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Grammy-nominated bluegrass band Special Consensus

A varied and excellent collection of bands will take the stage in historic downtown Wylie July 2 as fans of great music gather for Bluegrass on Ballard. The music begins at 3 pm and concludes at 9:45 pm when a fireworks show puts the exclamation point on the day’s events.

Slated to perform are:

Strings of Faith, 3 pm

Phil Ferguson & Texas True, 3:55 pm

Downtown String Band, 5 pm

Texas & Tennessee, 5:55 pm

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Bluegrass Band, 7 pm

Special Consensus, 8:30 pm

Formed in the Chicago area in 1975, Grammy-nominated Special Consensus is a four-person acoustic bluegrass band with a repertoire that features traditional bluegrass standards, original compositions by band members and other professional songwriters, and songs from other musical genres performed in the bluegrass style. The band has released 18 recordings and has appeared on numerous National Public Radio programs and cable television shows, including “The Nashville Network” and the “Grand Ole Opry” at the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. The band has toured all over the United States, as well as Australia, Canada, Europe, South America, Ireland and the United Kingdom, 

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Bluegrass Band, a crowd favorite, creates a new sound from the classic music of the Beatles. Putting their bluegrass spin on such tunes as “Back in the U.S.S.R.,” “Blackbird,” and “Come Together,” Sgt. Pepper’s also infuses these favorites with jazz and a classical twist. They call the result Beatlegras and guarantee audience members will be smiling from prelude to the finale. The band includes Dave Walser on guitar and vocals, Bach Norwood on bass and vocals, Reggie Rueffer on fiddle and vocals and Gerald Jones on banjo, mandolin and vocals. These guys deliver a satisfying musical cocktail called Beatlegras.

In 2014, Bluegrass Heritage Foundation founder Alan Tompkins put together a superpicker band featuring players from Nashville for Bluegrass on Ballard, and they return for 2016. Called Texas & Tennessee, the band features hard-driving traditional bluegrass with John R. Bowman on guitar, Steve Huber on banjo, Ron Inscore on mandolin, and Tompkins on upright bass. Tompkins can also be heard on the Heritage Radio Show on KHYI-FM 95.3 The Range.

The Downtown String Band plays traditional acoustic, bluegrass and swing music with a few modern twists thrown in. These guys are incredible musicians and singers who play fun, acoustic music in the style of Bill Monroe, Flatt & Scruggs, and the Soggy Bottom Boys. They are guaranteed to have toes tapping and kids dancing along with the fiddle and banjo. The Downtown String Band features Dale Morris Jr. on fiddle, Michael Morrison on guitar, Gerald Jones on banjo and mandolin and Alan Tompkins on upright bass.

Phil Ferguson & Texas True brings a collection of songs from the heart with a mix of country, bluegrass and Americana. A pleasing mix of old favorites and new tunes, the band includes Phil’s wife June on bass and vocals, Robert Paul on banjo, dobro, fiddle and vocals, and Robert’s son Braeden Paul on mandolin and vocals.

Strings of Faith is a fine bluegrass gospel band from Forney that won second place in the 2015 Front Porch Showdown sponsored by the Bluegrass Heritage Foundation.

Bluegrass on Ballard is a free festival in Wylie. Musicians of any skill level are invited to bring their instruments and jam with the professionals on the street and in Wylie’s charming restaurants and shops. Food trucks will also line the street, and there will be pony rides and bounce houses for the kids.

The arts and crafts fair is from 10 am to 8 pm in Olde City Park; American Legion Chili Cook-off, also in the park, is from 10 am to 4 pm; the Dallas Mopar car show is from 4 to 9 pm; music on the main stage will go from 3 to 9:45: and fireworks will top off the evening.

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