Nashville musician Chris Scruggs, whose performances enthralled audiences at the 2009 Thomas Fraser Memorial Festival, is to return for this year’s event in November.
The 27-year-old possesses an impressive pedigree, being the grandson of bluegrass virtuoso Earl Scruggs and the son of singer-songwriter Gail Davies, the first woman record producer in country music.
A spokesman for the festival organising committee said: “Chris’s astounding abilities earned him many fans last year and we are delighted someone of his calibre can be with us again.”
From a very young age, Scruggs accompanied his mother on tour where he quickly became immersed in music and familiar with many of the leading performers with whom she worked. Those included Waylon Jennings, Charlie Louvin and Carl Smith.
As well as singing and songwriting, Scruggs plays a variety of instruments. His teachers included Kayton Roberts, steel guitar player with the late Hank Snow, and fiddler Buddy Spicher.
Also returning for this year’s festival is John Lilly, who last appeared three years ago. Already there is much anticipation at the thought of hearing again the multi-talented acoustic music performer from Charleston, West Virginia, who has won several prizes for his songwriting.
Lilly specialises in Americana, roots country and traditional folk music. During his first appearance at the festival in 2006, it was said: “This man is perfect for a Thomas Fraser concert.”
The 2010 festival runs from Thursday 11th to Saturday 13th November in Burra Public Hall, Hamnavoe, where each evening the ever-popular duo of Thomas’s daughter May and husband Mackie will be joined by May’s daughter Rhonda and a selection of stars from Shetland’s music scene.
Included in the line-up are Big Robbie Cumming, Arthur Pottinger and Eddie Williamson, three musicians who benefited from Fraser’s guidance in their early days. Pottinger will have his own Kayton Roberts stories to tell, having recently played with him in Nova Scotia.
Champion fiddler Gemma Donald has been given a solo spot and Fraser’s former shipmate, the ever-popular Allan Tulloch and his Band, will be there along with The Wisharts, Brian Nicholson and Maggie Adamson. Fraser’s great niece Alison Ramsay, who appeared for the first time at last year’s festival, will be accompanied by Ryan Couper.
Thursday’s seated concert starts at 7pm and promises an evening of good music. The Friday and Saturday concerts begin at 7.30pm when the ticket price includes supper. The bar will be open on the Friday and Saturday.
Tickets will be on sale from next Thursday from Halcrow’s shop, Hamnavoe; the Peerie Shop, Lerwick; and Hunter’s Fish Shop, Main Street, Scalloway. They cost £10 for Thursday and £12 for Friday and Saturday.
On Sunday 14th November, John Lilly will lead a gospel concert in Bridge-End Church of Scotland. As with the successful 2007 gospel concert, there will be a collection for the RNMDSF.