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Deerfield Beach Country Music Festival: twang lines

Popular local artists are the lifeblood of the Deerfield Beach Country Music Festival, and the third annual event will be headlined by yet another familiar performer: the Samantha Russell Band, who will take the stage at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

Russell is a graduate of Wellington High who grew up in Plantation Acres. Now a Jupiter resident, she and her band mostly perform in Palm Beach County.

"Playing festivals such as these is so much fun," says Russell, 32. "We have our fan base that comes, but we also love to see the children and the fans participating and singing along. It's just great."

Russell has been singing since she was 5 and had a record deal at age 18 with a Miami label. A single from her first album, titled "You Should Go," made the top 20 of some country charts, Russell says, but the label folded before the album could be released.

She now has a full-time job as a real estate agent, and she and her husband have a 7-year-old daughter, Harmony.

"But Nashville is still definitely something I've been thinking about," she says. "I still have that dream."

Her band primarily plays on weekends, because the members all have other jobs. Guitarist and backup singer Eleni Skiba is a senior financial associate at Oppenheimer & Co., and keyboardist Byron Cornwell is an attorney.

"We try to entertain the crowd, and do what we love to do," she says. "I'm happy to do it and to be out there entertaining."

The band has had some success, including opening for BlackHawk, Sammy Kershaw, the Marshall Tucker Band and Daryle Singletary.

Russell is known for her powerful voice, and says that while many of her cover songs are country, the band throws in pop and rock. They're also working on some original material, she says.

"I've always admired Reba McEntire as a vocalist, and the band has some of their own influences, such as the Allman Brothers," she says, adding that her newest influences are Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert. "But it's very important that we put our own spin on songs. People like uniqueness."

Their latest original song is titled "And Then Some," a reference to the "have-it-all" challenges of balancing motherhood, a career and a personal life. She acknowledges that the song is autobiographical.

Maggie Baugh, a 13-year-old from Boca Raton, will play the festival stage at noon. Emily Brooke, a 15-year-old from Wellington, will perform at 1:30 p.m. The Rodeo Clowns Band will play at 3 p.m., and County Line Road will go on at 5:15 p.m.

The event's side stage will feature Shay Marie (1 p.m.), Brooke Galmarini (2:30 p.m.), Ashley Briggs (4:30 p.m.) and Jessica Taylor (6:45 p.m.).

The festival will offer art and food vendors, and the city has added a classic car show, which will take place from noon to 4 p.m. Attendees with cars to display can register at 10 a.m. Saturday for $15. