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Musical actors to bring Willie, Waylon and Cash to life at the Cole on Feb. 16

HAMLET — If the band is never going to get back together again, thankfully, we still have tribute bands who preserve some of music’s greatest sounds and legendary personas. Such is the case with the Highwaymen Live, a tribute band to three giants of the outlaw country music movement.

The Highwaymen Live will bring the familiar sounds of this country music supergroup to the Cole Auditorium on Feb. 16 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are on sale now at the Cole Box Office or online for $20 to $30.

While the original Highwaymen was composed of Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson, the tribute band coming to the Cole is a three-man act full of talent and love for the music legends they are resurrecting for audiences.

Michael Moore of McKinney, TX, said his passion for Willie’s music came at an early age.

“I can remember hearing his music coming out of my grandmother’s old AM radio,” he said, recognizing right away there was something unique about Willie Nelson.

Nelson’s voice and unusual style of phrasing are hard to match. Through many years of study and about a million “Whiskey Rivers” later, Moore’s ability to capture the country music legend’s voice and style are considered by many to be the best in the world. Moore is also an accomplished guitar player and performs all the guitar parts played by Nelson in his shows.

August Manley was raised in the rural Pacific Northwest on the country music of the mid 1970s, which would lay the foundation for his becoming the premier Waylon Jennings tribute act. Since 2005, Manley has been bringing the finest moments of country music back to Waylon’s vast number of fans, as well as providing thousands of newcomers to Waylon’s music the opportunity to see, feel and take in this special brand of country music in its purest form: live.

Entertaining people is all Philip Bauer ever wanted to do. The Minnesota native’s dynamic stage presence, quality and impressive vocal range has been thrilling audiences for many years. Bauer currently travels across the United States, Canada, and Mexico performing “The Legend of Johnny Cash Show” to sold out audiences in theaters, casinos, fairs and festivals. A songwriter in his own right, Bauer has also had his own original music played on over 300 radio stations across Europe.

While Moore, Manley, and Bauer all have blazed trails as solo tribute acts, Moore formed The Highwaymen Live tribute band about 15 years ago with different actors playing Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash.

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“I describe the three of us as being musical actors. Like any actor for a role in a film, we are there to make you believe we are that character,” Moore said. “We do the best we can to make you feel like you’re actually experiencing the real deal.”

Moore described the show as a “classic country set with the background of the ‘Heehaw’ variety show.”

“It’s a very fun show. There are a lot of great stories about the songs, a lot of funny interaction on stage, as well as with the audience. It’s a come-early, stay-late show,” Moore said.

Director of the Cole Auditorium Joey Bennett said he is excited to have this powerhouse trio come to Hamlet.

“This performance is not going to disappoint country music fans and may even convert some new fans. And as always, every seat in a small venue like the Cole Auditorium is the best seat from which to see the show.”

For ticket information, call the Cole Box Office at 910-410-1691 or online. The Cole Auditorium is located on the campus of Richmond Community College in Hamlet.