Boyne City Fire Department hosts Burns and Poe country music concert Sept. 24
Keith Burns and Michelle Poe will open for Juice Newton at the Boyne City Fire Department's annual country concert fundraiser Saturday, Sept. 24. (COURTESY PHOTO)
The concert is one that many local residents look forward to each year. It began more 27 years ago, and this year's concert is Saturday, Sept. 24.
"Back when we started doing the concert there wasn't really any other place nearby to get good country live music," said Oral Sutliff, chairman of the concert committee and a volunteer with the department for 49 years.
This year the headline act will be Juice Newton, who has appeared for the event before.
"We had Juice Newton about 20 years ago, and I think she's as good now as she was then," Sutliff noted.
The opening act for the concert will be an up-and-coming duo, Burns & Poe. The duo consists of Keith Burns and Michelle Poe. Both Burns and Poe have unique backgrounds in their country music careers that eventually brought them to the relatively new partnership.
In 2007, the two made official introductions at an audition for the Trick Pony leading lady; Poe landed the gig. In what seemed to be just moments later, the trio disbanded, leaving the door open for the creation of Burns & Poe.
Burns was a founding member of that Grammy-nominated, gold recording trio, who won both an American Music Award and an Academy of Country Music Award. Burns has also written songs recorded by Joe Diffie, Hootie & The Blowfish, Sammy Kershaw, Anita Cochran and Trick Pony.
"Keith is business savvy," said Poe. "He knows how to write; he knows how to entertain. We don't take each other too seriously, but making good music is serious to us."
Poe, formerly a Dreamworks recording artist, has been an integral part of national touring bands, singing backup and playing bass in the rhythm section behind the likes of international acts Dierks Bentley and Hank Williams Jr.
"Michelle is a hardworking artist and songwriter," said Burns. "She is focused and an idea person in our songwriting sessions. We're making the best music we've ever made."
Burns & Poe signed with Blue Steel Records in 2009 and have been on the road performing at shows from coast to coast. Now, having released a self-titled, two-disc album, the pair is celebrating its success.
The profits from the concert will go to the fire department's equipment fund, which is used to furnish new gear and update current equipment.
"One way we've used the fund was for the recent purchase of a new grass fire truck, which we were able to pay for entirely," said Sutliff.
The department currently has no urgent needs according to Sutliff, but the fund is low and this event will replenish it.
Over the years the fundraiser has raised $2,000 to $8,000 and draws anywhere from 600 to 800 people.
"We've been really fortunate with the concerts and things have stayed constant year in and year out," Sutliff noted.
The concert will be at the Boyne City Performing Arts Center, located at the Boyne City High School. There will be two shows, at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. The cost of the concert will be $22 for an individual ticket or $48 for a family pass.
Sutliff is the primary contact to purchase tickets in advance, although they are available at the door the night of the show. To contact Sutliff directly with questions or to purchase tickets, call (231) 582-9194.
Tickets are also available at the Boyne Area Chamber of Commerce during business hours, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday. They are located at 28 S. Lake St. in Boyne City. Call (231) 582-6222.