Mountain Stage Returns To Ohio University

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NPR's long-running series Mountain Stage returns to Ohio University's Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium this Sunday, featuring two Grammy Award-winners and a pair of up-and-coming groups. 

For over 29 years, Mountain Stage has hosted national and international acts of nearly every style of music. Based in Charleston, W.Va., the show is heard on more than 100 NPR affiliates, including WOUB FM, which airs the program on Saturdays at 8 p.m.

Ohio University has hosted the program several times over the past decade, with appearances by Alison Krauss, Son Volt and most recently, The Jayhawks.

"We are very excited for the return of Mountain Stage to Ohio University," said Andrew Holzaepfel, associate director of programming for OU's Performing Arts and Concert Series. "It's truly a unique experience for our patrons. Not only will our audience have the opportunity to hear some amazing groups, but they share the experience of seeing 'live performance radio' being recorded for future broadcast. We are excited to be partnering with WOUB on this project."

This weekend's show continues the tradition of showcasing veteran musicians and talented newcomers, with peformances by Sara Watkins, Rodney Crowell, Lucero and The Lost Brothers.

Singer-songwriter/fiddler Sara Watkins made her name with the popular bluegrass group Nickel Creek, which also included her guitarist brother Sean and mandolinist Chris Thile. Formed in 1989, the group garnered several awards and nominations before going on hiatus in 2007.

Since that time, Watkins has released two solo albums and performed with such diverse acts as The Decemberists, Grant-Lee Phillips, John Mayer and Jerry Douglas. She is currently touring in support of her recent album, Sun Midnight Sun.

Since the early 1970s, Rodney Crowell has straddled the line between mainstream and alternative country. After a stint as a songwriter for Jerry Reed, Crowell's career got a boost when Emmylou Harris covered his song "Till I Gain Control Again" in 1975. He became a sideman in Harris' Hot Band that same year.

In addition to his own country hits, Crowell has had success writing for artists such as Bob Seger, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, Wynonna Judd and his former wife, Roseanne Cash. His most recent album, KIN: Songs by Rodney Crowell and Mary Karr, was released earlier this year.

Memphis-based band Lucero are no strangers to the road. In fact, the website Consequence of Sound described them as "One of the hardest working bands of the last 10 years…on tour significantly more days than they are not."

Lucero has steadily built an audience over the past decade through constant touring and eight full-length releases. The group's new album is titled Women & Work.

Irish folk duo The Lost Brothers have received positive reviews from the Irish and U.K. press for their close-harmony folk-tinged songs. In 2011, the pair teamed up with power-pop maestro Brendan Benson and string band Old Crow Medicine Show for an album titled The Passing of the Night, released this year.

Sunday's show time is 7 p.m. For tickets, visit www.ohio.edu/performingarts.