Monday, January 12, 2015

The Graves Family Band / Wildwood Express

Donna Phillippy, Kayla Harkness, Gary Graves, Katye Benedetti, Marilyn Graves, Bass Player Gary Spraggins,
and Coley Graves
       It is long past overdue that someone (me) told you about the powerful bluegrass and gospel  influence of the Graves Family Band, often known as Wildwood Express. Whether it is bluegrass, bluegrass gospel, or regular gospel, Coley and Marilyn Graves are right there and willing to play. Their daughter Donna Phillippy and son Gary Graves, along with their grandchildren and extended family, are able to join Mom and Dad on very rare occasions.
       Coley and Marilyn Graves were both reared in musical homes. They chose to continue the tradition throughout their more than 50 years of marriage. Over time, it seemed right to include their children, Donna and Gary, in their family music. When grandchildren came along, they soon joined the growing Graves Family Band.
       Time and work schedules often make it impossible to get everyone together for a performance, but on January 10, 2015, an opportunity popped up with the Golden Circle Opry in Jackson, TN, and the audience on that very cold evening was thrilled to hear the rare performance. Son Gary brought along his daughter Kayte Benedetti, and daughter Donna brought her daughter Kayla Harkness. Coley and Marilyn said that it stirred some old memories of playing and singing together years ago.
After the performance at the Golden Circle Opry on January 10, 2015: Bobby Benedetti, Kathey Graves, Gary Graves, Katye Benedetti, Marilyn Graves, Coley Graves, Kayla Harkness, Curtis Phillippy, and Donna Phillippy
       We should tell you the songs they performed at the most recent Golden Circle Opry: Foggy Mountain Top, Little Cabin Home on the Hill, Keep on the Sunny Side, The Old Country Church, Hallelujah Square, Old Slew Foot, Somewhere Between, I'll Fly Away, Daddy Sang Bass, Where the Soul Never Dies, Old Village Church on the Hill, and Just Over in the Glory Land.
       Coley and Marilyn Graves and a supporting group of performers can be seen regularly at the Collierville (TN) Historic Town Square Bluegrass and Old-Time Music Jam on Friday evenings from mid-April through mid-October. The jam moves indoors to the Collierville United Methodist Church from mid-October until mid-April, when the group again returns to the town square. All are welcome to attend the Collierville jams at no charge. All skill levels are encouraged. The band also often appears at Discovery Park of America in Union City, TN, and other regional bluegrass and old-time events.
       The Golden Circle Opry is held in the South Jackson Community Center just off  US 45 South on Highway 18. John Few and Albert Hall originated the event, which is held on the second Saturday night of each month from November through April. Three or four bands are booked for the Golden Circle Opry each time. Some bands that have played for the event are: Wildwood Express, Providence Road, Wayne Jerrolds, Crosswind, Hatchie Bottom Boys, Stone County Connection, the Sparks Family, Lisa Lambert, Corinth Courthouse Pickers, Cypress Creek, and others.
Pick away!
For more information:
Coley and Marilyn Graves -
Golden Circle Opry (John Few) -
Discovery Park of America -  

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