Saturday, March 19 at 8:00 pm
Purchase tickets online at Franklin Park Performing Arts Center
Award-winning singer, songwriter and guitarist Andrew McKnight and his dynamic genre-bending ensemble Beyond Borders return to their hometown theater with their “vast expanse of sound and song”, aptly decribed as “beyond Appalachian, beyond blues, beyond folk”.
Beyond Borders was formed in the wake of their standing-room only 2008 performance at the John F. Kennedy Center, celebrating the release of his latest CD, Something Worth Standing For. The quartet melds McKnight’s lead vocals, acoustic and electric guitars together with original Nitty Gritty Dirt Band member Les Thompson on upright bass, clawhammer banjo and harmony vocals; Les’ wife and fellow songwriter Stephanie Thompson on harmony vocals, bass, guitars, bouzouki and percussion; and WAMMIE-award winning singer/songwriter Lisa Taylor on drums, percussion and harmony vocals.
Since that high-profile debut, the chemistry between these four seasoned musicians and longtime friends has clearly caught the attention of music fans and presenters alike. They are recognized as one of the Commonwealth’s best performing groups by the Virginia Arts Commission in the Touring Artists Directory, alongside top talents like Robin & Linda Williams and the Virginia Symphony. Andrew and Les wrote and recorded “Made by Hand” for the CD Still Moving Mountains, featured on CNN and CMT for its mission of ending the devastating practice of mountaintop mining in Appalachia. The song is also in Low Coal, a new movie produced in part by Mari-lynn Evans (PBS The Appalachians, Coal Country) about the flashpoint over MTR and the Upper Big Branch disaster, all in West Virginia’s Coal River Valley
This show marks a significant milestone and turning point for the band. For their first three years together the focus has been on their arrangements of Andrew’s masterfully crafted songs, captured last year for a CD and DVD now in production. In 2011 they have begun a new phase as an entirely collaborative entity and will debut their first collective co-write “Quiet Revolution” at the show, featuring Lisa and Stephanie on lead vocals.
Since permanently leaving his corporate engineering career in 1996, folk and Americana artist Andrew McKnight’s musical journey has traced nearly half a million miles of blue highways nationwide, and earned him a wealth of critical acclaim and enthusiastic fans for his captivating performances and five solo CDs. His songwriting also encompasses his passion for community and causes such as preserving American landscapes and heritage, like award-winning “Good Things Matter” and the haunting locally-inspired Civil War ballad “The Road to Appomattox” which is a staple of the band’s repertoire.
Les Thompson was with NGDB until 1973, spanning their rise to stardom with hits like “Mr. Bojangles” as well as the band’s landmark platinum record, Will the Circle Be Unbroken, with Doc Watson, Earl Scruggs, Mother Maybelle Carter and other American music legends. He now also serves as Technical Director at Franklin Park. Born and raised in Cajun Louisiana, Les’ wife Stephanie Thompson is a gifted musician in multiple ways – blessed with a soft and sweet alto voice, she is equally at home singing her own songs or picking a traditional tune. Singer/songwriter and drummer Lisa Taylor has earned copious accolades in the mid-Atlantic region for her solo work, including her CD True North, the 2009 Best Contemporary Folk Album in the Washington Area Music Awards.