Jimmy Rose, who soared to national prominence last year as a contestant on the NBC program “America’s Got Talent” where he finished third and in the process gained a national following for his from-the-heart country music styling, will be the featured performer during the 50th Kingdom Come Swappin’ Meetin’ slated for the Cumberland campus of Southeast Kentucky Community & Technical College.
The concert by Rose and his band will be Saturday, Oct. 4 beginning at 7 p.m. in the Edsel Godbey Appalachian Center.
Michael Corriston, senior director of the festival that has developed into one of the oldest and most successful arts, crafts and music events in the commonwealth, acknowledged how exited he is to have a “national” talent like Rose to perform during the Swappin’ Meetin” — especially during the event’s golden anniversary.
“Jimmy Rose is a very dynamic and gifted performer who connects well with the audience. He is from our region, Pineville area, and he is also a former student at Southeast,” said Corriston. “We are proud of him and his success; we are overjoyed that he will be performing for us.”
Corriston also mentioned that the motto of the festival is “Keeping Traditions Alive,” and he said it has been many years since an act with the national flair of Rose has appeared at the Kingdom Come Swappin’ Meetin.’
He explained in the festival’s earliest years celebrated folk and Appalachian balladeers such as Jean Ritchie, John Jacob Niles and Pete Seeger performed.
With 330 prime seats available, Corriston said the upcoming concert by Rose and his band is a “must see” event. We have a great place to hold this event, and we look forward to having the place full. It will be a terrific evening!”
Rose’s signature hit “Coal Keeps the Lights On” has become an anthem for Kentucky coal miners, working in an industry besieged in the past years by massive layoffs. The singer, who learned to play the guitar and write songs while serving in the U.S. Marine Corps during tours in Iraq, has polished his skills and in 2013, he was chosen to be a contestant on the hit TV program, “America’s Got Talent.”
Performing before millions, the popularity of Rose became a phenomenon as viewers quickly made a connection with the entertainer. Week after week, he would return to face the team of judges, and when the show had concluded for the season Rose had finished third, buoyed by adoring fans who had cast their votes week after week.
“I suggest folks get their tickets early as we expect a very big demand,” said Corriston. “It should be a most memorable Swappin’ Meetin,’ our 50th. We’re glad Jimmy Rose will be here to help us celebrate this milestone.”
Tickets are now on sale by contacting Angie Fields at SKCTC Cumberland. Ticket prices are set at $10 for advance sales and $15 on the evening of the performance. Fields is located in the business office, Newman Hall, on the Cumberland campus Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. She can be reached at 606-589-3030.