger and The Bullet Boys. He also traveled to Nashville and began working as a professional singer.

Also performing Friday at 10 p.m. at Point Park will be the McKinley School All Star Band.

The amphitheater at Point Park will also feature local and regional bands on Saturday and Sunday. Saturday’s performers will include Steve Williams, Wyatt Turner, Aaron Cronin and the Jeff Ray Band.

Steve Williams will perform at 4 p.m. Saturday at Riverfront Park Amphitheater.

Williams is a well known regional musician, who has performed with a number of bluegrass, country and Southern rock groups over the years, at venues ranging from the Wheeling Jamboree to Nashville engagements. He has recently returned to his musical roots, singing and playing old-time music and accompanying himself on the 15 musical instruments that he performs and records with.

Wyatt Turner will perform at the Point Park venue at 5:30 p.m.

A native of Stony Bottom, W.Va., Turner was a high school senior in 2007 when he began posting homemade videos on YouTube of himself singing country hits of the day. He went on to performing throughout West Virginia within months and by 2008 the YouTube postings led to joining his first band and entering his first recording studio.

The Jeff Ray Band will perform at 8:30 p.m. Saturday in the final performance of the night at Riverfront Amphitheater.

Ray is a Ripley native and started playing guitar at the age of 14, continuing throughout high school. He spent the next several years playing with a number of bands throughout the eastern United States.

Sunday’s Point Park performers will include the Lynn Street Church of Christ Praise Team, the Mahkayla Queen Band and 64 to Grayson.

Lynn Street Church of Christ Praise Team will play at 2 p.m. Sunday at Riverfront Amphitheater

Mahkayla Queen Band will play at at 3:30 p.m. Sunday at the amphitheater, her second consecutive year at the venue during the Parkersburg Homecoming Festival.

64 to Grayson will perform at 5 p.m. Sunday at Riverfront Amphitheater with a mixture of country styles, from classic to current.

The band’s lead singer is Zack Shelton, of Zanesville, Ohio, who is the son of gospel musician Thomas Shelton and a graduate of Kentucky Christian University. He is joined in the band by Craig Cunningham and David Watson Jr. A native of Louisville, Cunningham plays lead guitar and has been performing at church since his early teens. Watson is a preacher’s kid from Vanderbilt, Pa., who has been recognized as West Virginia State Mandolin Champion.

While serving as home for Homecoming’s headliners, the Suddenlink Stage will also feature some local talent on Saturday and Sunday with local opening acts.

After his Friday night performance on the Riverfront Park Amphitheater, Allen will rejoin his old band Mirror Mirror at 7 p.m. Saturday to open for The Devonshires on the Suddenlink Stage.

Longtime local group Titus Canbe will open for America at 6:30 p.m. Sunday on the Suddenlink Stage.

On Sunday, the Bicentennial Park Stage will host the 12th annual Johnny Staats Bluegrass Festival, from 1 to 5 p.m. This year’s lineup will include Tallgrass at 1 p.m., Open Rail at 2:30 p.m. and Johnny Staats and the Delivery Boys at 4 p.m.

Tallgrass began as a local bluegrass band in the 1980s and has remained active through the years with various members. The current lineup includes Kyle Counts on banjo, Randy Counts on rhythm guitar, Wayne Ollom on lead guitar, Greg Settle on mandolin and Tim Simmons on upright bass.

Open Rail is a bluegrass band based in Gallipolis, Ohio. In 2010, the band was selected to be the home band for the Historical Ariel Ann Carson Dater Performing Arts Center. The band hosted shows at the theater for two seasons and now performs around the country. The band features Don Titus on banjo, Roger “Pup” Harrison on lead vocals and guitar, John Cardwell on vocals and mandolin, Brian Ison on vocals and guitar and Roger Bissell on bass guitar and vocals.

Closing out the annual bluegrass festival, Staats is a Sandyville resident who has received international attention for his mandolin skills, appearing in many music and entertainment publications and on various television shows, including six appearances on the Grand Ole Opry. His critically acclaimed first album was “Wires and Wood” and he also released a second one called “Wound For Sound.”