GALLIPOLIS, Ohio — The return of the Gallipolis River Recreation Festival on Friday, July 2 and Saturday, July 3, will bring with it a night of musical acts with a national audience, including the country group Confederate Railroad, as well as NBC’s “The Voice” contestants, Mikele Buck with his Mikele Buck Band and Connor Christian, the latter of which is a Gallia County native — all play on the Saturday of the festival.
Many fans of the band Confederate Railroad first became acquainted with the group in the early 1990’s when it had a string of hits on country radio. Those hits include their first, “She Took It Like A Man” which went to number 26 followed by “Jesus and Mama” and “Queen of Memphis” which both went to the top of the charts. These were followed by “Trashy Women”, “When You Leave That Way You Can Never Go Back”, and “She Never Cried.”
According to the band’s official website, “‘Trashy’ would lead to a Grammy nomination and become their signature song. That album with six hits and nearly three million sales brought Confederate the Academy of Country Music’s Best New Group Award in 1993 as well as numerous nominations from the Country Music Association and the British Country Music Foundation.”
More hits followed including what the band’s website describes as one of the group’s most popular songs “Daddy Never Was the Cadillac Kind” which became a number one video as well. “Elvis and Andy” and “Summer in Dixie” would also follow as hits.
Their overall totals are 18 charted hits and five million albums sold and the band reportedly plays 100 or so dates a year.
Information found at, and provided by, http://www.confederaterailroad.com/.
Buck was born in the hills of West Virginia and was a 2018 contestant on NBC’s “The Voice.”
According to the Mikele Buck Band’s website, “His original songs are a blend of all his musical influences, including Steve Earle, Garth Brooks, Travis Tritt and Red-Dirt artists like Randy Rodgers Band and Reckless Kelly. After returning from the Iraq war in 2005, Mikele went to Nashville to record his first CD and established his first band near Greenville, N.C. This band’s popularity grew and soon they were opening up for major acts such as Jason Aldean and Joe Nichols. From NC night clubs and fairs, the Mikele Buck Band began drawing record crowds of their own. His latest EP release has been pouring through car speakers all over the east coast, with the crowd favorites ‘With Me Now’ and ‘In Came You’ at the helm.”
The band consists of Mikele, Brandon Ross on lead guitar, vocals, Caleb Keen on bass, vocals, Ray Waggoner on drums and Sarah Anderson, fiddle, accessory, vocals. Over the last four years, the Mikele Buck Band has opened up for numerous national acts including Jon Pardi, Brett Eldredge, Jason Micheal Carol, David Nail, The Cadillac Three, Hunter Hayes, Lady Antebellum, Reckless Kelly, Jerrod Niemann, Jimmie Allen and Parker McCollum.
Information found at, and provided by, http://www.themikelebuckband.com/.
Christian will literally be returning home with his performance at River Rec. A native of Gallia County, his talent, and music, recently received national exposure on the latest season of NBC’s “The Voice” after choosing “Team Blake.”
Christian spoke to the Gallipolis Daily Tribune this spring, saying of Shelton, “It is absolutely a dream to work with an artist that has all the accomplishments that [Shelton] does under his belt. He’s super honest. He’ll tell you if something is not working and he will help you figure it out. He’s very artist oriented and he understands it.”
Christian said it was an honor to represent Gallia County during the experience.
“Going out there and being able to represent [people in Gallia County] and my hometown, that was really humbling,” Christian said. “I want people to know even if you grow up in a small town, you can still make it. You can still have dreams. You can still be on a big stage like that and it doesn’t matter where you come from. If you want something bad enough, it’s possible.”
Christian said dreams should not be something kept to yourself. He believes that sharing one’s success is how the community grows.
“I want people in the community to keep supporting each other and lifting each other up and I think that’s the way we’re going to become better as people and a community,” he said.
Christian will be busy performing in the local area. In addition to playing not only at River Rec on Saturday, July 3, he is the headliner at Pomeroy’s “Kickin’ Summer Bash” on Friday, June 18. He’s also performing at the Gallia County Fair on Friday, Aug. 6.
Christian will also be the grand marshal for River Rec’s parade which begins at noon on Saturday, July 3.
Deadline to register for the parade is 5 p.m., today, Friday, June 11. There is a fee of $10 per unit or vehicle for Chamber of Commerce Members, $15 for Non-Chamber members.
According to a news release from the Chamber, those fees go back into the festival, specifically to pay for the free inflatables for children on Saturday of River Rec.
River Rec’s schedule appears below:
Friday, July 2
10 a.m., gospel music presented by Field of Hope;
Noon, opening ceremony;
12:30 p.m., contemporary Christian music presented by Field of Hope;
2-4 p.m., Talent Show presented by Gallipolis Junior Women’s Club;
4-5:30 p.m., Lil’ Miss and Mister Firecracker;
6-9 p.m., River Recreation Pageant.
Saturday, July 3
7:45 a.m., Baby Tot sign up in front of stage;
9 a.m., Baby Tot;
11:30 a.m., Rotary Mile race starts at Shake Shoppe on Second Ave.;
2-6 p.m., Kids Day presented by Beau Sang State Farm in City Park;
7 p.m., performance by Connor Christian;
8 p.m., performance by Mikele Buck Band;
9 p.m., performance by Confederate Railroad;
10 p.m., Fireworks presented by Thomas Do It Center.
All performances and pageants take place on the Robin Fowler State Farm Stage.
Admission is free to River Rec.
Beth Sergent contributed to this article.
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