Local, regional and national country acts will take the stage Saturday when the Sutherlin Country Music Concert returns.

The event began in 2019 by the Sutherlin Area Chamber of Commerce and boasted both an opening act and regional artist Ben Rue. Last year’s event, like so many others across the globe, was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year organizers have stepped it up, extending the concert to three acts and incorporating local and regional vendors.

Saturday’s event will begin with a performance by local artist Neil Gregory Johnson.

Johnson has been playing guitar since he was 12 and had his first paid gig at 19. In 2019, he began a country wide tour with the goal of tackling 100 breweries all over the US in 100 days. His mix of Americana, rock ‘n’ roll, folk, blues and country have led some to compare Johnson to Lyle Lovett, Mark Bussard and Bob Seger.

“My sets are kind of diverse. I think that is why people like it, you never know what you are going to get when you see a show,” Johnson said in a 2019 interview. “I try to mix it up and keep it fresh.”

Learn more about Johnson at neilgregoryjohnson.com.

Regional artist Jessie Leigh will then take the stage. She is an Oregon native recently taking country radio by storm. Leigh has been involved with music nearly all her life, but didn’t take the musical career plunge until after spending a few years as a teacher.

“Music just kept calling me back, so about seven years ago I stepped out of teaching and went full time into music and it’s been a crazy ride ever since,” Leigh said.

Leigh had her first live concert in 2014. She balances her performances between small venues, festivals and opening for big name acts such as Luke Combs, Tanya Tucker, Josh Turner, Joe Nichols, Craig Morgan and more.

“Country music is just our lifestyle. I love every genre of music but country is just kind of what we live and our people,” Leigh said.

Leigh recently released a new song named “Same Boat.” Listen at jessieleighofficial.com.

Temecula Road will headline the event. Hailing from Temecula, California, the trio consists of Dawson Anderson and sisters Emma and Maddie Salute. They are a rising country group that received a standing ovation at their Grand Ole Opry debut in November 2019.

The group was signed by Buena Vista Records in 2017 but has recently teamed up with Warner Music Nashville and will be releasing new music in 2021.

Learn more at temecularoad.com.

“Temecula Road is an up and coming act,” talent buyer and event organizer Dusty Adair said. “They are a national act that is starting to gain some headway on people recognizing them and knowing their songs.”

Vendors will fill the area that was used for bleachers at the 2019 event. Local and regional vendors will offer a variety of wares. Four food vendors will have food available for purchase and Backside Brewery Outpost and Spire Mountain Cellars will provide drinks in the roped off beer garden.

“Big concerts like this don’t happen like this in Douglas County,” Sutherlin Area Chamber of Commerce and event coordinator Janelle Brown said. “They give this down home feel and Sutherlin really welcomes that. The entire event really brings good things into our community. It feeds our economy. It supports local restaurants, lodging and other businesses as well as supports the sponsors and businesses involved with the event.”

The goal, both Adair and Brown said, is to bring big music concerts back to southern Oregon. They hope to grow the event in the next few years to incorporate more days and entertainment.

Gates at 198 E. Everett Ave., Sutherlin, will open at 4 p.m., with the Neil Gregory Johnson taking the stage around 5:15 p.m. The event will last until around 10 p.m. Tickets are $35 per person and can be purchased at bit.ly/3jfwAOc or at the door. Guests should bring their own seating. A bag check will be required at the gate.

Organizers will follow all COVID-19 mandates in place at the time of the event. Masks, hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes will be available throughout the venue.

More info is available at bit.ly/3DlZrsq.

“We want to build something here on the west coast. We all believe the west coast can be just as cool — if not cooler — than the Nashvilles and the Austins. We are working together to get that done!” Leigh said.

Erica Welch is the special sections editor for The News-Review. She can be reached at ewelch@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4218.

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Community Reporter

Erica Welch is the special sections editor for The News-Review, mother of two and a native of Roseburg. She is an alumni of RHS, UCC and Western Oregon University. Contact her at ewelch@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4218.

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