July 07--Hot local talent lights up the stage in the State Theatre this month and next as part of the first-ever Waugh Harley Davidson Summer Concert Series.
Culpeper's own Carley Chilton launches the concert series tonight at 8 as the opening act for Charlottesville-area country singer Terri Allard, host and producer of Charlottesville Inside Out on PBS.
Chilton, a 2004 graduate of Culpeper County High School, sings and plays guitar with her band, Aberdeen Green, named for her parents' longtime local landscaping business. She's been living in Nashville since 2007 and is set to release her first album later this summer.
Aberdeen Green, including fellow songstress Amanda Mackintosh from Berryville, performs "folk Americana," said Chilton, creating ethereal-sounding, mountain-inspired melodies with lovely layers of stringed instrumentation.
"It is an honor to play at the State Theatre," Chilton said Friday, fresh off an interview at WJMA and a July Fourth gig at Graves Mountain Lodge. "The theater is so beautiful, and state of the art. It's going to be a pretty amazing experience."
In fact, this will not be her first time visiting the gloriously renovated and recently reopened art deco arts center on Main Street. When Chilton was "really, really little," she saw Steven Spielberg's 1982 alien classic, "E.T.," there.
"I don't remember a whole lot about that," she said, "But I do remember walking into the theater and looking up at the stage. Every time I went in there, I would always envision myself on top of it. It will be pretty cool to be on that stage looking at the audience Saturday night."
Chilton originally met fellow lead singer Berry at music camp when they were 12-years-old. Years later, they reunited in Nashville.
Pianist Jeremiah Able and renowned percussionist/producer Pino Squillace, of Nashville, complete Aberdeen Green. Squillace is a big name in Nashville and beyond and is an original member of the Musik Mafia, with which Culpeper's Big Kenny of Big & Rich is also associated. Squillace has performed alongside Big & Rich along with the likes of Kid Rock, George Clinton and Jewel, according to pinomusica.com.
Now, in addition to performing with Chilton, Squillace is producing Aberdeen Green's debut album.
"He has just worked with every artist under the sun," said Chilton, saying her band has a truly eclectic sound. "The caliber of musicians we have with us is just incredible."
Chilton fell in love with music around the time she saw "E.T." at the State Theatre, and by age 12 was playing songs by ear on the guitar and piano. She studied music at Berklee College in Boston and names among her influences Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan.
State Theatre Foundation board member Collis Jenkins, of Baby Jim's Snack Bar, is 100 percent supporting Culpeper's new performing arts center and the summer concert series. He hasn't missed but one show since the theater reopened two months ago.
Jenkins serves on the programming committee with STF Programming Director Mary Beth Aungier, of Charlottesville, formerly a manager at the historic Paramount Theater on the Downtown Mall. Jenkins said the idea for the summer concert series in Culpeper, sponsored by the Orange-based Harley dealer, was to offer affordable entertainment with a down-home flair.
"It's about showcasing local talent," he said, noting that is in abundance. "We are so very lucky."
The State Theatre concerts, taking place every Saturday night in July and August, will be a laid-back affair.
"We're just going to be low-key, relaxed, shorts and flip flops," Jenkins said of the dress code. "We will keep the doors open to the lobby so you can go in and out, grab a beer or a wine, come back and listen to great local music."
Three of the acts headlining the concert series, including Chilton, are from Culpeper. Former Eastern View High School sports star Mo Safren takes the stage at the State July 20 with fellow musician Richie Walz of Manassas. Together, they are Little Richie and Mo.
"Hey everyone -- something epic has happened," posted Walz at his facebook page recently. "Me and Mo have been invited back to the glorious, historic (State Theatre) for our very own night of music! This is huge for us and we would love to pack all 551 seats and have a ball with everyone!"
Richie and Mo will play mostly all original music with a few covers by Bruno Mars, Adele, Coldplay and Elton John, according to the facebook post.
Finally, Culpeper's own funny man Alex Scott hosts comedy night August 24 at the State Theatre, taking the stage with comedian Orlando Jones for a benefit in support of the Culpeper Football Association.
Again, the summer concert series is all about the homegrown talent.
"It really came across that we needed to promote local artists at the State Theatre," said Jenkins.
Listen up locals: The State Theatre on Main Street in downtown Culpeper launches theWaugh Harley Davidson Summer Concert Series tonight at 8 with Terri Allard and opening act Aberdeen Green featuring Carley Chilton of Culpeper. The series highlighting regional acts continues throughout this month and next with: Kathryn Caine and The Small Band July 13; Little Richie and Mo July 20; Sinclarity July 27; Highroller with Grindin-Gears August 3; Love Canon August 10; Ashley McMillen August 17; Alex Scott and Orlando Jones August 24 and Eli Cook August 31. All shows are $10 except for the Scott-Jones Comedy Night, a fund-raiser for the Culpeper Football Association. For ticket information, contact the State Theatre box office at (540) 829-0292 or email@example.com.
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