The first two acts of a five-group concert series at the Granada Theatre debut Sunday: Juice Newton and Exile.
“I’m especially excited about this show as it features two pop/rock artists that later found homes on country radio and continued to put out chart topping hits in a completely different genre,” said Granada Executive Director Bryan Williams.
The remaining concerts are country music icons Marty Stuart, Lorrie Morgan and Joe Diffie.
Juice Newton Newton is a five-time Grammy nominee for Best Female Vocalist, which she won in 1983. “Angel of the Morning,” “Queen of Hearts,” “The Sweetest Thing (I’ve Ever Known)” and “Love’s Been a Little Bit Hard on Me” are just four of the 14 top-ten hits to her credit.
“I always see singing as a painting project,” Juice Newton writes at her website, juicenewton.net. “It’s very visual for me … the story of the song unfolds before my eyes while I sing.”
Newton picked up the guitar as an adolescent, performing publicly at the age of 13. Her first ensemble was the country-leaning group Silver Spur, which was quickly signed and she relocated from her home state of Virginia to Los Angeles.
It was about six years later that her first solo album, “Juice,” (1981) was released and garnered three top hits. “Quiet Lies” was released the following year and the song “Break It to Me Gently” earned Newton a Grammy over fellow nominees Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris and Rosanne Cash. This was followed by a Country Music award for Best New Female artist and back-to-back Billboard Female album artist of the Year honors.
Newton spent a majority of the 1990s raising her family with an occasional music tour and two more albums.
The new century has seen four more albums, including duets with Willie Nelson, Frankie Valli, Glen Campbell, Melissa Manchester and Randy Meisner.
Newton writes: “For me, it was like making three records. These singers are so wonderful and unique. I really wanted to be on my game. I lived with my headphones on, studying the songs and preparing my interpretations.”
“Juice Newton is an original that walks her own musical path whether it’s rock & roll, country, or pop,” writes Robert “Bo” White of The Review. “She’s a rebel with a cause who is stubborn enough to keep on singing with just enough spark and strut to heat up a stage with some of the best music in the business.”
Out of ‘Exile’
Exile shares the bill with Newton. 1978’s pop hit “Kiss You All Over” was their breakthrough, but the band soon changed their focus to country music and landed ten No. 1 hits in four years, including “Woke Up in Love,” “I Don’t Want to Be a Memory,” “Give Me One More Chance,” “Crazy For Your Love,” “She’s a Miracle,” “Hang On to Your Heart,” “I Could Get Used to You,” “It’ll Be Me,” “She’s Too Good to Be True” and “I Can’t Get Close Enough.”
Singer, songwriter and guitarist J.P. Pennington leads the band with Les Taylor (guitar, vocals), Sonny LeMaire (bass, vocals), Marlon Hargis (keyboards) and Steve Goetzman and Gary Freeman (drums). Pennington has been recognized as BMI Writer of the Year and one of BMI’s Top 100 Writers of the Century. His credits include “The Closer You Get” and “Take Me Down,” both recorded by Alabama; “It Ain’t Easy Bein’ Easy” covered by Janie Fricke; and “Just In Case” by the Forester Sisters.
Exile performs Thursday in Nashville to celebrate the release of their new album, Exile Live at the Franklin Theatre and raise money for the homeless. Exile was inducted into the 2013 Kentucky Music Hall of Fame in a class that also included Steven Curtis Chapman, The Kentucky Headhunters, The Hilltoppers and the late Grand Ole Opry star, Skeeter Davis.
A new biography of the band, “50 Years of Exile: The Story of a Band in Transition” by Randy Westbrook was published in 2013 and details the longevity and “bull-dogish-stick-to-it-tive-ness” that has led Exile to the present.
Get your tickets here
“Ticket sales for the Juice Newton and Exile show have been steady the past two months, but have definitely picked up as of late,” said Williams. “There are plenty of good tickets still available, and we just released some floor tickets we held for the band that they won’t be using.”
The doors will open at 6:15 p.m., allowing time for patrons to grab some concessions and find their seats.
Tickets are on sale at the Emporia Granada Theatre box office at 807 Commercial St. and online at www.emporiagranada.com. Those who require wheelchair accessible seating are invited to contact the box office at 342-3342.
Juice Newton & Exile
Where: The Granada Theatre, 807 Commercial St.
When: Sunday, 7 p.m.
Tickets: $55/$40/$25 at 342-3342 or emporiagranada.com