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Lineup announced for Live on the Levee

Lineup announced for Live on the Levee

by Rusty Marks, Staff writer

RUSTY MARKS | Saturday Gazette-Mail Adam Harris (left), chairman of Live on the Levee’s music committee, and city intern Jordan Paul unveil the music lineup for the free concert series at Haddad Riverfront Park in downtown Charleston. The Friday night concert series runs from May 22 to Sept. 4.

RUSTY MARKS | Saturday Gazette-Mail | Adam Harris (left), chairman of Live on the Levee’s music committee, and city intern Jordan Paul unveil the music lineup for the free concert series at Haddad Riverfront Park in downtown Charleston. The Friday night concert series runs from May 22 to Sept. 4.

Velvet-voiced crooner and Logan County native Landau Eugene Murphy will be one of the headline acts at Charleston’s free Live on the Levee music concerts this summer.

Live on the Levee music committee chairman Adam Harris announced the lineup for the annual concert series at a press conference Friday morning at Haddad Riverfront Park. The schedule includes 11 acts returning to the riverfront stage and nine national acts.

The free concerts are the brainchild of City Councilman Tom Lane, who suggested the series as a way to bring people downtown. Live on the Levee is now in its 12th year.

“Thirteen years ago, if you’d have come down here on a Friday night do you know what you’d have found?” asked Mayor Danny Jones. “Nothing.” He said Live on the Levee is now one of downtown’s most popular events.

Harris said more than 100 performers were considered for the concert series this year, but there were only slots for 31. There are 16 weekly concerts this year.

Murphy, winner of “America’s Got Talent,” will headline the concert on the Fourth of July weekend, joined by the Ryan Kennedy Trio.

Charleston City Manager David Molgaard said a new smartphone app is being added for this year’s event so residents can check their phones to see whether the concerts are being canceled for bad weather. The app is charlestonwvmobile, he said.

Information about the concerts will also be available online at

Event emcee Jim Strawn also said concert organizers are experimenting this year with local FM radio broadcasts to allow boaters to hear the concert up and down the Kanawha River. Radio frequencies for the music feed will be announced before each concert.

Live on the Levee kicks off May 22 and runs through Sept. 4.


The lineup:

May 22 — Groove Heavy and Stratus

May 29 — Meet Me In the Matinee and Tape Age

June 5 — Mothers Nature

June 12 — White Chapel District and Siren’s Song

June 19 — Spurgie Hankins and the Zach Deputy Band

June 26 — The Carpenter Ants and Red Wanting Blue

July 3 — Ryan Kennedy Trio and Landau Eugene Murphy

July 10 — Blue Yonder and Morgan White

July 17 — Coyotes in Boxes and Qiet

July 24 — Beggar’s Clan and I-Vibes

July 31 — A Story Told and The Company Stores

Aug. 7 — Farnsworth and Almost Queen

Aug. 14 — Jeff Ray Band and Trent Tomlinson

Aug. 21 — The CharlieWest All-Stars and The Esquires

Aug. 28 — The Joseph Sisters and Cody Wickline

Sept. 4 — Blackwater Mojo and Ronnie Baker Brooks


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Lilac Festival Opening Celebration



“America’s Got Talent” Winner Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr.,
Headlines Opening Day With FREE Lunchtime Concert

UntitledROCHESTER, NY, April 29, 2015 — Hollywood may have its red carpet, but in Rochester, we show our Passion for Purple—and on Friday, May 8, we’re asking everyone to help us show the world our famous Rochester Lilac Festival! Come to Highland Park for a Hollywood inspired opening celebration, walk the Purple Carpet and share your experience with hashtag #lilacfest.

“We want #lilacfest to take over social media and trend nationally on opening day,” said Jeff Springut, producer of the Rochester Lilac Festival “People around the world will know about our famous lilacs, our famous festival, and our famous city.”

