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Arts & Entertainment Stillwell to perform benefit concert for Smoky Mountain High

Matt StillwellPopular Nashville recording artist and Jackson County native Matt Stillwell, is returning home to the mountains of Western North Carolina on Saturday, Dec. 3, for a concert at his alma mater, Smoky Mountain High School.

Stillwell is teaming up with his former high school to host a benefit concert for the school. The country music singer’s fans will be treated to a full concert all for only $10 per person. A BBQ dinner is also available for $8 per person, beginning at 5 p.m. in the Smoky Mountain High School Cafeteria. For fans that want extra time with the country music star, Matt and the band have offered a personal Meet & Greet VIP Dinner and VIP seating for $40 per person.

According to the “hometown heartthrob,” the decision to perform at his former stomping grounds has been something he has wanted to do since he first started performing.

“I’ve wanted to play a show in Sylva and the high school in particular for a while now,” said Stillwell. “I just decided to go ahead and set it up myself and called the school and got the ball rolling. We are getting the students involved in selling tickets and we hope to raise a lot of money for the school’s general fund. Its a great opportunity to get the community involved for a good cause and I'm just happy to be a part of it.”

The last time Stillwell performed at the high school was more than nine years ago during a special September 11 memorial service. “That [September 11, 2002] was the last time I performed at the high school,” he said. “With my schedule it’s tough to get back and there haven’t been a lot of opportunities to do things. So I’m excited to be playing there on Saturday.”

According to the singer, when he graduated from Smoky Mountain, he had not even began to think about a music career, but instead he remained focused on playing baseball at WCU. Stillwell was a stand-out athlete in high school, playing four different sports, and later became an All Conference performer on the Southern Conference-winning Western Carolina University baseball team.

“Music was still way back in the back of my mind when I graduated,” said Stillwell. “All I cared about was baseball at Western. I did always have the desire to come back and help out if possible.”

Since he is always on the road touring, Stillwell is always grateful for opportunities to play shows in Western North Carolina. According to the singer, although he is excited to be coming home in general, he is particularly excited to be playing in the high school’s gym because of all the memories he has there. “Coming home is always great,” he said. “I think being in the gym where I spent a ton of time will be cool, but the people will be the best part. I’m very proud to be from WNC and I love the people from the entire area.”

After spending a year touring all over the country, and performing with his Average Joe Lablemates Corey Smith and Colt Ford, Stillwell is anticipating yet another busy year in 2012. “I have a new single heading to radio in January with an album to follow in late spring/summer. I leave on a radio tour in mid January and that will continue for a long long time,” he said. “We will continue to play shows and play opening slots with bigger artist, so it will be a busy 2012 to say the least.” On top of touring, Stillwell is engaged and he and his fiance will be welcoming a baby girl in December!

On Friday December 2 Stillwell will be hosting a special concert for Tyler Blanton of Franklin at the Troy & Son’s Moonshine distillery in Asheville. Blanton won the special acoustic show as well as a 30 gallon barrel of moonshine produced by the distillery over the summer during Stillwell’s 4th annual Shinefest weekend at the Fontana Village Resort. Blanton and group of friends will get to meet with Stillwell at the distillery and then will head over to Wild Wing Cafe for special VIP treatment during Stillwell’s show.

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