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Free concerts return

Outdoor concerts will be back this year after a year of drive-in only concerts during the pandemic.

The Levitt AMP Concert series will return beginning July 22 with Grammy winners The Kentucky Headhunters, and will run every Thursday evening for 10 weeks. The shows will be at the Mountain Heritage Stage on Depot Street, as they have been since the series began.

The concert series, which started three years ago with a budget of $25,000, now has a budget of $45,000, and has been able to attract bigger name acts. The first year, it was limited to $2,500 a show, and coordinator Steve Ruth said that amount “won’t even buy the food they want” for bigger name enter- tainers.

With money from Levitt AMP, 12 sponsors and many local donors, this year’s shows includes three Grammy winners, and bands that have won the admiration of Billboard Magazine and artists such as Eric Clapton, Carlos Santana, and John Prine. The shows had become a fixture in downtown until COVID-19 shut them down temporarily last year.

It’s back now and has already been approved by Levitt AMP Foundation for next year as well. The lineup for this year was announced on Tuesday and includes the following acts:

The Kentucky Headhunters. The Metcalfe County rockers need no introduction with their unmistakable style that blends hard rock, rockabilly, bluegrass and country. July 22.

The Rad Trads. This Brooklyn-based band plays a blend that defies labels. Even with a horn section, the band draws inspiration of punk rock, country, and everything in between. July 29.

Ted Yoder Group. The Grand National hammered dulcimer champion mixes the sounds of his unique instrument with marimba and a rhythm section that produces an other-worldly sound. August 5.

Eric Gales Band. Guitar impresario Gales is a twotime Blues Artist of the Year and has collaborated with Clapton, Santana and Joe Bonamassa. August 12.

Suzy Bogguss. Perhaps the biggest name in the series, Bogguss is a Grammy, Academy of Country Music and Country Music Association award winner and leads a trio through a setlist of country and folk classics. Six of her songs were Top 10 hits, three albums were certified gold, and one album went platinum. She won Top New Female Vocalist from the Academy of Country Music and the Horizon Award from the Country Music Association. August 19.

HuDost. World-infused folk music from a western Kentucky duo that is an Independent Music Award winner. August 26.

Joslyn & The Sweet Compression. Billboard called this R&B group from central Kentucky “Magical … brings everybody the joy.” September 2.

Terrance Simien & The Zydeco Experience. A twotime Grammy winner from Louisiana, this band has been pumping zydeco and reggae for 30 years. September 9.

Arlo McKinley. Signed by John Prine himself to the Oh Boy label when he played as the replacement for a canceled act opening for Tyler Childers, Cincinnati born McKinley won Album of the Year from the Appalachian Arts and Entertainment Awards for Die Midwestern. September 16.

Magnolia Boulevard. Just off a tour with Blues Traveller, this southern blues and jam band has been championed by guitar maker Paul Reed Smith. September 23.

The Letcher County and City of Whitesburg Farmers Market will open at 5 p.m. each night, with music beginning at 6 p.m. The concerts are free. l

The Levitt AMP series is sponsored by Appalachian Regional Healthcare, Mountain Comprehensive Health Corporation, Double Kwik, Appalachian Impact Fund, American Electric Power, Parkway Pharmacy, Annie’s Frugal Finery, Artemes, Mountain Association, TVS Cable, Billy Johnson Law and other individual donors.

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