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Murray Journal

End summer on a high note at this year’s Murray Acoustic Music Festival

Aug 22, 2019 02:19PM ● By Shaun Delliskave

The Grey Hounds will play at this year’s Murray Acoustic Music Festival. (Photo courtesy The Grey Hounds)

By Shaun Delliskave | [email protected] 

In an increasingly connected world, every once in a while it is good to be unplugged, and the Murray Acoustic Music Festival is here to help. The Murray Park Amphitheater (495 E. 5300 South) will host the festival on Labor Day, Sept. 2, as the final presentation of the outdoor Arts in the Park 2019 season.  

The music festival is sponsored by Murray City Cultural Arts and the Intermountain Acoustic Music Association. IAMA is a nonprofit, volunteer-based organization dedicated to appreciating, promoting, preserving and spreading acoustic music, including bluegrass, British Isles, folk, old-time, singer-songwriter, Americana and Celtic music.

Headlining this year’s show is Anke Summerhill, a well-known local singer/songwriter who has performed regionally for many years. Matt Seabury, who is a former Utah State Fingerstyle Guitar champion, will be accompanying her. 

“We are very excited to have the amazing singer-songwriter Anke Summerhill, accompanied by guitar-player-extraordinaire Matt Seabury,” IAMA President Todd Schultz said.

Summerhill’s debut CD, “The Roots Run Deep,” was highly touted. Independent Songwriter Web-Magazine wrote: “The emotional bond is established with the audience from the very first note. It’s personal yet universal. You may cry, you may find yourself becoming philosophical, but you will feel something totally unique from any other album you’ve ever heard.” 

In February 2004, her second full-length CD, “Shine on Through,” was listed at No. 16 out of 70 CD’s radio survey on the Folk DJ list.

Cottonwood High alumnus Seabury was recognized in 2014 as the Utah State Guitar Fingerpicking champ. He currently tours with the acoustic group The Lazlos.  

“After the short intermission, The Grey Hounds – always lively and fun and sometimes hilarious – will finish the night with their foot-stomping, sometimes progressive, sometimes classic, bluegrass – yee haw,” Shultz said. 

The Grey Hounds consist of Erik Brunvand, Bill Thomas, JD Frederick and Bill Kubilius. All are notable local guitar pickers. They play an upbeat set featuring some traditional songs and some originals. declared them as one of Utah’s best bluegrass bands.

Before the festival, the Murray Park Amphitheater stage hosted 70’s rock group Firefall. The band’s biggest hit single, “You Are the Woman,” peaked at No. 9 on the Billboard charts in 1976. The band also had hits with “Just Remember I Love You” (No. 11 in 1977), “Strange Way” (No. 11 in 1978), “Cinderella” (No. 34 in 1977), “Headed for a Fall” (No. 35 in 1980), and “Staying with It” (No. 37 in 1981).

The Murray Acoustic Music Festival was founded in 1995 and hosted a variety of local acts. In the 1990s, acoustic music was reintroduced to mainstream audiences through such programs as MTV’s “Unplugged” that featured popular artists performing their music sets acoustically. Additionally, the soundtrack of the movie “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” which featured bluegrass, folk and Americana, won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year. Characteristic of most acoustic bands are non-electric guitars, hammered dulcimers, banjos, fiddles, upright bass and mandolins.

Since its start in 1995, the Murray Festival has been part of the circuit for local talent to display their goods. The stage has hosted well-known acts such as Guy Benson, Flint & Steel and Dusty Boxcars.

The festival begins at 6 p.m. on Labor Day at the Murray Park Amphitheater. A $5 general admission fee will be taken at the gate.

“This Labor Day concert is always the perfect way to celebrate the end of the summer heat and welcome the coolness of the incoming fall,” Schultz said. 

Murray’s music scene heads indoors in October, starting with the Murray Symphony Orchestra’s presentation of “Autumn Fantasy” on Oct. 13 and the Murray Concert Band’s Fall Concert on Oct. 26, both in Hillcrest Jr. High School’s auditorium.