New shows add fire to Lyric

Friday, December 25, 2015

Shelley Koppel
Staff writer
Dec. 25, 2015

STUART — The Lyric has added three tempestuous ladies and a Gaelic Storm to its 2015-2016 season.

On Jan. 26, the group Gaelic Storm returns to the Lyric for a night of Celtic sounds mixed with rock, folk and country. The band began in 1996 when four guys met at an Irish pub in Santa Monica, California. They began blending Scottish and Irish tunes with pop music and developed a following. In 1997, filmmaker James Cameron asked them to appear in his film, “Titanic,” and their career took off. They have recorded 10 albums and performed around the world.

Gaelic Storm has two of the original members, as well as new performers including Pete Purvis, who plays everything from the uillean pipes to the tin whistle to the highland pipes. Their 2010 album, “Cabbage,” debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard world chart and they recently released another album, “Matching Sweaters.”

Ana Popovic returns to the Lyric Jan. 30. The Serbian blues guitarist was recently nominated for her fifth Blues Music Award. Based in Memphis, Popovic was born in Belgrade to a musical family. She began playing the guitar at 15 and her father encouraged her to turn to the blues. She formed a group that toured the former Yugoslavia. The group disbanded after Popovic entered the conservatory in Utrecht to study jazz guitar and she quickly made a name for herself on the international blues scene. Popovic’s latest album, “Blues room,” is special to her. She recorded it with her father, Milton, and it is named after the room in which he inspired her to pick up the guitar. It took 10 years to persuade her father to record with her. Popovic is already at work on her next album.

Feb, 11 brings a newcomer to the Lyric. Sierra Hull is a mandolin prodigy and will perform songs from her latest album, “The Weighted Mind.” A Tennessee native who began performing at the age of 8, she was the first bluegrass musician to receive a presidential scholarship to the Berklee College of Music. She has performed at venues including Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy center. Hull released her first album at 16. It was co-produced by Allison Krauss and Ron Block and reached No. 2 on the Billboard bluegrass chart. Her latest album, “A Weighted Mind,” will be released in January 2016. She will be accompanied by Ethan Jodziewicz on bass, Allison Krauss on vocals and the legendary Bela Fleck on banjo.” Most of the songs were written by Hull, who has become a composer and lyricist and as well as a performer.

Amy Helm comes to the Lyric April 13. Helm is a member of the folk music group Ollabelle and is the daughter of the late music legend Levon Helm, drummer of The Band. She now has a solo career as a singer and songwriter. Helm performed with her father and then created Ollabelle, a multi-genre, multi-instrumental folk group. They were invited to perform on Allison Krause’s national tour. Helm also co-produced her father’s comeback album “Dirt Farmer,” which earned a Grammy for Best Traditional Folk Album. Helm’s first solo album, “Didn’t it Rain,” was recorded during the end of her father’s life. Levon Helm produced the album and is featured on several tracks.

Kia Fontaine, the Lyric’s executive director, is excited about the new shows.

“You’re talking about three incredible women in three diverse genres,” she said. “Sierra Hull is the next big bluegrass star. Amy Helm is an acclaimed folk music writer and singer and growing up in that realm, I can only imagine seeing her live. Ana Popovic is smoking hot. She is a blues goddess.”

The Lyric Theatre is located at 59 S.W. Flagler Ave., Stuart. For ticket information, call the box office at (772) 286-7827or order online at