Starting this Saturday, The Depot on Main in Corbin will be hosting a series of free concerts featuring performers from historic Austin City Saloon in Lexington.
Called “Austin Saloon Soundstage,” the shows will take place from now through November, one a month.
“They’ve always had that big space where they used to do the comedy shows and they wanted to use it for something else, so we thought we’d try this,” said Josh Brock, a Corbin High School graduate and varsity basketball standout who is now owner of Austin City Saloon.
“I just want to see if there is interest in live music like that in the Corbin area,” Brock said. “We want to see how people respond and see what the crowds are like.”
All the bands playing at The Depot for “Austin City Saloon Soundstage” are regular house bands or regular performers for the saloon.
First up will be Avery Crabtree this Saturday. The show, like all shows in the series, will begin at 9:30 p.m. and will wrap up at 11:30 p.m. There is no cover charge. Brock said the only cost would be if people want to reserve a table for four, which will cost $20. Those who don’t can fill empty seats or stand to watch the performance.
“Avery can absolutely play anything and everything,” Brock said. “He may play some old Merle Haggard song you’ve never heard before, then break into some Prince. He’s one of the best vocalists you will ever hear.”
Crabtree will be supported by a three-piece band. He’s been in the Nash Next competition and received Lexie Awards for Vocalist of the Year and Band of the Year. the Lexie Awards are given each year to independent bands and singers in the Lexington area.
The second show will be Puddin Howell on Sept. 17 He will be performing an acoustic set and was at one time part of the house band for Austin City Saloon.
On Oct. 8, country music four-piece County Wide will be playing at The Depot. The band, with members all from southeast Kentucky, has been a regular in Corbin, playing at the last two NIBROC Festivals and at Moonbow Nights.
The series will wrap up Nov. 5 with George Molton.
“He’s hands down one of the best vocalists and songwriters I’ve ever heard,” Brock said. “He’s phenomenal. Both he and Puddin are on ITunes so if people want to hear them they can check them out there.”
Austin City Saloon was founded in 1981 and has been a starting point for many country music stars.
John Michael Montgomery was part of the house band there for about five years. Duo Montgomery Gentry got their start there. Everybody from Keith Whitley, Luke Bryan and Exile have been regulars at the saloon.
“It’s definitely seen a lot of famous performers in its time,” Brock said.
Brock and a business partner officially took over ownership of Austin City Saloon in December of last year. He worked there as a bouncer while he was in college, then during a stint with Enterprise Rent-A-Car he started moonlighting at the saloon again and eventually became it’s general manager, then owner.
“I think I was ready for it,” Brock said of ownership. “It’s a lot like being GM except I write a whole lot more checks.”
Austin City Saloon, located on Woodhill Drive, is a popular venue and commonly has 300 to 500 patrons on performance nights.
Brock has a home in Williamsburg and said he splits time between this area and Lexington. He proposed Austin City Soundstage as a way to see if it would be possible to branch out and offer live performances in this area at a reasonable price.