The festival kicks off at 10:30 a.m. and the real celebration begins at 12 noon with a free lunchtime concert that will have everyone dancing in front of the Sahlen’s Music Stage. America’s Got Talent winner Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr., brings his big band-style voice, reminiscent of Frank Sinatra, and Billboard chart-topping sound to the festival for two sets at 12:15 and 1:15.

When you arrive at the festival between 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m., follow the signs at Highland Park to the Purple Carpet, where volunteers will take your photo. Share your experience on Instagram or Twitter with hashtag #lilacfest, and you will be entered to win the grand prize: Two tickets to anywhere in the continental United States on Delta Airlines.

Opening day of the 2015 Rochester Lilac Festival is sponsored by Royal Car Wash. Parking is free until 3 p.m., and the opening events will take place rain or shine.

Eat your way to even more prizes
With hundreds of menu items and more than 40 food and beverage stops, the Rochester Lilac Festival offers something delicious for everyone. During the Opening Day Celebration until 2 p.m. on Friday, May 8, festivalgoers will have a chance to win one of many prizes: a package from Royal Car Wash, an All You Can Eat at the Rochester Lilac Festival experience, backstage meet and greets with festival headliners, and more. Visit any of the food and beverage stops to pick up a sweepstakes entry form. The more stops you visit, the more chances you have to win.

“Opening day is just the beginning of the Lilac Festival culinary experience,” said Springut. “From Nick Tahou’s famed garbage plate and Abbott’s Frozen Custard to an international smorgasbord including gyros, falafel, Caribbean wraps, sushi, Indian cuisine, artichokes French and more, it takes all ten days to eat your way through the Rochester Lilac Festival.”

About Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr.
Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr., worked for ten years washing cars in his hometown of Logan, West Virginia, before he walked onto the stage at America’s Got Talent (see the video here) and won the hearts of America and the world. Since he won the $1 million grand prize—with the largest total number of votes of any winner in the show’s history—he has released two albums and is about to release a third, and he has appeared in more than 100 sold-out concerts across three continents, from the Apollo Theater in New York to Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas. Television audiences know him from his appearances on The Today Show, The View, Fox and Friends, The Talk, Anderson Cooper, The Daily Buzz, NPR, CNN, and dozens of others. Find more information here.
About the Rochester Lilac Festival
The largest 10-day free festival of its kind in North America, the 117th Annual Rochester Lilac Festival welcomes more than 500,000 attendees annually. Visitors come to Monroe County’s famous Highland Park to experience the incredible beauty and intense fragrance of more than 500 varieties of lilacs on 1,200 plants. Alongside the largest lilac collection in the United States, visitors enjoy non-stop entertainment, a wide variety of foods, and one-of-a-kind shopping. Special events inside the festival include the televised Lilac Parade, a three-day Wine & Chocolate Tasting, two-day Lilac Brew Fest, Seniors Day, and the Highland Hospital Lilac 10K and 5K. Weekends include Art in the Park—a juried art and crafts show—and the new Home Show. Open 10:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. daily May 8-17; admission to the Rochester Lilac Festival is free.

Images for the Rochester Lilac Festival can be accessed by visiting or For more information, visit

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Exclusive: ‘AGT’ Winner Finds Bigger Prize in Helping Homeless

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Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. Exclusive: ‘America’s Got Talent’ Winner Finds Bigger Prize in Helping Homeless


January 9, 2015 | 8:58 am
The man on the other side of that trigger probably would have killed Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. while stealing his car years ago, but a higher power was at work.

The “America’s Got Talent” winner Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. has spoken about his life, challenges to his faith, and how he has remained rooted in God in the wake of newfound fame.

Growing up between West Virginia and Detroit, Michigan, the 40-year-old jazz singer has been shot at, homeless and felt like he hit rock bottom before he became the season six winner of NBC’s competition “America’s Got Talent.” American voters seemed to fall in love with the story of a car washer on his last dime belting out Frank Sinatra classics, but Murphy’s life did not change in the way some would think when he won $1 million and a contract to headline shows in Las Vegas.

