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The Franklin News-Post
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
Fax: 540-483-8013

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Local band to open for Ty Herndon at Harvester
Wildfire has played with Ricky Skaggs, Vern Gosdin and Billy ‘Crash’ Craddock
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Courtesy Photo: Steve Shively and Wildfire will open Thursday night for Ty Herndon’s concert at the Harvester Performance Center in Rocky Mount. Band members include, front from left, Sandy Via, Jerry Wood, Freddie Rakes and Shively. The back row consists of Jerry Prillaman and Gil Lancaster.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

By MORRIS STEPHENSON - Special to the News-Post

After retiring from the road in the late 1980s, Steve Shively and his revised Wildfire band are opening for Ty Herndon Thursday night at the Harvester Performance Center in Rocky Mount.

The doors open at 7 p.m. with Shively and band members taking the stage an hour later.

Shively, who sings and plays guitar and banjo, started the original Wildfire band in 1975 with Charlie Robertson on guitar and Noel Arrington on the stand-up bass. Barbara James joined the band soon afterward as a singer and guitar player.

Various other band members were added along the way to make it a six-piece group, performing a variety of music, plus some original songs, according to Shively.

It wasn't long before the band was opening for many country music stars, like Ricky Skaggs, Vern Gosdin, Pam Tillis, Steve Warner, "Box Car" Willie and Billy "Crash" Craddock.

The band continued to perform until the late 1980s when the decision was made to retire from the road and follow different directions.

The revised band started performing in January 2013. Members include Shively on vocals, guitar and banjo; Sandy Via, vocals and bass; Freddie Rakes, steel guitar, banjo, guitar and vocals; Eli Williams, lead guitar and vocals; Jerry Wood, fiddle and vocals; and Jerry Prillaman, drums and vocals.

"It's going to be a great experience for us to open for a well known and talented entertainer like Ty Herndon," Shively said. "We are looking forward to our first performance at the Harvester. Everyone I've talked with has said it's a state of the art facility with an awesome sound system. We can't wait."

Touring with the release of his first country album release in seven years, "Lies I Told Myself," Ty Herndon is connecting with his fans in a more intimate way.

"I'm staying true to who I am and what I'm about as a singer," said Herndon, "but also reinventing a little bit with sounds in the studio being current with what's relevant on the radio today."

Herndon will be joined at the Harvester by special guest Anita Cochran, a country music singer, songwriter and guitarist.

With number one hits like "What Mattered Most" and "Living in a Moment" in the 1990s, Herndon crossed over to contemporary Christian music in 2010 with the release of "Journey On," which garnered a Grammy nomination and Dove award win.

Herndon is sharing his story of personal redemption that once seemed unlikely, given the well-known addiction issues that had played havoc with his career from the mid-90s through a successful stint in rehab in 2004.

Herndon's experiences affect his interpretation of the title song "Lies I Told Myself," which is also the album's first single, even though the lyrics aren't specific to substance abuse.

"Addiction has cost me a lot in my life. And because of addiction, I told myself a lot of things that weren't true," Herndon said. "And in recovery, I have seen absolutely the light of the truth. But I don't know that I really consider this song a recovery song. I just consider it a song of truth."

"I've had to deal with getting my life together," he added, "so that I can be the artist that I am today," an artist who is even stronger and truer than the one who recorded "What Mattered Most."

The concert begins at 8 p.m. Tickets are $18 or $60 for VIP tickets, which include sound check access, artist meet and greet, an artist photo-op, and choice of seat.

For more information, visit

Penny Hodges - Click for Website
Robert Deatherage - Asst. Commonwealth Atty - Click for Website
PHOEBE NEEDLES - Click for Website
Alpine Photography Studios - Click for Website
Adam Lynch - Click for Website
Billy and Julie Kingery - Click for Website
Harvester Center - Town of Rocky Mount - Click for Website
Angie McGhee-Quality Realty - Click for Website
Weichert - Click for Website