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Jackson's Rock the Rock Garden summer concert series begins today
The city of Jackson will begin another season of Rock in the Rock Garden tonight. This free weekly event features local and out-of-town musical acts performing in the Jackson City Park at 7:30 p.m. Fridays.
Shane West Anderson, Jackson Parks and Recreation director, said this year's Rock in the Rock Garden is getting a special boost.
"We've had it traditionally every Friday night in June, as a two-hour performance," Anderson said. "We've had a variety of performers in years past. This year we've added three more performances in July."
The added performances were made possible by a grant from Missouri Association of Community Arts Agencies.
"MACAA funded three of these shows, and the city of Jackson is funding the four Friday nights in June," Anderson said. "We'd always talked about expanding it."
Anderson has been working with Ted Clark, who books musicians for Stooges. This association helps to bring in musicians to play the Rock in the Rock Garden events, as well as securing them a Thursday or Saturday show at Stooges.
"We jointly do this program to bring in the artists, which makes it worth their while to play at least two dates when they're in," Anderson said.
People are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or blankets and their own food and drink. Park rules dictate no glass containers be used.
The first concert will kick off at 7:30 p.m. today with Doug Rees. Rees performs regularly at Stooges, and brings a variety of folksy acoustic songs mixed with a touch of blues.
Rees is a veteran of the event and said he looks forward to opening the season.
"The rock garden is a great place to play, and can fit a couple hundred people," he said. "It's always a nice, intimate crowd, and a laid-back atmosphere that gives us room to move as musicians."
Rees will perform with a special guest this week: Martin Albritton, aka "Big Larry," a drummer and blues singer from Southern Illinois.
The June 10 concert will feature Corinne Chapman, an alternative country musician from Nashville who sings and plays guitar. Her song "Weeds" from her recent EP "Dirty, Pretty Things" was featured in the worldwide "Crocs Cares" video for the shoe company's charitable foundation.
June 17 brings Mark Rees to the rock garden. Rees grew up in Jackson and plays heartfelt country music. He is working on a new album, and plays almost every weekend in campgrounds, pubs, wineries and parks in Southeast Missouri.
The month's final show features Steve Hornbeak on June 24. Hornbeak grew up in Tamms, Ill., and lives in Nashville. He owns 326 Productions in Illinois, and has made a name for himself as a keyboardist and vocalist, performing and recording with acts like Faith Hill, Steel Magnolia and Vince Gill. His music is also a testament to his Christian faith.
Andre Villoch will be at Rock in the Rock Garden on July 1, bringing intricate acoustic medleys and tales spun into his lyrics. Villoch lives in Mason, Ohio, north of Cincinnati.
Nashville artist Amelia White brings her light rock sound to Jackson on July 8. She is working on a new album called "Beautiful and Wild."
The Rock in the Rock Garden season will wrap up July 15 with local blues man Bruce Zimmerman, who is considered by many a local icon in the music scene.