“Being in Vegas was something that I really felt was bad for my soul, so I got out of Vegas as soon as possible after winning ‘America’s Got Talent,'” Murphy told The Christian Post. “I came back home and I started raising money for less fortunate people again, which ended up being to the amounts of $1.3 million for homeless and abused kids and different charities around the states of West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio.”

As someone who once lived out of his car and struggled to secure a solid meal, Murphy has a hard time dealing with the mindset of those catering to famous people when there are people in need who are struggling.

“Being homeless is really weird because when you’re homeless, no one will give you anything but when you’re famous people want to give you steak dinners. That’s just weird to me; it’s so backwards,” he told CP. “I try not to let any of this go to my head and I don’t take anything for granted. I mean I’m the type, give me a steak and I’ll go and hand it to the guy that’s sitting outside begging for it.”

It is this type of humility that pulled at the heartstrings of audiences watching “America’s Got Talent” in 2011, leading them to vote for Murphy to win the competition. Since then, the jazz singer has two albums under his belt and is still enjoying the experience of touring.

Three years after getting introduced to the world through his voice, Murphy’s touring schedule is booked with shows around the country. The singer admits his music career has not been easy to maintain after winningthe coveted talent competition that brought him fame.

“I think God put me in a position, a whole lot of positions where I had to learn on the fly,” Murphy said. “I had to learn to adapt to different environments and different situations without having a vocal coach. It was all a learning process.”

Still, the Christian jazz crooner has not lost his passion for performing and remembers why God gave him the natural abilities to do so.

“[God] putting me on stage to allow me to raise money for less fortunate people was my grooming process. That was my process to get me ready for what I’m doing now,” Murphy said. “Now I just enjoy it. I still get butterflies, I still get nervous when I’m getting ready to go onstage.”

While Murphy is preparing to release his third album later this year, he remembers a time when he and his wife were robbed of everything in their West Virginia home. A talk with God let Murphy know that a bigger platform would be provided to him and then at 37 years old, his entire life changed.

The singer is proof that dreams come true at any age in life and remembers a time when people once doubted his.

“Family, friends, close people around me tried to discourage me from doing what I was doing or pursuing my dreams. But every time I got kicked down, every time I felt like I was slipping off or falling off, I’d tie a knot into the end of that rope and pull myself back up,” Murphy told CP. “God gives us the abilities to do that but it’s up to us as individuals. It’s not up to a teacher or philosopher or anybody that can tell you that, you have to have this in you.”

Murphy continues to hold onto his faith when pursuing his dreams, insisting that when people know their purpose, faith can get them through anything trying to deter them.

“From the time you start breathing, you’re on this planet to serve a purpose. That purpose is to spread the Word of Jesus Christ and let people know that we’re all under the same umbrella,” he insisted. “You’ve also got to have that endurance to know that your faith alone is going to get you through obstacles or anything that this life can throw at you. That’s what I’m always going to hold on to, I’ll never let that go.”

The singer believes that surrounding himself with positive people from all walks of life has made an impact on him and he strives to continue to impact others through his charity work.

“I always was in church, singing and doing little church fund raising events and stuff like that. It just made me better, it made me stronger so I could see what the world was really like and how people really care about other people,” Murphy revealed. “I plan on doing charity forever, that’s what it takes. I’m in a better place, I’m just doing my part.”

The Logan, West Virginia, native notices that while some people changed when he won one million dollars, but he continues to stay rooted in his faith. Murphy’s focus is on more than just his music, but helping the less fortunate beyond the holiday season.

“We’re all under the same umbrella, we all bleed red blood. It’s just sad how society tries to stereotype things or place other people in different categories when we’re all the same,” Murphy said. “Under God, there is no one greater no matter how famous you get, no matter what your status is in this world. We all have to answer to the Almighty.”

For more information about Murphy and his performances in a city near you, please visit

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