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Many artists to perform on Mountain Stage this weekend

Jan. 30, 2014 @ 10:24 PM

CHARLESTON -- Mountain Stage with host Larry Groce is packed with four powerhouse singer/songwriters come Sunday as a live taping is set for Feb. 2 at the Culture Center Theater on the State Capitol Grounds in Charleston.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the show time is 7 p.m. for the taping that will feature such Mountain Stage favorites as Nellie McKay, John Gorka, Justin Townes Earle , Wesley Stace (John Wesley Harding) and the jumping jazz, rock and pop blend of Elizabeth and The Catapult.

Go online at www.mountainstage.org for more info and to get tickets which are $15 advance or $25 the day of the show. Tickets are also available by calling 1-800-594-TIXX or in downtown Charleston at Taylor Books.

Here's a closer look at the artists on the show.

John Gorka

A Mountain Stage favorite, John Gorka will be sharing songs off of his latest CD, and his first in more than four years is "Bright Side of Down," which is due out in March.

The winner of the Kerrville Folk Festival's "New Folk" award in 1984, Gorka remains one of the Northeast's most acclaimed singer/songwriters.

Gorka's songs have been recorded by Mary-Chapin Carpenter, Mary Black, Maura O'Connell and Nanci Griffith. On 2001's "The Company You Keep," he was joined by Carpenter, Ani DiFranco, Lucy Kaplansky and Patty Larkin, while "So Dark You See," his 11th recording, was released in 2009. Gorka, whose writing has been described as "wide-eyed lyrical honesty," has also released a collector's edition box set featuring a hi-def DVD and companion CD titled "The Gypsy Life."

Nellie McKay

Born in London and raised in bohemian Harlem by her actress mother, multi-talented Nellie McKay quickly set a new standard for diversity and creativity. Her resume would be impressive for someone twice her age. To date, McKay has done Brecht on Broadway, opened for Lou Reed at Carnegie Hall, sung Woody Allen movie songs at the Hollywood Bowl, performed on "A Prairie Home Companion," sang with Eartha Kitt and Triumph The Insult Comic Dog, and played Hilary Swank's sister in the 2007 film "P.S. I Love You." "Normal As Blueberry Pie," issued in 2009, paid tribute to her longtime inspiration Doris Day, fitting as McKay received the Humane Society's "Doris Day Music Award" in recognition of her dedication to animal rights.

In 2010, she released, "Home Sweet Mobile Home," featuring production from her mother Robin Pappas and creative input from David Byrne. She recently performed in the season finale of Michael Feinstein's "Swinging With the Big Bands" at Lincoln Center which explored the intersection of jazz and popular song.

Justin Townes Earle

Justin Townes Earle creates stark portraits with elements of acoustic blues and folk. After cutting his teeth in a bluegrass/ragtime combo The Swindlers and the louder, more rocking The Distributors, Earle forged his own brand of American roots music. In 2009, Earle won the "Best New and Emerging Artist" at the Americana Music Awards. His record "Midnight at the Movies" was named one of the best records of 2009 by Amazon, and received four stars in "Rolling Stone." Earle appeared on HBO's "Treme" with his father and was named by "GQ Magazine" as one of "The 25 best dressed men in the world" in 2010.

His 2010 release, "Harlem River Blues," garnered a "Song of the Year" award at the 2011 Americana Music Awards. Earle's last release, 2012's "Nothing's Gonna Change the Way You Feel About Me Now," was recorded live over four days at an old converted church recording studio in Asheville, N.C.

Wesley Stace

With 17 releases under the name John Wesley Harding, British singer/songwriter and novelist Wesley Stace is a veteran of the music industry and literary world. Influenced by songwriters like Bob Dylan and John Prine, Stace's 1989 stateside debut featured Elvis Costello's backing band The Attractions. Since then he has recorded with the Decemberists, Peter Buck, Rosanne Cash, Laura Veirs and Scott McCaughey.

In 2009 Stace launched his NPR variety radio show "Cabinet of Wonders" based at New York City's City Winery. Stace has appeared on "Late Night with Conan O'Brien," "The Late Show with David Letterman," and "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno."

He teaches a songwriting course at Princeton University with poet Paul Muldoon, and has also taught literature at Fairleigh Dickinson University, where he curates the Words & Music Festival. His first novel, 2004's "Misfortune," was nominated for the Guardian First Book Award, the Commonwealth Writers' Prize, and the James Tiptree, Jr. Award, listed as one of the books of the year in "The Washington Post." Stace's fourth novel, "Wonderkid," was published in February, 2014. His new, self-titled album, his first under his given name, was released in fall, 2013.

Elizabeth & The Catapult

Showcasing the songs of Elizabeth Ziman, the music of Elizabeth & The Catapult has been described as "a mixture of organic jazz, rock and pop." The group's latest release is "Like it Never Happened."

An active musician since childhood, Ziman studied classical piano until age 16 when she began concentrating on singing. In 2002, Ziman joined Patti Austin on tour, singing background vocals for the soul legend for the next 18 months.

Two years later, Elizabeth & the Catapult released a self-titled EP which caught the ear of several major labels and in 2006 were named "one of the best discoveries of the year" by NPR. After signing with Verve Records, the group released "Taller Children" in 2009. Then, while working on the Lincoln Center song cycle (performed last spring for a commission from NPR's John Schaefer), Ziman read Leonard Cohen's "Book of Longing" collection which gave the group 2010 CD, "The Other Side of Zero," its title and inspired a number of tracks.



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