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May Music Marathon kicks off Sunday

Morgantown live music fans have a chance to see six shows in nine days when the May Music Marathon kicks off this weekend at The Encore.

Opening the series on Sunday is bluegrass favorite The Plate Scrapers. The band got its start in 2014 and has been wowing audiences ever since with its progressive but traditional Appalachian sound. It’s shared the bill with bluegrass legends such as The Seldom Scene and Larry Keel, and the band’s live show provides a full helping of hard-driving bluegrass favorites and heart-wrenching country ballads.

On Wednesday, Americana stalwart Seth Walker offers up his blend of blues, gospel, pop, R&B, rock and a dash of country. With a bluesman’s respect for roots and tradition, coupled with an appreciation for contemporary songwriting, Walker has achieved success as a headliner and opener for The Mavericks, The Wood Brothers, Raul Malo, Paul Thorn and Ruthie Foster, among others.

Thursday brings multi-instrumentalist Tyler Westcott to the stage. A fan of music history and its roots, he specializes in original songwriting, folk, country blues, traditional jazz, bluegrass and old time, western swing and more.

A highlight of the Music Marathon will be May 12 when Jason Wilber performs in Morgantown for the first time. Wilber was the long-time lead guitar player for the late John Prine before becoming a renowned solo artist and studio musician in his own right. His work with Prine includes the Grammy Award winning CD Fair & Square, and the Grammy nominated CDs Live On Tour, In Spite of Ourselves and Prine’s final album Tree of Forgiveness. Of special note to West Virginians, Wilber served as co-executive producer on the compilation CD Coal Country Music featuring Willie Nelson, Ralph Stanley, Kathy Mattea, Natalie Merchant, Tom T. Hall, Bonnie Raitt, Prine and other artists, who all contributed their talents to benefit the Alliance for Appalachia’s work to stop Mountain Top Removal in rural Appalachia. Wilber’s past TV and radio appearances include The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, Late Night with Seth Meyers, Sessions At West 54th Street, The Grand Ole Opry, The Road, Mountain Stage, Austin City Limits, and The Late Show with David Letterman.

The Grym Sins is set to perform May 13. The Grym Sins is a four-piece hard rock band born in West Virginia. Adding its own modern spin to the foundations laid in the early days of rock, the band provides a sound and experience that can only be described as electrifying, showcasing its unique form of rock n’ roll through a combination of groove and grunge. Morgantown’s Velvet Rutt will open this show.

East Texas songwriter Adam Carroll rounds out the May Music Marathon on May 15. Carroll’s musical biography is as winding as the stories in his songs, full of far-away places and close-to-home meditations. His songs tap into a vein of the human condition that make them deeply moving but often humorous. The scope of Carroll’s songwriting influence was recognized in 2016 when “Highway Prayer: A Tribute to Adam Carroll” was released, featuring esteemed writers/performers like Hayes Carll, James McMurtry, Slaid Cleaves, and Terri Hendrix covering Carroll-penned tunes. It has garnered attention from publications like Rolling Stone, which noted that Carroll “is talented beyond his years.” He’ll be joined on the stage by his wife and fellow musician Chris Carroll.

All shows in the May Music Marathon begin at 7:30 p.m. and take place at The Encore, 720 Powell Ave., Morgantown. The Encore is a rustic 75-seat black box listening room with a passion for the preservation and performance of traditional American music.

More information about the shows, along with ticket information, is available on The Encore Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/theencorewv/) or at theencorewv.com. Inquiries can be sent to theencore@comcast.net.