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'Rocky Top' is heading to Silver Springs

The Osborne Brothers will headline a day of bluegrass Saturday; the Lettermen are on tap Sunday.


© St. Petersburg Times, published February 23, 2001

A weekend of music with a bluegrass festival featuring the Osborne Brothers will be held at Silver Springs this weekend.

The bluegrass festival begins at 1 p.m. Saturday, with the Osborne Brothers headlining the show. Other bluegrass groups are Jim and Jesse, the Whites and the Reno Brothers.

The Osborne Brothers, Bobby on mandolin and Sonny on banjo, have nearly six decades of pickin' and grinnin' behind them. They were born in the 1940s in Kentucky coal mine country and quickly picked up the native folk instruments used to play bluegrass. Their careers progressed, and soon they were performing with Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs. The Osborne Brothers have been members of the Grand Ole Opry since 1964. They have also received four Grammy award nominations.

Their 1967 recording of Rocky Top is one of the most played bluegrass songs. It is also the official state song of Tennessee and the fight song of the University of Tennessee. They also wrote and recorded the official state song of Kentucky, titled simply Kentucky.

The music continues at 3 p.m. Sunday with the pop sounds of the Lettermen. Their big hit was in 1961 with The Way You Look Tonight, and they followed it with A Song For Young Love and Venus. One member of the original group, Tony Butala, is still an active member.

Silver Springs is a 350-acre nature park on State Road 40 a mile east of Ocala. All concerts and special events are included in the regular admission price of $30.95 for adults and $21.95 for children. The park is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. For information, call (352) 236-2121 or visit the Web site at

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