Pocahontas County Opera House will present an evening of music with John “Some Kind of Wonderful” Ellison and The Carpenter Ants. Saturday, August 20, at 7:30 p.m.
Singer/songwriter/guitarist John Ellison was born on the banks of the Kanawha River in a driftwood shack built by his father, a coal miner. When the house washed away in a flood, his family moved to McDowell County.
At 18, inspired by Chuck Berry and the desire to leave the coalfields, Ellison quit his job at the Carter Hotel in Welch and boarded a bus for Rochester, New York. In 1966, he joined the Soul Brothers Six, signed with Atlantic Records and, on the way to their first recording session, wrote “Some Kind of Wonderful.”
In 1974, Grand Funk Railroad released a version of the song that reached the No. 3 spot in the nation. To date, more than 60 artists have recorded the song. An astute businessman, Ellison retained the rights to his signature song and started his successful Some Kind of Wonderful Foods.
Ellison continues to write and record and regularly performs in the U.S. and Europe with West Virginia’s premier rhythm and blues group, The Carpenter Ants – guitarist Michael Lipton, drummer Jupiter Little, bassist Ted Harrison and vocalist/saxophonist Charlie Tee – have quietly amassed a résumé that rivals many national groups. The group’s trademark country-soul sound – rich, soulful harmonies, stinging solos and a rock-solid rhythm section – captures that rare, loose-but- tight feel, and has won the band international as well as regional fans.
Tickets for the Opera House performance are $10 for adults. Admission is free for anyone 17 years old and younger. Tickets are available at the 4th Avenue Gallery in Marlinton, pocahontasoperahouse.org and at the door the evening of the performance.
The Opera House Performance Series is presented with financial assistance through a grant from the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History with approval from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts. Support is also provided by Pocahontas County Dramas, Fairs and Festivals, and the Pocahontas County Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Performances at the Opera House are informal, family-friendly, and open to all. The entrance and main seating are accessible to persons with disabilities. Persons with disabilities are encouraged to attend; special accommodations can be arranged upon request.