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Mon, July 15

It's Opry Time! Third Prescott Opry features Glendale musician Shari Rowe

Fresh off the release of her first solo country album, Glendale artist Shari Rowe will be the featured performer during the third installation of the Prescott Opry at the historic Elks Opera House in downtown Prescott Thursday.

Coincidentally, Rowe released her "Southern Spells" album at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville where she performed songs for WSM radio.

"It was just amazing," she said.

Now she's looking forward to seeing the restored Elks Opera House in Prescott and performing here.

"There's such a strong country fan base here," she said of Arizona.

Rowe was part of a gospel trio with her sister and sister-in-law called Reigning Mercy, and they released albums with Atlantic. Now she's leading her own country band.

"Country music is just part of me, and it always has been," she said.

The album has a bit of a bluegrass twist.

"I love music that makes you feel like you're outside," Rowe explains.

"Down home and sassy, the pop rocking, bluegrass feel of Shari's album is country to the core...with a twist," her website says.

Rowe enjoys writing songs that relate to her love of the outdoors. She especially loves camping in the White Mountains, and also has tried out Lynx Lake near Prescott.

"This album is me," she said on her website at sharirowe.com. "It's me back home where I belong. I grew up in the true West - camping, spending time with family, making moments out of the little things in life. That's what this album is all about."

The song "Don't Wanna Leave" on her new album, for example, was inspired by her favorite White Mountains camping spot.

"Whenever it's time to go, none of us wants to leave," Rowe says on her website. "I know other people can relate to that feeling. I want them to be able to play my song when they're out camping with their own families."

Rowe wrote many of the songs on her new CD with Nick Orso, who also backs her up on vocals, guitar and percussion. Her husband Kevin plays bass.

All but two of the songs were created for Rowe's CD. One of the others is Nitty Gritty's famous "Fishin' in the Dark," a song she's always loved to sing along to on her way up to the high country.

"I thought it would be fun to sing it from a girl's perspective," she said.

Rounding out the list of performers at the Prescott Opry Aug. 9 will be the Prescott chapter of the High Mountain Chordsmen, a 30-member chorus of four-part vocal harmony; Radio Flyer, a quartet of Chordsmen members doing folk music; Brush Arbor Revival, a Prescott-area bluegrass gospel group; Gene Burkhart of Glendale, who performs western swing; and Maria McArthur, an 8-year-old fiddle sensation from Tucson.

Tickets are $15 with discounts for seniors and students. Call 777-1370 or go online to elksoperahouse.com.

The idea for a Prescott Opry every month or so, fashioned after the Grand Old Opry in Nashville, rose out of the Greater Arizona Country and Western Swing Music Association headquartered in Prescott Valley.

The first two Prescott Oprys have been a great success, said Ed Gary, Prescott Opry emcee and president of the association who lives in the Valley of the Sun.

"The crowd is getting better with every performance," Gary added.

Gary compares Rowe to Alison Krauss.

"She's got a bluegrass flavor to her country music," Gary said. "She's going to fit right in with what we're doing."

What Prescott Opry is doing is highlighting the roots of country music, something he sees the country returning to.

"Personally, I'm glad to see that happen," said Gary, who enjoys performing traditional country sounds himself.

"We hope to make it a staple in Prescott," he added.

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