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Bluegrass concert set in Flowery Branch
Award-winning bluegrass band Nation & Blackwell will perform a free concert from 6-9 p.m. Saturday, July 20, at the historic train depot in Old Town Flowery Branch. Band members, from left, are Jim Pankey, Susan Nation, Curtis Blackwell and Chuck Nation.

Fiddlin’ at the Tracks

When: 6-9 p.m. July 20

Where: Historic train depot at the corner of Railroad Avenue and Main Street in Flowery Branch

Cost: Free


The Flowery Branch Police Department will host "Fiddlin’ at the Tracks," a free bluegrass concert and cookout featuring the band Nation & Blackwell on Saturday.

The inaugural event will be from 6-9 p.m. July 20 behind the historic train depot at the corner of Railroad Avenue and Main Street.

"This will be a family-oriented event so patrons are invited to bring a lawn chair or blanket to relax," Police Chief David Spillers said.

Hot dogs and s’mores will be offered while guests are encouraged to bring picnics.

A number of Main Street businesses will be open for the evening including Old Town’s newest business, Liberty Candy, which specializes in vintage candies and children’s toys.

Nation & Blackwell is an award-winning band whose members have performed across the country and will return to Ireland for a second tour in January 2014. Two of the band’s members, Chuck and Susan Nation, are Hall County residents. Chuck is the pastor of First Baptist Church in Flowery Branch, and Susan is a teacher at McEver Arts Academy.

Chuck Nation plays fiddle, mandolin, guitar, banjo and bass. He has won numerous awards including the Louisiana State Fiddle championship and the 2012 Georgia State Championship. His wife, Susan, grew up in a musical family and sings and plays the upright bass. She was invited to perform at the Savannah Music Festival. Together, the couple has played at the New Orleans World’s Fair, on television and on the radio locally and overseas.

"Chief Spillers came to my office recently and shared that he wanted to have a bluegrass music concert in the city and that everybody told him I was the guy to talk to about that," Chuck Nation said. "And he wanted it to be a family-oriented event that would give folks an opportunity to get together, eat some hot dogs, listen to some good bluegrass music and promote a wholesome and positive community atmosphere."

The idea sounded good. Nation found an acceptable date and agreed to play.

"I’m excited to be a part of it," Nation said. "I think it will be a great event. "

Band member Curtis Blackwell, of Otto, N.C., has performed at the Grand Ole Opry and was named one of the official Legends of Bluegrass by the International Bluegrass Museum in Kentucky.

Georgia native and Tennessee banjo champion, Jim Pankey, rounds out the group. Pankey is a member of the Tennessee-based bluegrass group, Lone Mountain Band. He toured Ireland with Nation & Blackwell in the summer of 2012 and has recorded with many groups throughout the Southeast. Pankey is known for his claw-hammer style of banjo playing.

The band’s repertoire includes old favorites as well as modern songs and original material written by band members.

A "Touch a Truck" event will run in conjunction with the music. Specialized vehicles from the Hall County Sheriff’s Office, Flowery Branch Police Department and Hall County Fire and Emergency Management Services will be on site.

Parking is available along Railroad Avenue, Main Street and in the city’s event lot beside Snelling Drive across the railroad tracks, on the left, in Old Town.