Photos courtesy of Peoria Center for the Performing Arts
Experience the vibrant soundscapes of Arizona’s finest folk and bluegrass talents at the Peoria Center for Performing Arts this August, in an intimate, free music series set to strike a chord with music lovers. Located at 10580 N. 83rd Dr., doors open at 6 p.m. and performances start at 7 p.m.
Enjoy performances of acoustic tunes played by a talented lineup of local Arizona folk and bluegrass artists. Grab a beer or glass of wine and some light snacks from the PCPA Concessions and settle in for an entertaining evening of musical storytelling!
Tucson native, Sophia Rankin, is an accomplished multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter with a diverse repertoire that spans the musical genres of folk, pop, rock, and Americana. Her two first solo CDs, released before and during her attendance at the University of Arizona Fred Fox School of Music, were positively received by press and promoters alike. She landed first-place awards at both the 2017 Tucson Desert Song Festival and the 2018 Stefan George Songwriting competition. She now leads her own band, Sophia Rankin & The Sound, with members Connor Rankin, Ben Arthur, and Noah Weig-Pickering. Her third and latest album, “Too Close to the Riptide,” ventures deeper into classic elements of rock, pop, and folk music alike. Her expansion from a solo artist to a band leader pushes her to explore new sounds without straying far from her folk upbringing. Sophia is also a music teacher for grades kindergarten through fifth.
This evening, Sophia is joined by her brother and drummer, Connor Rankin. Connor is a senior at the University of Arizona majoring in film and television. Connor first picked up the sticks in 2019 when Sophia needed a drummer. He also plays piano, ukulele, and the cajón. Rankin’s music can be found on popular streaming and purchasing services.
Liz & Pete
She’s Liz, he’s Pete, they are Liz & Pete. Liz Cerepanya and Peter Dalton Ronstadt join musical forces to explore material old and new. Cerepanya’s heartfelt voice with Dalton Ronstadt’s haunting harmonies and rich guitar arrangements captivate the mind and tug at the heart.
After a few passing introductions in their shared music scene, Cerepanya joined Dalton Ronstadt, Linda Ronstadt’s nephew, on stage at Monterey Court in Tucson in the fall of 2019. They had an opportunity to work up a few songs, including Rodney Crowell’s “Leaving Louisiana in the Broad Daylight,” and an instant musical match was realized. Quickly Liz & Pete began exploring material including the timeless songs of Alan Garr, songs of their favorite songwriters and singers, new and old compositions by Dalton Ronstadt, as well as classic songs from his father Michael Joseph Ronstadt’s repertoire. Liz & Pete’s natural element is just the two of them on stage accompanied by an acoustic guitar and the Pennsylvania Stompbox.
Named ‘Best Group/Duo’ in the International Acoustic Music Awards, acoustic-duo Ryanhood got their first break more than a decade ago as street-performers at Boston’s Quincy Market. It was there that they were spotted by a college booking agent and thrust into the college touring scene, where “Campus Activities” magazine would name them “one of the most requested acts by college buyers all across the country.” They’ve since gone on to perform more than 1,000 shows in 46 U.S. states over the past decade, and have shared stages with Jason Mraz, Matt Nathanson, Train, and many more. Residing in Tucson, where they have won more than a dozen Tucson Music Awards, Ryanhood was also recently named the “Discovery of the Year” by John Platt at WFUV in New York City and was a featured act at Australia’s National Folk Festival in 2018.
Their latest album “Under the Leaves,” sees the pair’s lead guitarist Ryan David Green stepping into the role of sole producer, weaving a tapestry of lush strings and rich harmonies. The album, like their shows, is driven by strong acoustic guitar performances and is at turns energetic, hopeful, and quietly moving—a musical invitation to breathe, and to soak in a river of melodies and harmonic hooks.
Cameron Hood, the band’s primary lyricist, has waded into those musical rivers with dream-like verses about seeds and forests, breath and wind, and the cycles and seasons that frame our lives.
The Cross-Eyed Possum (CEP) is fresh off of winning the Pickin’ in The Pines band competition in Flagstaff. From Prescott, CEP is an identical twin led acoustic family trio, consisting of two core members of the band Sugar and the Mint (2017 winners of Telluride Bluegrass’s band competition).
Their set is a unique blend of originality, musical proficiency, explosive vocal performance, and accessibility. The Possum’s have been wowing Arizona audiences since 2013 and are anticipating their second studio album.
More information for both series can be found on the city of Peoria website at www.peoriaaz.gov/PCPA, and on their Facebook and Instagram pages at @PeoriaAZArts.