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High Lonesome Senate to Open for Doyle Lawson
February 22, 2018

Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver will perform to packed house this weekend in Greeneville. Before the show starts, though, a Walters State dean and four talented students will tune up and take to the stage to create their own musical memory.
High Lonesome Senate, Walters State’s bluegrass band, will open for the bluegrass legends. Members of High Lonesome Senate – Riley Denton, Santana Bell, Ryan Henard, Alex Greene and Chippy McLain, dean of Humanities – are also fans and look forward to seeing Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver from a closer-than-usual vantage point.
“Doyle Lawson is the paradigm for bluegrass. He’s a trendsetter and he has stood the test of time. I am a big fan. This is a tremendous opportunity,” said McLain, who also sings and plays the guitar in High Lonesome Senate.
While the band plays several concerts each year, High Lonesome Senate has never performed anywhere as large as the Niswonger Performing Arts Center – and they’ve never performed before a crowd as large as the one that will be waiting on Saturday.

McLain and his band members may be just a little nervous, but it isn’t showing.
“We’re doing rehearsals and we are planning to do songs that are familiar to us. I’m trying to make sure everyone a has chance to do some vocals. One of my favorite songs we’ll be performing is “Humming Bird.” It’s an Allison Brown song and much different than what you usually hear at area jam sessions,” said McLain.
While he hopes everyone coming away from Saturday’s concert enjoys High Lonesome Senate, he’s hoping some in the audience might want to join the band. 
“We have a very talented group now, but I know some of them will be graduating in just a few months. I want them to graduate and continue working toward their goals, but it breaks my heart to know they won’t be in the band anymore,” McLain said. 
Perhaps a few singers with some expertise on the mandolin, banjo or bass will look at the band and think, “I want to do this.”
High Lonesome Senate is actually part of the college’s folklore class. For McLain McLain, the band is one way to acknowledge and celebrate the heritage of this area.
“I want to celebrate my folk heritage and this area’s culture. I want to share it with students. This has been an important artistic outlet that connects me with my home,” McLain said.
Following Saturday’s date, the band will next perform at Bellamy’s Hardware Surgoinsville this March. 

In the picture: Members of the High Lonesome Senate are, from left, Alex Greene, Riley Denton, Santana Bell, Ryan Henard and Chippy McLain, dean of Humanities at Walters State and advisor to the band. High Lonesome Senate will open for Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver on Saturday, Feb. 24, at 7:30 p.m. The concert will be at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center in Greeneville.