The Salem Civic Center and the Fulton County fair will host a Spring Concert Series the last Saturday in March, April and May. A great lineup of entertainers are coming to Salem. The first concert will be March 25 at 7:30 p.m. and will feature Fulton County’s own Matthew Huff. Huff’s parents, Matt and Karen, moved to Mammoth Spring when he was four years old, and he graduated from Mammoth Spring High School in 1998. Growing up in the rural community, he loved music but it never occurred to him that he could become a professional musician.
Huff graduated from the University of Central Arkansas with a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education, and taught elementary school for six years in Conway. Huff wrote his first song in 2008, which turned out to be a stepping stone to where he is now. Back Again, the title of his first recorded release, peaked at number 39 on the Music Row Breakout Chart in September 2010. He made that progress with just the help from a couple of promoters and small radio tour. “The significance of this is that as, as a new, independent artist with no big money, no label, it was a tremendous accomplishment to hit a Top 40 song right out of the gate. As the song climbed the chart, Matthew made the decision to resign (from teaching) in May of 2010 and have a full time music music career.
While Huff travels the country playing his music and trying to establish fan bases, he still finds it important to play shows locally. “This area is home to me,” Huff said. “If you’ve grown up in a small town, you know there isn’t much to do outside of the river, dirt roads and bonfires, so it’s nice to have a little music to go listen to every now and again,” Huff said. He hopes he can be an inspiration to other young musicians. “I feel that had I had someone to coach me or give me just a little insight on what to do when I was younger, I think I might have pursued the music career a lot younger in life.”
Since 2014, Huff has garnished 16 independent music awards across 4 different independent organizations. A Little Bit of Crown” has been winning over fans and topping independent music charts all over the globe for most of 2015. Landing in at #1 8 out of 10 weeks on the Independent Music Network Top 30, peaking as high as #2 on the IceMan Top 40, #1 for three weeks on Florida Country Radio, #1 for all of 2015 on BandWagon Radio and #4 for all of 2015 on the Iceman’s Top 276 for 2015 as well several other independent syndicated charts.
Huff’s honors to date include his debut single “Back Again” in which landed him a Top 40 hit (39) on Music Row Breakout Chart and #20 Power Source Top 75. The follow up single, As Time Goes By hit #51 Music Row Breakout Chart and #9 on Power Source Top 75.
In 6 short years Huff has played over 500 shows from California to Florida as well to the UK, building his fan base to an international level and has completed 4 studio albums.
The 2nd concert in the Spring Concert Series at the Salem Civic Center will be held April 29 and Nashville recording artist Bobby Randall will highlight the show and will be joined by up and coming Nashville star Melissa Lee (Renker). Randall is a member of Confederate Railroad and tours with them as well as a solo act.
Bobby Randall was the first lead guitarist for Sawyer Brown. He appeared with the band on Star Search in 1983-84. In 1991 he became the only founding member to leave the group. Randall took a job hosting a Star Search-like talent show, You Can Be a Star on The Nashville Network (TNN). Randall also hosted a show called The Wildhorse Saloon also on TNN. He was the Anchor on a show called Behind the Game that aired on Fox Sports Net. His band is a regular at the Nashville Palace. Randall joined the band Confederate Railroad in 2011. Not only is Bobby an excellent singer but he can be found on the tour playing Steel guitar and Fiddle.
Opening for Bobby Randall will be Nashville’s Melissa Lee (Zenker). Currently touring with Confederate Railroad, Melissa Lee is an up-and-coming Nashville Country music artist to look out for. She kicked off 2016 with 3 sold out shows at Kewadin Casino in Sault Ste. Marie, MI as the only female artist in a “tribute to the Grand Ole Opry” show. She has opened for many national acts such as 2015 ACM New Artist of the Year winner Cole Swindell, Tyler Farr, The Kentucky Headhunters, and Confederate Railroad, and has shared the stage with artists such as Buddy Jewell and Jeff Carson. Melissa performed over 200 shows in 2016 from Alaska to Florida.
The 3rd Concert of the Spring Concert Series at the Salem Civic Center will be a Country Dance Party featuring Billy Joe French and Friends. Billy Joe is well known in the area and draws large crowds of country music fans for his shows. He recently released an album “Billy Joe French and Friends album of country classics.
He will be joined by Nashville recording artist and world champion fiddler Tim Crouch, Robby Springfield from Branson on the steel guitar , Eddie Cooper on bass and vocals, Chuck Young on lead and vocals, and Ken Loggins on drums. Get your two-stepping shows on for this concert!
This group of musicians have played together for years and are in demand for shows in the North Central Arkansas and we are fortunate to have them here and be a part of the Fulton County Homecoming Festival on Memorial Day weekend.
Tickets go on sale on February 20 and will be sold with the option of purchasing advance tickets for all three concerts for a savings of $15. There will also be an option to purchase individual tickets for each concert. Tickets can be purchased online with a credit card at www.salemciviccenter.net or at www.fultoncountyfair.org. They can also be purchased at the Fulton County Fair Office and at area ticket outlets to be announced. Call 870-895-5565 to purchase tickets by telephone. All profits from the concert series will be used to maintain the Salem Civic Center. Purchase tickets in advance and save.