Cathie Ryan, one of the nation's leading voices in Celtic music, is looking forward to bringing her unique style to the people of McDuffie County.
"It's so nice to be in a place like Thomson," said Ms. Ryan, who will perform Thursday, Feb. 24 at 7:30 p.m. at the Depot.
"I love Georgia. I love the warmth of the people, and the food," she said.
Ms. Ryan said she plans to perform a variety of songs from gentle Irish songs to "raise the rafters jigs and reels."
"The tunes are full of life and spirit. It's a great mixture -- it's the gamut of human emotion in a concert," she said.
She said the people of McDuffie County should enjoy the music because so many Irish families immigrated to the south and their influences are seen throughout the region.
"It's in the bluegrass, and the clog dancing," she said.
Ms. Ryan said when she performs in Georgia "I am always made to feel part of the place, even though I'm an outsider."
Ms. Ryan will present several concerts across Georgia starting in Thomson Feb. 24.
Ms. Ryan said she developed her signature style after spending her childhood summers in Ireland with her grandparents.
"It's the music that I grew up hearing, so I learned loads of songs by osmosis.
"I do love Ireland very, very much -- I feel a connection. But I'm American, and what I love about making music is that I can bring American influence into the Irish roots that are so deeply planted in me."
In addition to relying on her Irish roots, Ms. Ryan developed her style through inspiration from the mountain music of Appalachia and from the sounds of Motown in Detroit where she lived.
Ms. Ryan is the first of several artists who will be performing in Thomson as part of a series of concerts scheduled every few weeks from April to September, said Don Powers, executive director of Forward McDuffie and a member of the tourism board.
Ms. Ryan's concert is presented by The Thomson-McDuffie Chamber of Commerce in cooperation with the Activities Council of Thomson and Broadstrokes Art Gallery of Augusta.
Admission is $8 for individuals and $15 for couples. For ticket information, call 597-1000 or 267-5416 in Augusta.