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Weis Center to open 2016-17 season with free performance by roots band The Bumper Jacksons

LEWISBURG – Bucknell University’s Weis Center for the Performing Arts, 1 Dent Drive, will open its 2016-17 season with a free concert at 6 p.m. Friday by The Bumper Jacksons, a nationally popular roots-jazz-country swing band. Hailed as the 2015 Artist of the Year and the 2013-2015 Best Folk Band at the Washington Area Music Awards, The Bumper Jacksons are “hot and sweet, painting America’s story from New Orleans’ brothels to Appalachian hollers,” according to the Weis Center website.

Musicians Jess Elliot Myhre, Chris Ousley, Alex Lacquement, Dan Samuels, Dave Hadley and Brian Priebe form The Bumper Jacksons ensemble. The group blends folk sounds and vocals with roots instruments like the washboard and the pedal steel guitar and describes their second album, “Too Big World,” as “a sweetly balanced collection of hot swing numbers, heartbreak ballads and late-night moonshine foot-stompers,” according to their website.

Much like their approach to live performance, the songs on their newest album offer a mix of old favorites and new creations. They bring a fresh sound to classics like “Satan, Your Kingdom Must Come Down,” “The Dying Californian,” “Delta Bound” and “Them There Eyes,” placed alongside original compositions by Myhre and Ousley. The group’s press release described Ousley’s song “Coffee Mama” as “written in personal homage to ‘all those no-nonsense ladies who don’t mind getting up a little early,’ ” and Elliot Myrhe’s “Adventure Story” as following “the nostalgic paths of a slowly breaking love.”

The Weis Center praised the group’s diverse musical make up, saying “The sextet boasts a bodacious horn section balanced by a beautiful pedal steel. With this unique instrumentation, they’re playfully creative with their originals and re-imagining American roots music with both power and tenderness.”

Before stopping in Lewisburg, The Bumper Jacksons will play several concerts on their tour, including a performance at the Philadelphia Folk Festival in August. Previous performance venues include The Kennedy Center, The Strathmore and The Birchmere.

“They are an entertaining and energetic ensemble that puts a contemporary spin on old-time music,” Kathryn Maguet, Weis Center executive director, said. The first show of the Weis Center season is traditionally held at the beginning of fall, she added, and because of a grant, the performance is free and open to the public.

“It’s a great way to enjoy music and celebrate the end of summer,” said Maguet.

The rain location is the Weis Center atrium lobby, and a location decision will be made Friday morning.

For more information, visit www.bucknell.edu/WeisCenter.