About the Concert Series
The Damascus Old Mill is located in the mountains of Southwest Virginia, an area rich in music history. Music is important at the Damascus Old Mill. Located on the Crooked Road, Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail, in Damascus, it is understandable why the Damascus Old Mill has become an important music venue in Southwest Virginia.
Both Blue Ridge and Appalachian culture is rich in music history and Damascus has been an important part of this music history. Damascus is only twenty minutes from the Heartwood in Abingdon, Virginia and forty minutes to Bristol, the birthplace of country music.
The Damascus Old Mill is the premier music venue in Southwest Virginia with a rich history of hosting many notable music acts in its past. Some of these groups include Goose Creek Symphony, Col. Bruce Hampton, Acoustic Syndicate, Larry Keel, and the Grammy award winning bluegrass band The Steep Canyon Rangers. The Old Mill is poised to bring well known feature acts to its stage every month, as well as offering free live music in its pub area on most weekends. Since the day it opened, The Old Mill has always supported live music and the careers of successful acts such as Jamen Denton and Wise Old River. Because of its location in the stunningly beautiful Appalachian Mountains, the Damascus Old Mill presents an inimitable music experience in the eastern U.S. Featuring a variety of musical genres including rock, bluegrass, and Americana, the Old Mill offers a great setting and fun time for any music lover.
Barlow Gin and the Hatchetmen
Doug and Julie Gehner, Dueling Banjos
Larry Keel and Natural Bridge
Mark Larkins The Shifters
Wise Old River
Yates Brothers, featuring Steve Firth
Yates Family Band
Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band
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The Damascus Old Mill has featured numerous acts. These are the biographies of many of these bands.
Mark performs “Summer spirited” music to remember the fun Summer times in our lives…
Mark was born in Tennessee, yet he spent most of his childhood growing up in California in the area around West Covina where his love for the ocean and summer music was instilled. Mark’s family moved back to the Tri-Cities when he was about 11 years old, and from then on it was all about focusing his energies as a musician, with a goal of sharing his style of music to the listening audience.
Soon after winning the NACMAI awards in 2001, Mark changed musical directions and pursued the love of his heart, beach/island music. The music has taken him to exciting and exotic places such as Key Colony Beach, Fl, North Miami Beach, Fl, Montego Bay, Jamaica, and Myrtle Beach, SC. He enjoys performing at home here in the Tri-Cities at various restaurants, marina venues, and private parties for a summer crowd.
The excitement of performing is just as great at home as it is away …
this Mountain is a collaborative group of friends and musicians making lovely folk-rock tunes for themselves and others. Based out of Johnson City, TN, they have been making music together since the fall of 2010, and have been capturing ears and getting bodies moving. In the fall of 2011 they released a four song, self-titled EP and released their first full-length album August 21, 2012. And they may well soon be coming to a town near you.
Barlow Gin & the Hatchetmen
Elvis would be proud. Back in the day, hardly anybody knew about jazz, much less rockabilly. Elvis embraced this phenomenon. Which is a huge coincidence, because Barlow Gin is an obscure phenomenon too. Take one guy from here, another couple from there, mix in an oddball drummer. Stir in one mean Mama. Sort of like the good ol’ days — a potent hip switchin’ brew. Elvis would probably like it a lot. Ask him when you see him.
The Shifters formed in 2010 when the trio rose from the ashes of their former band, genericpeople. The band quickly changed gears from a technical and electronic based new rock band to a gritty, vintage inspired, heavy blues band. With total creative control, The Shifters began writing and recording their first album. Naturally, it was their collective love of the blues that served as the adhesive for the components of their sound.
Calling Bristol, TN their home, Billy Thomas, Emily Faith Dickenson, and Jordon Benjamin Yates make up the trio. Southern roots, as well as an obsession with vintage equipment stand as evident influences for The Shifters. Between their fearless delivery and a strong hold on unique rawness, the three drive it home with their hard rocking modern blues jams. Dickenson’s sultry overdriven bass and Yates’ perfectly aggressive drumming lay the foundation for Thomas’ bluesy guitars. Thomas and Dickenson share the role of lead vocalist, and Yates assists with background vocals. This recipe allows The Shifters to deliver their smokey, modern, and classic rock influenced take on the blues.
Doug and Jessie Gehner, Dueling Pianos
Out of Johnson City, Tennessee, the father and daughter duo of Doug and Jessie Gehner have been playing and singing together for the last 20 years. Doug was one of the original Howl at the Moon Saloon Piano players and has performed at hundreds of private and public events around the Cincinnati area. Jessie also plays with the rock bands “The Beatus” and “Jollet Hollow” in Lexington, KY.
They have been making music together since the fall of 2010, and have been capturing ears and getting bodies moving in the region. In the fall of 2011 they released a four song, self-titled EP and released their first full-length album August 21, 2012.
Doug and Jessie also are avid backpackers and thru hiked the Appalachian Trail together from Maine to Georgia in 2008, and the John Muir Trail through California in 2009. They also enjoy farm life and their animals with their biggest supporter and wonderful mother and wife Joan Gehner on their little piece of heaven in California, KY.
Yates Family Band
For years, Tim and Debbie Yates toured around the Appalachians with their instruments. Debbie played with the Konnarock Critters. Tim played with the Rice Brothers. “Her family played old-time music,” Tim Yates said, “and my family played bluegrass.”
Now, with their own family, they play a little bit of both. Married for a decade, the Yates are the parents of 10-year-old Molly, a mandolin player, and 8-year-old Sadie, who plays banjo. Tim plays bass, and Debbie plays a variety of instruments, including fiddle.
“We thought we would start a new tradition together,” said Debbie Grim Yates. Having their daughters in the band is “a gift from above,” said Tim Yates, who grew up in Taylor’s Valley, Va. The parents don’t pressure the girls to play music. “It comes natural to them. It just flows right out of them,” Debbie said. “They want to have fun. And it makes it fun to perform for the audience.”
Besides music, Debbie makes pottery in the basement of the couple’s Konnarock home, perched along the Smyth-Washington county line. Here, all along the gravel driveway, you’ll see little pots in the yard.