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Pickers bring high-energy bluegrass to Gospel Showcase

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Hurricane Creek Bluegrass Band takes the stage today.
Stan Nelson says bluegrass music is “like creek water running and the wind blowing.

“Bluegrass is so natural,” says the northern Alabama-based musician. “It is what it is.”

That is what made this singer and guitarist fall in love with the music genre that dates back to the early 1940s.

The Hurricane Creek Bluegrass Band, which Nelson formed back in 1988, is the featured performer at the 18th annual Gospel Showcase at Uncle Dave Macon Days old-time music and dance festival, which concludes today.

The showcase begins at noon; Hurricane Creek is slated to take the main stage around 3 p.m. at Cannonsburgh Village at 312 Front St. The event is free and open to the public.

“It is a big thrill to be able to come up there,” Nelson says of performing at the internationally known festival named after the charismatic banjo player. “Uncle Dave Macon Days is a pretty big deal.”

Nelson says his father used to tell him stories of taking a train from northern Alabama to Nashville to go to the Grand Ole Opry and meeting Macon on the street.

Sophie Tipton-Haislip, who performs with The Tipton Family Band annually at the showcase, booked Hurricane Creek for the showcase after hearing the band perform.

“It is real good down-to-earth bluegrass gospel,” she says. “That is what I like about it.”

Tipton-Haislip, who was married to the late Carl Tipton, a performer and television personality, says the spirit-filled showcase continues to grow.

“Everybody loves it,” she says. “They love to meet the singers and talk to them.”

Other scheduled performers include Celebration, the Do-Re-Me Boys, Jerry Messick and the Woodriffs and Summer Storm. An hour-long “Hymn Fest,” a singing of old-time religious songs, will follow the scheduled performers.

The fourth annual Ministry Fair where faith-based organizations, social service agencies and local church-sponsored ministries display and share information about their work also is slated for this afternoon.

Hurricane Creek, which regularly tours across the country, will perform both traditional and original bluegrass gospel songs during their show.

“It is going to be high energy and with a lot of feeling,” Nelson says. “We are going to have a good time with it. We can’t wait to get up there.

“We are looking forward to coming and kicking up some dirt,” he says.

The band, which features Nelson’s wife Phillis on the upright bass, Anthony Bailey on banjo and Stacy Richardson on mandolin, is known for their bold-colored costumes and entertaining shows.

Hurricane Creek was named fan’s choice for best band in 1992 by the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America.

Stan Nelson calls Richardson and Bailey two of the “best pickers” in the Southeast.

“It is going to be a wide-open show,” he says.

Erin Edgemon can be reached at 869-0812 and at eedgemon@murfreesboropost.com.

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