Big Jim Wheeler & The Band In Black, Champlin & Zito coming to Courthouse

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The deep tones of Johnny Cash’s music will be reverberating through The Courthouse Center for the Arts on Saturday, January 13 at 8 p.m. when Big Jim Wheeler & the Band in Black takes the stage.

Big Jim Wheeler has been called “a throwback to the future” and is arguably the best kept secret in American music. He hails from both the Adirondacks of upstate New York and the Blue Ridge Mountains of South Carolina. Through his many travels from Illinois to Istanbul, from Maine to Madagascar, and even while serving his country in the U.S. Navy, Big Jim Wheeler has pleased audiences with his deep voice and dramatic singing style.

Big Jim Wheeler’s Band In Black puts on an exciting “must see” live show. They have been playing to enthusiastic audiences for nearly two decades now, always leaving their fans shouting for more. Come on in stranger, and see for yourself.

Recently, the band decided to change their name in order to pay tribute to their longtime hero, Johnny Cash. No one does Johnny Cash justice like Big Jim Wheeler backed by his Band In Black. They are not merely another tribute band. No one can truly replicate the Man in Black. That's why Big Jim and his cohorts choose to do Cash's music in the spirit of the original, meaning that Band In Black will stay true to themselves while doing justice to the iconic repertoire of one of America’s greatest heroes of song. The band is hot featuring Billy Roues on electric guitar and mandolin, Muddy Roues on double bass and harmonica, Mike Corbin on acoustic guitar, and Bill Rankin on drums. Big Jim with his deep booming voice has been described as, "Bigger than life."

Poppy Champlin and Chris Zito

What is funnier than Poppy Champlin? Try Poppy Champlin and Chris Zito together. Come on over to the Courthouse Center for the Arts on Friday, Jan. 12 at 8 p.m. for a show that will have you howling with laughter.

Poppy Champlin is an internationally known comedian and Rhode Island native. She has appeared on HBO, Comedy Central, Oprah, Showtime, Joan Rivers and LOGO. Producer of her own show, The Queer Queen of Qomedy, Poppy is once again sharing a new routine that will have you holding your sides with laughter. Her stand-up pedigree is flawless, from a featured story on “Entertainment Tonight,” to a winner on “The Joan Rivers Show” and a panel guest on “Comics Unleashed” with Byron Allen. She is also a favorite on Atlantis and Olivia cruiselines. Poppy has opened for such comics as Ray Romano, Denis Leary, Bill Maher, Bill Hicks and Rosie O’Donnell. Her club appearances are now worldwide, and we are just lucky she likes to visit home.

Poppy is ready with a new lineup of laughter. She teaches a stand-up comedy class and her students will be on the show, Rebecca Fowler and Rainy Day. She brings great talent from elsewhere this show: Chris Zito, a Boston headliner will share the bill. Chris has been on Comedy Central, HBO and is a radio personality on iheart radio. Poppy was a winner on “The Joan Rivers Show” and so much more. You'll be rolling with laughter.

You may purchase tickets on at courthousearts.org or on facebook (www.facebook.com/CourthouseArtsRI).  Tickets are available in advance for $22. The Courthouse has ample on-site parking, a full-service bar and is handicapped accessible.

The Courthouse Center for the Arts is a non-profit, community-based arts organization located in Kingston. The mission of the Courthouse is to produce and distribute exceptional arts programming that are accessible and affordable for the enjoyment and enrichment of adults and children alike. Income from the entertainment, musical performances, comedians, classes, and a variety of other events contribute to the funding of free children’s programs. The Courthouse also provides monthly gallery exhibits for local artists; concerts and fundraisers for many worthwhile causes; meeting rooms for support groups from NAMI Rhode Island (National Alliance on Mental Illness) all while preserving the beautiful, historic Washington County Courthouse as its home.

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