Connie Smith to play Saturday concert with Marty Stuart

Connie Smith to play Saturday concert with Marty Stuart


Marty Stuart’s Congress of Country Music has an impressive lineup scheduled at the historic Ellis Theater this week.

Fourteen-year-old bluegrass musician Wyatt Ellis and his band will perform an educational show for local school students on Thursday, April 4, at 10 a.m. Neshoba Central, Philadelphia, and Choctaw Central schools are expected to attend.

“I think that it’s very important to put bluegrass music in front of the younger generation so they can feel its energy and drive firsthand,” Ellis said. “The first generation of bluegrass musicians, like Bill Monroe, Mac Wiseman, Bobby Osborne, and Lester Flatt, planted musical seeds that are still growing in musicians today. Those first notes that rang out from WSM in 1939 inspired so many young people like me to learn to pick and sing. Marty Stuart is the perfect example of where that journey of heroes and mentors can take you.”

Bluegrass will reclaim the spotlight on Friday, April 5, at 8 p.m. with The Del McCoury Band headlining, alongside special guest Wyatt Ellis.

“I am really honored to open for The Del McCoury Band in Marty’s hometown because Del and Marty have been the ultimate heroes to me since my journey began,” Ellis said.

Led by Del McCoury, a protege of bluegrass pioneer Bill Monroe, the band, including Del's talented sons Ronnie and Rob, serves as a torchbearer for bluegrass history, earning them a devoted fan base over the years.

The Ellis Theater eagerly welcomes back the legendary Connie Smith and Marty Stuart on Saturday, April 6, at 8 p.m. for “Connie Smith Sings Merle Haggard.”

“Around here, we honor the legends. They’re family,” Stuart said. “I can’t think of a show that fulfills that statement any more than Connie coming to town to sing Merle’s songs backed by Eddie Lange, the Superlatives and myself. That has the makings of a legendary night at the Ellis. The only thing that could possibly be better than being on stage in the middle of the music would be to be in the audience watching it all go down.”

This sold-out show marks a grand return for the couple and will feature a special celebration with sponsors and season ticket holders, setting the stage for an exciting evening.

“I love coming to Philadelphia. It’s like coming home,” Smith said. “What truly makes Philadelphia so special is its people. From the first time I came to town in 1970, everyone’s made me feel welcome and treated me like family. That’s just how Mississippi folks are.”

She added, “I feel as though the Ellis and the Congress of Country Music are a part of me as well. I’ve watched it from day one. I’ve done a lot of praying over this project, and I believe God has his hand on the matter. I’m honored to come back to the Ellis and sing some of Merle’s songs. He was family to Marty and me. His songs are important and should never be forgotten.”

Before the show, a special ceremony for the “Connie’s Bouquet” mural, hosted by Shawn Byars in the Listening Room at the Peets building, will start at 2 p.m., featuring Connie and Marty debuting their newly composed song dedicated to the mural unveiling.

“What girl wouldn’t like to see a wall of beautiful flowers painted for her,” Smith said. “I can’t wait.”

The mural itself, skillfully crafted by artist Casey Byars, was generously sponsored by Dorette Sarachik. The mural painters will be in town from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. for drawing and stenciling.

The mural will be placed on the side of the old Byars Building on Walnut Street, along with Pam Bam’s Famous Soul Food Truck parked on Walnut Street as well for the crowd to enjoy. 

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