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CONTACT: Brian Ososky
Director of Marketing & Public Relations

April 15, 2014

A Night of Roots-Rock & Homestyle Americana 'Under The Stars' at Bok Tower Gardens April 26


LAKE WALES, Fla.—The annual springtime Concert Under the Stars takes place at Bok Tower Gardens Saturday, April 26 at 7 p.m., featuring progressive American folk rock and “newgrass” band, The Greencards, together with the roots-rock and country sounds of Connor Christian & Southern Gothic. The event is sponsored in part by WEDU, WUSF, The Ledger Media Group, 97 Country WPCV, and the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, and the Florida Council on Arts & Culture.

“There is a lot of positive momentum at the Gardens heading into this year’s Concert Under the Stars,” said Brian Ososky, Director of Marketing and Public Relations. “This season has been packed with exciting events, our 85th anniversary celebration, and the launch of our Preserve the Legacy, Steward the Future campaign to build new garden spaces.”

Ticket prices for the 2014 concert are less expensive than in prior years, with adult tickets dropping from $25 to $20, and child tickets (5-12) from $10 to $8. Children under 5 are admitted free.

“This concert represents a time to relax with your family and listen to nearly three hours of fantastic live music on our Great Lawn with the 205-foot Bok Tower as the backdrop.” Ososky said. “There’s nothing quite like it anyplace else, and we’ve lowered the ticket prices to make it even more affordable.”


"Every night I have a new hometown," sings Connor Christian in the title track of the latest release from Connor Christian & Southern Gothic, New Hometown. Those words could be the mantra of many touring bands, whose lives become a blur of highways, hotel rooms, stages and crowds. But in the case of Connor Christian & Southern Gothic – CCSG as their fans affectionately know them – those words are more than just a metaphorical description of the troubadour lifestyle of a band on the road. They are a nod to the beginnings of a band – not just its members, who come from places as far and wide as Los Angeles to Russia – but also its music, an amalgamation of roots-rock, country and Americana.

"We don't like to box ourselves in," says Christian. "But we hear from fans all the time that our blend of sounds and influences is one of the things they love. When we get on a stage, it just clicks. It's seamless. And based on the way people are reacting, it must be working."

Connor Christian was born in Los Angeles, but before he was a teenager, had lived in South Korea, Indonesia and Belgium. At the age of 14, he left home with a guitar and a backpack, and continued his travel and musical growth in Pennsylvania, Florida, Georgia, South America and even Africa. By the time he settled in Atlanta, GA in 1996, his life and his music were steeped in culture and influence from his well-traveled youth, and a tradition of diversity. And it was in that tradition that he began crafting what would become CCSG.

Connor met drummer Shawn Thacker in 2004. Thacker, a Rome, GA native, was raised as many rural Southerners were – surrounded by guitars, fiddles, mandolins and banjos. Suburban Washington, DC native and bass player Joe Abramson, who cut his teeth on '60s British blues and "pretty much anything with loud guitars," rounded out what initially began as a trio; the first incarnation of what would later become CCSG.

Continuing in the spirit of New Hometown, next came classically trained violinist (turned fiddler) Elena Martin, born and raised deep in Soviet Siberia. Aside from her fiddle work, Martin is beloved among fans for her huge smile and on-stage energy. Multi-instrumentalist and Syracuse native Jeff Spirko completed the lineup, joining in 2010. Spirko moves with ease between guitar, mandolin, banjo, fiddle and piano. Christian, in addition to his vocal duties, plays guitar, piano and mandolin, and Martin plays piano and mandolin when not blistering the neck of her fiddle. The band's ability to move between so many instruments adds not only a great dynamic to the music, but a level of excitement to their live show as well.

CCSG has spent the better part of the past three years on the road. They've shared stages with such artists as Zac Brown Band, Tim McGraw, Willie Nelson, Corey Smith, Big & Rich, Uncle Kracker, STYX, ZZ Top, Heart, Foreigner, and more. The diverse nature of the artists with whom they've toured again reflects the diversity of the band's sound. "It works," says Christian in regard to the varying nature of the audiences. "We've played to country crowds, rock crowds, young crowds, old crowds. We've played to jam band audiences and we've played bluegrass festivals. The response with all of them has been fantastic."

"We've traveled the world," says Christian. "We find the people, the stories - there's always something familiar, no matter where we go. So when we get to play songs that are shaped by those people and those places, somehow it always feels like we are home, no matter where we are."


From their first down-beat in 2002 through tours with Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson, The Greencards have won hearts and acclaim for their multi-dimensional Americana vision.

Their new album, Sweetheart of the Sun, is filled with songs that reference water, along with the often-related concepts of motion and travel. The Greencards co-founders Kym Warner and Carol Young focused on those aspects of their lives to craft a unified document that catalogues their journeys while transporting listeners to a beautiful, welcoming world.

Drawing on their Aussie upbringings, American experiences and restless natures, The Greencards use imagery and instrumentation to evoke moods and suggest movement; the songs themselves ebb and flow like tides.

Young and Warner have traveled far, literally and metaphorically, since forming The Greencards in 2003 after transplanting themselves in Austin TX. Their debut album, Movin’ On, earned them a deal with Nashville-based Dualtone Records, so they headed east. Other albums followed, along with two Grammy nominations, a 2006 Americana Honors & Awards win as New/Emerging Artist of the Year, and a number one position on the Billboard Bluegrass Chart.

Sweetheart of the Sun is a short-list of The Greencards favorites – purposely gathered together as a gift of sorts to their supportive fans. The band’s last release, 2011’s The Brick Album, was a collaboration with those fans; donors who helped get it made even got their own “bricks” in the album art. But this time, says Warner, “We wanted to turn the tables and give back.”


Tickets for the 2014 edition of Concert Under the Stars include all-day Gardens’ admission and are $20 in advance ($18 members), and $8 children ages 5 to 12. Day-of-show tickets are $25 adults and $10 children. To purchase tickets or more information, visit or call 863-734-1222.

Gardens’ carillonneur Geert D’hollander will give a special pre-concert performance on the Singing Tower carillon beginning at 6:15 p.m. There will also be a picnic contest with prizes awarded for Best Americana picnic, Best Country picnic, and Best Overall.

The Blue Palmetto Cafe will stay open until 7 p.m., and a variety of food and drinks will be available near the Great Lawn concert area beginning at 5 p.m. Pre-ordered boxed picnics are available by calling 863-676-1355. The Tower & Garden Gift Shop will remain open until after the concert is over (11 p.m.).

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About Bok Tower Gardens:
Voted Florida’s best garden, Bok Tower Gardens is a National Historic Landmark located 10 miles from LEGOLAND Florida, 55 miles southwest of Orlando and 60 miles east of Tampa near Lake Wales in Central Florida’s rolling hills of citrus. Open every day of the year from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Visitor Center, Café and Gift Shop are open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $12 for adults and $3 for ages 5-12. Members and children under 5 are admitted free. LEGOLAND ticket holders will receive free admission for children under 12. For more information, contact Bok Tower Gardens, 1151 Tower Boulevard, Lake Wales FL 33853; 863-676-1408 or visit


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