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David Ball to headline concert at Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum

Posted by Scott Metko on July 13, 2014 at 1:25 PM

Posted: Thursday, July 10, 2014 6:15 pm


by Wilson Harvey, Staff Writer, Exponent Telegram


WESTON — This summer has provided an abundance of entertainment for local residents. And a show this Saturday in Weston should provide locals with plenty more.


“Seeking Asylum — A Midsummer MusicFest,” as the show is named, will feature live music from 12:30-10 p.m. at the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum in Weston. And according to Bob Cline, who works for U.S. Tours and is the producer for the show, there will be something for everyone.


“We’ve got over 8 hours of live music, and we’ve got food and craft vendors,” he said. “The admission ticket includes a ticket to tour the asylum, and the haunted house will be open that night for what we’re calling ‘A Midsummer’s Night Scream.’”


Grammy-winning artist David Ball, who sang “Riding With Private Malone” and “Thinkin’ Problem,” will headline the show. Both songs reached as high as No. 2 on the Billboard Music charts, and “Private Malone” stayed 22 weeks on the chart.


“If you’re going to have a large music event, you need an artist with a big name,” Cline said. “He helps justify everything and helps show it’s a big event, not just a county fair.”


He added that he personally enjoys Ball’s music.


“I’ve always liked David’s music. He does a lot with veteran groups, and his song ‘Riding With Private Malone’ has always touched me,” Cline said.


That work with veterans is something that means a lot, in the opinion of Ball himself.


“People who serve in the military ... I got the chance to play music in Iraq, and you meet some nice people, 19-year-old guys and girls,” Ball said. “I was very impressed with their dedication to this country.”


He added that his musical style is one that draws from classical country influences, while also introducing new features.


“You know, I’m really a song man,” he said. “When I was a little kid listening to the radio, certain songs grabbed me, and others I didn’t care that much about. Most people were listening to Led Zeppelin, and I was listening to folk music. ... That’s how I started getting into country music.


“I concentrate on the songs, and that’s kind of what ‘Thinkin’ Problem’ was. Nashville has a history of making great records, and I try to focus on that.”


Part of what lured him to the “Seeking Asylum” concert is the rich historical background of the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, Ball said.


“Well, I understand that the building architecturally is quite something,” he said. “I love going into situations that are different and unique, as well.”


Aside from Ball, the show will feature other recognized artists, Cline said.


First will be Marteka and William Lakes, a young duo that Cline said plays a “Flatt & Scruggs style of music with a guitar and banjo.”


They will be followed by The Lilly Mountaineers, whom Cline labeled as “probably the best known bluegrass band in West Virginia.”


Then Ryan Cain and the Ables, a popular local band, will take the stage.


After that, Johnny Cochran & The Trail Blazers will perform. Cline said that Cochran has quite the musical background.


“He was George Jones’ first fiddle player,” Cline said. “In fact, he still plays background music for a lot of stars in Nashville.”


Following Cochran will be David Chaney as Elvis and then Terry Lee Goffee as Johnny Cash, and then Ball will take the stage at 8:30 p.m. for the headlining concert.


Beyond the musical entertainment, there will be plenty more to do for those who attend. The event is unique in part due to its bevy of options, Cline said.


“I think if there’s a performance you don’t like, you’ll have many options,” he said. “The tour of the asylum is very interesting. You can get a feeling for what life was like there 100 years ago. And it is physically the largest building restoration in America today, so it’s a chance to tour what it was.


“And there’s a little bit of fun thrown in with the haunted house and games like Hillbilly Horseshoes and Manic Croquet using mannequin legs,” Cline said.


There will be a kitchen and baths display, origami, booksellers, and a lot of carnival style food, Cline said. He added that the National Guard will be bringing a rock-climbing wall.


The event is one that can be enjoyed by many people, even those of young age, Cline said.


However, “this is more for someone who enjoys music and history,” he said. “But I think the kids are going to love the games, too.”


And Ball said that musically, it should be a very enjoyable event.


“My music, a big part of it is fun. I like uplifting music, like Bob Wills. His music had a big kind of smile on it, so I’m carrying on that tradition,” Ball said.

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