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If you go

› Where: Songbirds Guitar Museum, 35 Station St.

› For more information: 423-531-2473

An Evening With Edwin McCain Acoustic Trio
› When: 7-10 p.m. today, Aug. 17

› Admission: $40

An Evening with David Wilcox
› When: 7-10 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 19

› Admission: $25

Paul Thorn ‘Hammer and Nail 20th Anniversary Tour’
› When: 6-9 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 20

› Admission: $35

Mike Dougher, Songbirds Guitar Museum's talent buyer, has a black-and-white photo of a long-haired Edwin McCain taken in 1995 at the old Sandbar restaurant. It's McCain on the cusp of stardom — three years before he'd release "I'll Be" and four years before "I Could Not Ask For More" would hit No. 3.

"We did several shows over the years at the Sandbar and then again at Rhythm and Brews," says Dougher. "It was always a great show because his voice is so strong and he is always backed by top-notch musicians."

Dougher's and McCain's paths will cross again when McCain headlines a show tonight, Aug. 17, in Songbirds.

"An Evening with Edwin McCain Acoustic Trio" launches a weekend of three stellar acts in the guitar museum. Singer-songwriter David Wilcox will play Songbirds on Saturday, Aug. 19, and Paul Thorn stops at Songbirds on Sunday, Aug. 20, as part of the Hammer and Nail 20th Anniversary Tour.

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Edwin McCain
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David Wilcox

McCain's enduring love songs were the foundation for a 20-year career that still sees him working more than 100 shows annually either as a solo artist, with his band or acoustic trio.

Two years ago, the South Carolinian found a new fan base as the host of Animal Planet's "Flipping Ships."

"Flipping Ships" features McCain's Boats Have Souls restoration group, which is dedicated to bringing boats with good bones back to life and customizing them to fit their new owners.

Six years prior to his TV debut, McCain found a 1986 Chris-Craft Scorpion in a warehouse, saw its possibilities and restored it. The experience was as exhilarating as a good song hook, so he took on a second project: a 50-foot Hatteras.

Realizing he might have bitten off more than he could chew with the Hatteras, McCain called on friends he knew were experts in mechanics and design for help. He took the idea of filming the Hatteras restoration to an LA production company, which liked the project — as did Animal Planet. "Flipping Ships" was born.

"These three shows are what music is all about — great singing, great lyrics, great people," says Dougher of the weekend's schedule.

"The best part is I get to place them in what I believe will become a Top 10 venue in the nation. Musicians who come to Songbirds better bring their A game because they are surrounded by the most amazing collection of guitars in the world."

Contact Susan Pierce at spierce@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6284.

About the other artists

David Wilcox
Now 18 records into his career, Wilcox’s lyrical insight is matched by his smooth baritone voice.

“David Wilcox has a way of weaving stories and songs together unlike anyone I’ve ever heard,” says Mike Dougher. “There will be a moment in his show when you realize you don’t remember the last 20 minutes because you’ve been listening so hard. You hang on every story, every word.” Wilcox holds his audience with nothing more than a single guitar, thoroughly written songs and an uncanny ability to mine the depths of human emotion.

Paul Thorn
Paul Thorn’s album, “Too Blessed to be Stressed,” stakes out new territory for the roots-rock singer. “In the past, I’ve told stories that were mostly inspired by my own life,” the former prizefighter says. “This time I’ve written songs that express more universal truths, and I’ve done it with a purpose: to make people feel good.”

Mike Dougher describes Thorn’s show as “just plain fun.” “Cajun to the core, his sense of humor is only lapped by his great songwriting. We can all relate to ‘It’s A Great Day … To Whoop Somebody’s Ass.’ When he comes home to his mobile home, the sink is fixed, free rent … hmmm. The wife’s been getting friendly with the manager and it’s time to ‘Burn Down The Trailer Park.’”

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Paul Thorn
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