Two notable West Virginia artists will be taking the stage together for two holiday-themed shows in southern West Virginia on Dec. 13 and Dec. 21.
For several years, Logan native Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. — winner of season four of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” in 2011 — has offered his “Home for the Holidays” tour. This year, Landau is joined by singer-songwriter and longtime host of “Mountain Stage,” Larry Groce.
“Landau and Larry’s Home for the Holidays Tour” will make its way to southern West Virginia for a show at the Larry Joe Harless Community Center in Gilbert on Friday, Dec. 13, and a show at the Madison Civic Center in Madison on Friday, Dec. 21. The shows will provide a contrast between Murphy’s Frank Sinatra-style crooning and Groce’s various styles which include folk, gospel and children music.
The shows typically last around an hour and a half, with Murphy and his band taking the stage first for a set and Groce following with his band. The two then share the stage together for some classic Christmas tunes.
The “Landau and Larry” tour had its first show at the Metropolitan Theatre in Morgantown on Dec. 5. The show was received positively, both Groce and Murphy said.
“We are a contrast in musical styles, but I think they complemented each other, and Landau’s band sounded great, Landau sounded great, and my folks did a good job, so I think people enjoyed it,” Groce said. “We talked to a lot of people afterwards, sold merchandise, shook hands, took pictures and all that stuff, and people seemed to really enjoy it. It seemed to be a good way to start off the holiday season.”
“It was great, man, everybody loved it,” Murphy said. “We get everybody in the Christmas spirit, you know, and just being on the stage with Larry Groce is amazing.”
When asked how he feels about bringing the tour to his native southern West Virginia, Murphy remarked that it’s always a blessing when he has such an opportunity.
“First of all, on my part, it’s always a blessing to be coming home, and then you want that confirmation from the people who you’ve seen day to day anyway,” Murphy said, “and I’m a foot to the ground type of guy, so I like being down to earth and being home is just a way to, you know, stay in touch with my roots, and then to bring Larry Groce on tour with me is just another way to bring people into the history of that music.”
“I think it will work out really well,” Groce said. “He’s a well-known quantity, and people love what he does, and they should, and there’s a lot of people that know who I am and what I do and we hope that they’ll enjoy both styles of music — one of which pop jazz, the other of which is kind of folk and country. If you want to bring your family out, you’re going to get a nice mixture of things and I like that because on ‘Mountain Stage,’ that’s what we do all the time. We have a mixture of different kinds of music, so I really enjoy that, and I think the people of southern West Virginia will, too.”
Both shows will begin at 7 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at www.brownpapertickets.com.