Iconic Bluegrass Legends Join Together as the Helen Highwater Stringband to Perform the Next Jewel Box Concert at the Thomas Center


The City of Gainesville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department, in cooperation with Shakerag Culture Center, Inc., is pleased to announce the upcoming Jewel Box Concert at the Historic Thomas Center Thursday, June 11, featuring iconic bluegrass legends Missy Raines, Mike Compton, David Grier and Shad Cobb as the Helen Highwater Stringband.  Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and the concert starts at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $20 at the door - cash or check only, please.

Helen Highwater Stringband consists of four legendary musicians whose credits are as astounding:
Missy Raines is a bassist, singer, teacher and songwriter. She has won seven International Bluegrass Music Association Bass Player of the Year awards, more than any other bass player within the field, male or female. A former member of the Grammy-nominated Claire Lynch Band and the acclaimed duo Jim Hurst & Missy Raines, she is one of the most respected, popular and trailblazing figures in bluegrass music.

David Grier is regarded as one of the premier acoustic guitarists in the world. Recognized by Acoustic Guitar Magazine in 2000 as one of the Artists of the Decade, and named Guitar Player of the Year three times by the International Bluegrass Music Association, Grier has played on four Grammy Award-winning albums.

Shad Cobb’s present-day virtuosity puts him at the forefront of top fiddlers in the country. Whether on one of his recordings, or in a live setting, the playing of Shad Cobb is quite an amazing thing to witness. Cobb began playing the fiddle at 13-years-old, and his career started early with his family band that included his father and brothers. In 1995, Cobb moved to Nashville, and began recording with some of Nashville’s top artists, including such acts as Bluegrass legends and Grand Ole Opry members the Osborne Brothers, vocalist Marty Rabon with his band Shenandoah, country music icons like Willie Nelson and singer-songwriters like Steve Earle.

Mike Compton has been called by Mandolin Magazine a player with "a worldwide reputation as one of the modern masters of bluegrass of the most recognizable and respected mandolin voices anywhere.” As a member of Soggy Bottom Boys backing Alison Krauss on Late Night with David Letterman, Conan O'Brian, and on the Tonight Show with Dr. Ralph Stanley, Compton has earned a worldwide reputation as one of the modern masters of bluegrass mandolin, known especially for his personal take on the fiercely hard-driven, rhythmically intense style developed by the master of the genre, Bill Monroe. His mandolin solo is on “I Am A Man Of Constant Sorrow,” which was featured in the filmO Brother, Where Art Thou?”  He not only performed as a Soggy Bottom Boy on 2001's Grammy Album Of the Year, “O Brother, Where Art Thou?,” but on the following Grammy-winning “Down From The Mountain” soundtrack and tours, as well as the “Cold Mountain” film soundtrack and tours.

Music City Roots says of the Helen Highwater Stringband, “Cobb, Compton, Grier and Raines are musicians who play with precision and exquisite synchronization. Singing around one microphone, their music is immaculately quantized, yet incredibly human, like a heart. Everything about stringband timing is wrapped up in that relaxed, tick-tock rock-steady beat and there’s nobody better in the world than these veterans.”

Videos of the Helen Highwater Stringband can be viewed at and The band's website can be viewed at An image of the band is available at

Guests are welcome to bring their favorite wine or champagne, and an attendant will tend their bottle. Plastic glasses will be provided, but guests are welcome to bring their own glassware as well. Authentic homemade Indian cuisine will be available for purchase.

The Jewel Box Concerts at the Thomas Center are a new series of multi-genre musical events staged in the historic Thomas Center’s Spanish Court. They will feature a spectrum of national and international touring artists from folk to classical and from jazz to bluegrass, with special holiday shows and surprise guests.

The Jewel Box Concerts at the Thomas Center are sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture.

The Historic Thomas Center is located at 302 NE Sixth Ave., Gainesville, FL 32601. For additional information, please contact Russell Etling, cultural affairs manager, at or 352-393-8532, or contact Joseph Saccocci, vice president Shakerag Culture Center, Inc., at or 352-373-5514.