Review: Parsonsfield, Tony Harrah dazzle at Clay Center Sound Checks

The Clay Center’s “Sound Checks: Party on the Patio” with Parsonsfield and Tony Harrah and the Fly-Over States was scheduled to take place in the venue’s outdoor Sculpture Garden Friday night. However, due to concerns over rain, it was relocated inside to the auditorium’s stage.

Outside or not, the audience got a good show.

On the stage, the bands performed on a raised platform. Tables were laid out for the event sponsors and their guests and rows of seats were placed over by the orchestra pit for other concert-goers. The audience could roam about during the performance.

Charleston band Tony Harrah and the Fly-Over States opened the show.

The four-member group played a nine-song set. Harrah describes his musical style as “American music” and true to his social media handle of “@tonyharrahblues,” the band’s powerful performance had a strong bluesy feel.

Their songs also had southern rock vibes and gospel overtones.

In between songs, while changing instruments or preparing for the next song, the band engaged with the audience, talked about their music and cracked jokes, often about each other.

The crowd loved the hometown band.

Headlining the show was Connecticut-founded and Massachusetts-based band Parsonsfield. Although they describe their style as folk-rock, their 15-song set had a very bluegrass or modern country feel. While slightly less energetic than Tony Harrah and The Flyover States, the five-person band still commanded the audience’s attention.

The group delivered a passionate performance and frontman Chris Freeman effectively engaged the audience between songs. Freeman joked about the lack of seating in the auditorium’s house by pretending to speak to concert-goers in the balcony.

The entire show flew by too quickly, but everybody seemed to have a good time. They left us wanting more. At the very least, I wanted more.


Dates for the Sound Checks fall season include Sept. 14, Oct. 12, Nov. 21 and Dec. 21. The performers haven't been named. All shows begin at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Season subscriptions are $50. For information, visit the Clay Center box office, call 304-561-3570 or go to

Funerals for Thursday, January 16, 2020

Baisden, Robert - Noon, Evans Funeral Home & Cremation Services, Chapmanville.

Barker, Gregory - 11 a.m., Christ Episcopal Church, Point Pleasant.

Brown, Marion - 2 p.m., Holcomb Cemetery, Holcomb Hill, Indore.

D'Arco, Joseph - 11 a.m., St. Francis de Sales Church, Beckley.

Daniels, Shirley - 11 a.m., Good Shepherd Mortuary, South Charleston.

Epps Jr., William - 1 p.m., Abundant Life Ministries, Charleston.

Frontino, Mona - Noon, Saint John’s Catholic Church, Summersville.

Garvalia, John - 11 a.m., Hafer Funeral Home, Elkview.

Harper, Irene - 1 p.m., Pryor Funeral Home, East Bank.

Holmes, Rosalee - 3 p.m., Waybright Funeral Home, Ripley.

Hossler, Sheila - Noon, Cunningham - Parker - Johnson Funeral Home, Charleston.

Lesher, Helen - 1 p.m., Matics Funeral Home Inc., Clendenin.

Perdue, Alex - 2 p.m., Sherman High School, Seth.

Pettry, Loretta - 1 p.m., Armstrong Funeral Home, Whitesville.

Richardson, Sonya - 11 a.m., Dawson Baptist Church, Glenville.

Smith, Gloria - Noon, Koontz Funeral Home, Hamlin.

Webster, Debra - 1 p.m., Greene - Robertson Funeral Home, Sutton.