Children’s society benefits planned

PARKERSBURG – Jeff Fox is determined to bring live music to Parkersburg, whether the performance is inside a building or outside.

At 7 p.m. Thursday, Fox of Parkersburg is bringing award-winning Nashville recording artist and author Tommy Womack to 1911 Washington Ave. in Parkersburg for a performance as part of the Mid-Ohio Valley Americana Tribute Series.

Opening for the roots-based, Americana music show is Ben Davis Jr. from Jackson, Ohio, Fox said. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Parkersburg office of the Children’s Home Society of West Virginia.

At 5 p.m. Sunday, a concert featuring Nashville singer-songwriter Irene Kelley will take place along the Ohio River at the Ohio Valley Rowing Club at the end of 19th Street in Parkersburg. Kelley will be joined by Mike Robbins on bass and Scott Neubert on guitar.

This show also will benefit the Children’s Home Society in Parkersburg.

Many of the music shows Fox has booked have been held at the Worthington Golf Course ballroom in Parkersburg.

“We want to hold some shows outside to give Worthington a breather,” Fox said.

Thursday’s “low-key” acoustic concert will be in the spacious yard of 1911 Washington Ave., one block up from the City Park entrance (the pond end), Fox said. Balloons and signs will mark the location. Bring a lawn chair, but no glass, and a $10 donation, Fox said.

Womack arrived in Nashville from Kentucky, where he led the post-punk band Government Cheese. Womack and the Bis-Quits made one record for John Prine’s Oh Boy! Label and that brought Womack and Will Kimbrough together for the first time of a long music partnership, Fox said. Womack immortalized Government Cheese’s story in the cult classic rock bio Cheese Chronicles.

On his career-defining album There, I Said It! Womack sang about how his better days appeared to be behind him, Fox said. Womack is omnipresent in Music City, both live and on record, playing Clash covers or backing fellow musicians and writing an article for the East Nashville News.

Fox describes Ben Davis Jr. as an energetic, up and coming songwriter from Southeastern Ohio. Davis hosts open mic nights, plays solo shows, fronts Ben Davis Jr. and The Dirt Poor Troubadours and works a full-time day job.

He has played extensively up and down the Ohio River and spent a week in Nashville, performing a show at the Antique Archaeology store from the popular “American Pickers” TV show. Davis blends classic country with modern folk, influenced heavily by Todd Snider, into original songs complete with a good story or two, Fox said.

As for the Irene Kelley trio performance along the river on Sunday, Fox said, “We’re trying to provide music fans with some refreshing and unique experiences while giving them the chance to continue supporting a great cause. Our idea with this show is to enjoy a late spring afternoon and evening.

The gates will open at 4 p.m. with music starting at 5 p.m.”

Opening the Sunday show will be Parkersburg native and songwriter Michael J. Iafrate, who now lives in Wheeling.

Picnic-style food will be available at Sunday’s concert, Fox said. Bring a lawn chair or blanket and a favorite beverage (no glass), Fox said.

Fox said Kelley “brings the songs alive when in front of an audience.” She performs a mix of country, bluegrass and Americana music and has written songs for Trisha Yearwood and Alan Jackson.

Kelley’s bluegrass album, “Pennsylvania Coal,” was released this year.

For more information on either concert contact the Children’s Home Society at 304-485-0650.