Singer LeAnn Rimes and several supporting acts will take the stage at the Williamburg Winery for the latest in its Uncorked and Unplugged concert series Saturday.
"It's amazing that someone of her caliber will be playing here in our vineyard," said Michael Kimball, the winery's marketing director. "She's been a relevant recording artist with many hits over multiple decades."
Rimes has won two Grammy awards, including one in 1997 at the age of 14. Kimball recalled growing up listening to her music, seeing her on TV and in movies, and called her "one of the iconic voices of our generation."
He hopes that her music, which spans country and pop, will appeal to a wide range of people. He said that the Uncorked and Unplugged concert series is meant as a platform for up-and-coming artists as well, and he's "just as excited to hear some new music."
Scottish singer-songwriter Tom Walker has seen success touring in the U.K., and the winery's concert presents an opportunity for him to tap into a new audience.
"It's neat that this could be a platform for him," Kimball said.
Pop artist Julia Brennan grew up in Minneapolis, listening to her mom's choice of '80s music and falling in love with ballads. She admires the raw, soulful vulnerability that they can offer.
"I'm hoping that I can bring something fresh, something people haven't heard before," Brennan said.
Saturday's concert marks her first visit to Virginia, and she said she's excited for the new experience.
English pop rock band The Rua round out the performers. The band consists of two sisters and a brother, all of whom have appeared in Harry Potter films and others. The trio played at the winery once before, for Live in the Vineyard, and they're eager to return.
"Everyone is going to make the whole night sound amazing," said the lead vocalist and guitarist, Rosanna Brown. "There's so many talented people that have been pulled together."
She said they're already familiar with the other acts and hope to find some inspiration performing alongside them.
"I think we all complement each other while still obviously sounding different," she said. As the only act with more than one member and an emphasis on family, she hopes they will stand out. Their sound is influenced by everyday life in a way that's open to interpretation. They spend much of their time touring the U.S.
"The energy in America from people is so exciting," Jonathan Brown said. He performs violin, guitar and backup vocals for the band.
"The lineup is cohesive and diverse," Kimball said. "It builds well."
He emphasized the intimate nature of the venue and the "stripped down" style of the sets that will be performed.
"It's really unlike anywhere else where they get to perform," he said. "When the weather's right, it's a pretty magical setting."
Beyond the music
The winery partnered with area radio station 94.9 the Point for the Uncorked and Unplugged series, which started in October 2014. Past performers include Grace Potter and Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness. The concert's attractions extend beyond the music.
"We're going to have an elevated culinary experience," Kimball said.
Chefs will serve unique dishes that combine local ingredients with traditional festival food, and Virginia oysters will also be available.
Many of the libations hail from the Williamsburg Tasting Trail. Unsurprisingly, the winery will offer a large selection of its wines. The Virginia Beer Company and Alewerks will offer a selection of their beers, and Silver Hand will be on hand with mead. Bold Rock and Foggy Ridge ciders will be available as well.
"It's really enhanced the awareness of not only our winery, but Virginia wine and the Williamsburg Tasting Trail," Kimball said.
Birkenmeyer can be reached by phone at 757-790-3029.
Want to go?
Winery doors open for the concert at 2 p.m. Saturday, with the concert lasting from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Guests must be 21 or older to attend. General admission, which includes lawn seating and a souvenir wine glass, is $50. The VIP experience is $100 and includes the wine glass, a private wine bar and premium seating under a tent. Tickets and more information are available online at williamsburgwinery.com/uncorkedandunplugged.
The winery will remain open during its regular business hours on Saturday as well.