Impressive line-up scheduled for Frenchman River Gospel Jam

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A pair of entertaining evenings, along with 10 hours of free performances, have been lined up for the 2013 edition of the Frenchman River Gospel Jam set for August 2 to 4 at Shaunavon's Crescent Point Wickenheiser Centre.

The three day jamboree kicks off on Aug. 2 with two-time Canadian Country Music Association Male Artist of the Year George Canyon opening for country music superstar Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder.

Canyon was recently nominated for the Canadian Country Music Association's Fans' Choice award, along with Album of the Year for Classics II which was released in Nov. 2012. Classics II picks up where he left off with his 2007 release Classics, where Canyon salutes his musical inspirations with a recording of real country classics.

Canyon released his first worship album "Believe" earlier this year, the ninth over a recording career which dates back to 1999 with his self titled release George Canyon.

He vaulted onto the music scene in a big way following his runner-up showing in the televised Nashville Star 2 series in 2004.

Canyon has earned Juno Awards for Country Recording of the Year in 2005 for One Good Friend and for Somebody Wrote Love in 2007.

He has collected 10 Canadian Country Music Awards awards over the years, including:

2011 - Record Producer of the Year: George Canyon/Richard Marx (Better Be Home Soon)

2008 - Humanitarian Award.

2006 - Male Artist of the Year; Single Of The Year (Somebody Wrote Love).

2005 - Male Artist of the Year; Single Of The Year (My Name); SOCAN Song Of The Year (My Name, written by George Canyon and Gordie Sampson); Fans' Choice Award; SOCAN Songwriter(s) of the Year (My Name, written by George Canyon and Gordie Sampson).

2004 - Chevy Truck Rising Star Award.

Canyon, a resident of High River, will be lending his talents to the Helo High Water benefit concert and telethon scheduled for Aug. 4 in support of the Alberta flood rebuilding efforts. www.halohighwater.ca.

Country Music superstar Ricky Skaggs, who turned 59 on July 18, has been a professional musician since 1971 and has earned numerous musical accolades and is a 14-time Grammy Award winner.

Skaggs will be performing in Shaunavon with Kentucky Thunder, with the combination having teamed up for five traditional bluegrass albums: Bluegrass Rules! (1997), Soldier of the Cross (1999), History of the Future (2001), Brand New Strings (2004), and Instrumentals (2007).

Skaggs has also recorded a pair of gospel albums over the past number of years, performing a number of gospel standards on his 2009 release Solo: Songs My Dad Loved, but his first all-gospel recording project was Soldier of the Cross, which contains 14 gospel favourites.

He released a dozen country music chart topping hits in the 1980s, but his true passion lies in the classic country sound. Now recording on his own Skaggs Family Records label, he boasts 12 consecutive Grammy-nominated albums with Kentucky Thunder, winning eight of those nominations.

Skaggs celebrated five decades of music in 2011 and continues to tour regularly

The August 2 evening is schedule for 6:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Ticket Prices are $40 in advance and $50 at the door.

There is also a day full of entertainment planned for Aug. 3, beginning at 10 a.m. and running until 5 p.m. when a number of performers will be on stage for an all day free jamboree.

Saturday night boasts a trio of performers from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. when the Catherine Lewans Band, 321 Improv and The Hunter Brothers will all be on stage.

Catherine Lewans, the Saskatchewan Country Music Association's 2011 Female Vocalist of the Year, released her first full length CD, Kickin' Up Dust, in 2010, earning her a trio of SCMA nominations.

She was a semi-finalist in the 2011 Next Big Thing competition, and late late year was one of six finalists in the CMT Big In A Small Town series.

Shaunavon's Hunter Brothers have made a trio of trips to Nashville this year to record the vocals for an upcoming new album. Back in Aug. 2010 they released the five song self titled EP

The Hunter Brothers, and followed up in early 2012 with the album Untangle which featured their first single release Glory Hallelujah.

Ticket prices are $20 in advance or $25 at the door.

There is also a special concert on Saturday night featuring Tim Neufeld of Starfield. This concert is free with a weekend pass or just $5 at the door (children 12 and under free).

The Aug 4 portion of the weekend features a Community Worship Service from 11 a.m. to noon, with the final two hours of the music festival running from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

A Weekend Pass is also available for $50 which includes the ticketed concerts on both Friday and Saturday.

For more festival details visit their website at www.frgj.ca

Geographic location: Shaunavon, Country Recording, High River Alberta Nashville

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