Sarah Jane Nelson goes country

Sarah Jane Nelson has strong country roots. Born in Little Rock, she grew up in little country towns all over southern Arkansas until her family settled in Monroe, Louisiana. Traditional country music was always a part of her family.

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival actor says she has been writing country music her whole life but never really put it out there.

That changed last month when she was the opening act for country singer Josh Turner at the Britt Festivals.

The audience was so appreciative that Nelson has scheduled a follow-up concert for 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27, at the Medford Grange Hall, 1850 Spring St., Medford.

Nelson has starred on Broadway and performed in plays and musicals on stages across the U.S. and Europe.

"I've made a good living singing all kinds of music from musical theatre to jazz, but when I sing in my 'Sarah Jane Voice' I'm always a country/blues girl," Nelson said. "When I pick up my guitar to write a song, it always ends up sounding country/blues when I sing it."

At the Britt show she sang her own music and won Brittgoers' hearts. She had them not only listening, but wiping tears and whoopin' and hollerin' by the time her set was finished. At the break, the line of people waiting to buy her cabaret CD, "A Little Bit of Everything," stretched all the way up the hill. She sold out of her CDs within a few minutes and had to turn away many customers.

Nelson's Medford show will feature the band she used at Britt: Ed Dunsavage on guitar, Crystal Reeves on fiddle and mandolin, Jim Calhoun on bass, and her husband, Ren&

233; Mill&

225;n, singing backup vocals.

The show will mark the release of Nelson's country CD, "Saving Grace," which includes all of her original country material and other favorites including: "Angel from Montgomery," "Angels Step Aside," and "Crazy."

"At Britt the fans all said that a country CD was something I must do," Nelson said. "So, here it is."

Tickets are $15 in advance and $18 at the door. Tickets are available at Medford Music, Medford; The Music Coop, Ashland; and at .

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