SALEM, NY — Fort Salem Theater ends its summer Mainstage series on Sunday, September 17, at 2 PM, with a Nashville-style matinee of traditional country-western music. Spurs USA, an award-winning Berkshires-based country western band, will team up with The Ginley Girls, four young singing sisters from Saratoga Springs, for a show at the Washington County venue on September 17. The ninety-minute toe-tapping, whistle-blowing, hand-clapping matinee entertainment will feature popular classic country hits with performers who span three generations.
The afternoon session is the brainchild of Dona Frank-Federico, front-person of Spurs USA and retired Chief Operating Officer of WAMC Northeast Public Radio. She credits her association with station CEO, Alan Chartok, for her involvement with the Spurs, having met two of the band members through her work with Chartok’s band, The Berkshire Ramblers, with whom she sings three to four times a year as they offer their services to the community free of charge.
Spurs USA play the top-drawer classic country catalogue, including Johnny Cash, George Strait, Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton. Working beside Federico is lead male singer Dwight O’Neil, a veteran Nashville musician whose former life found him performing with John Hartford, Earl Scruggs, and opening for Fleetwood Mac. The sidemen supporting their vocals, passionate professionals all, have shared the stage with a wide spectrum of celebrity singles and groups, including Canned Heat, John Denver, Carly Simon, Willie Nelson, and The Grateful Dead. They play such varied venues as the Saratoga County Fair and the historic Hudson Valley Paramount Theater, where they opened for the Marshall Tucker Band to a standing ovation.
The Ginley Girls, ranging in ages seven to sixteen years old, debuted onstage with Spurs USA at Saratoga’s Caffe Lena in a sold-out-in-advance performance in early summer. “We love to help cultivate new talent by sharing our stage and experience in a style similar to the Grand Ole Opry,” offers Frank-Frederico. “I am astounded at the natural talent these girls demonstrate. They’re self-taught and able to create harmonies on the spot! We love the energy they add to our performance.”
She found the Ginley Girls during some downtime at a real estate closing, with their father, Michael, an attorney. Sharing her enthusiasm for music, Ginley showed her his “talented girls” on a YouTube video. “Once it started, I actually watched the whole thing. They’re great!” Frank-Federico said. She and Spurs drummer Terry Hall, a veteran of forty years touring with Arlo Guthrie, have been working to expand the girls’ repertoire. In Salem, The Ginley Girls will open for the Spurs and be featured numerous times throughout the show.
“Whenever the Spurs come to the Fort,” says Fort Salem’s artistic director, Jay Kerr, “it’s a real show, not just musicians playing and singing well. It’s real professional entertainment, with great performances and lots of fun. Something special in a first-class venue!”
Spurs USA with special guests, The Ginley Girls, will be play on the Mainstage at Fort Salem Theater Sunday, September 17, at 2 PM. All tickets are $20, and may be ordered in advance by going to the theater’s website (fortsalemtheater.com) or calling the box office at (518) 854-9200.