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Jesse Milnes, Emily Miller to open Trail?Fest

September 9, 2011
The Inter-Mountain

The Highlands Trail Foundation will present local musicians Jesse Milnes and Emily Miller as the opening performers for Saturday's Allegheny Highlands Trail Festival.

The duo will perform from noon to 1 p.m. on the stage at the Montrose Community Park. In the event of rain, the festival will take place indoors at the Montrose Community Building.

"We couldn't be happier that Jesse and Emily will be part of the trail fest," HTF President Karen Carper said. "They are a wonderful addition to the already fabulous line up of musicians scheduled to play for the event."

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Jesse Milnes and Emily Miller will open the Allegheny Highlands Trail Festival at noon Saturday at the Montrose Community Park.

Other featured performers include Seth and Erin Young of Blackwater Mojo at 1:30 p.m., Australian blues and roots artist Claude Hay at 3:30 p.m. and The Ginsangers with award-winning songwriters Connie Townsend and Dave Parker at 5:30 p.m.

Milnes said the couple is happy to be part of the festival supporting continued development of the AHT and other recreational trail opportunities in the area. "I used to ride the trail to go to work at Bob Smakula's shop," he said.

The instrument building and repair shop is located near the trail a few miles from Elkins.

Milnes and Miller perform around the country and abroad with the Sweetback Sisters, a country band based in Brooklyn, N.Y. The group recently returned from the Shrewsbury Folk Festival in Shrewsbury, U.K., where they sold the most CDs of any band featured. In July, they performed at the Country Music Rendezvous in Craponne, France. "It is the biggest country music festival in Europe," Milnes said.

The couple's duo act features traditional old-time music, classic country songs, blazing square dance fiddling and plenty of harmony singing.

West Virginia native Jesse Milnes grew up with traditional music all around him. He learned to play old-time fiddle and fingerpicking guitar from his father, Gerry Milnes, folk art coordinator of the Augusta Heritage Center. He has won numerous fiddle and banjo contests, including the West Virginia State Folk Festival in Glenville. In addition to playing music, Milnes also repairs fiddles and bows.

Born in Kansas and raised in Hong Kong, Miller learned at a very early age to play and sing traditional music with a healthy dose of country music on the side. The family band performed frequently on television shows and in shopping malls while living overseas.

In addition to live music, the festival also includes pulled pork barbecue served with farmers market corn, fresh coleslaw, bean salad and homemade dessert. Both food and music are included in the ticket price of $20 for adults. Children younger than 12 will be admitted for $5 at the family friendly event.

Located between Elkins and Parsons on the AHT, Montrose can be reached easily by bike. Parking for those who arrive by car is available at the lot across from the Montrose Community Building.

Seating is available at picnic tables in the park pavilion. Guests are also welcome to bring lawn chairs or blankets to spread out on the grass. Event organizers ask that dogs be left at home.

For more information on the Allegheny Highlands Trail Festival or other HTF events, visit the group's Facebook page at



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