6th annual ROOTS concert returns to Murray

Story by Kelsey GrapperhausStaff writer

Murray State’s department of history and student affairs will host its 6th annual ROOTS music concert on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. in Lovett Auditorium.

“We’ve got a very strong lineup this year, one of the best yet,” said Ted Franklin Belue, professor and concert organizer. “The artists are seasoned pros and their music is refreshingly different. We always have a great show and it is great family entertainment.”



Also helping set up the music concert is Kathy Callahan, who is currently teaching in Regensburg, Germany.

“It would be hard to attend the ROOTS Music Concert and leave without a smile. The lively music, combined with the dedication and enthusiasm of the performers, is sure to bring joy to even a die-hard rock fan,” said Callahan, professor in the history department.

The music concert will first feature Nashville’s Gypsy Hombres. The Gypsy Hombres will be playing world music and gypsy jazz.

Rory Hoffman, guitarist for Gyspy Hombres, is blind yet plays more than a dozen instruments.

Hoffman drives the group with his astounding technique, playing a right-hand guitar left-handed on his lap like a piano, Belue said.



Peter Hyrka founded the Gypsy Hombres in 1995 as an acoustic trio featuring violin, guitar and string bass and has since made the band  his full-time vocation.

Hyrka started playing instruments such as the accordion and guitar before fully diving into the violin at 19 years old.

“I practiced a lot, maybe three or four hours a day,” Hyrka said. “I was into bluegrass, but I soon got over it and got into classical.”

Hyrka has accepted awards including multiple Premier Player Awards, given by the Memphis chapter of the National Association of the Recording Arts and Sciences.

Second in the line-up is The Vickie Vaughn Band, who play contemporary bluegrass. In September, the band released their latest CD, a six-track EP produced by Grammy award winner Ronnie McCoury.

VVB, led by Vickie Vaughn, Belmont graduate and western Kentucky native, is a mix between bluegrass, Americana and country.

The band was a nominee for the IBMA Momentum Award for Band of the Year in 2014.

Last in the line-up is Emily Duff and Friends.

Duff, a student from Graves County, Kentucky, is the history department’s student ambassador and sings with the MSU Jazz Orchestra.

Emily Duff and Friends will be performing traditional standards and ballads, but giving a unique interpretation, Belue said.

“We also have a few surprises planned,” Belue said. “So I hope folks will come out and support live music in your community.”

Belue has hosted the previous five ROOTS music concerts and is hoping for an even bigger turnout than the previous years, where they had up to 400 people in attendance, Belue said.

ROOTS 6 music concert is free and open to the public, though the history department is requesting canned goods for Need Line as a ‘ticket’ at the door.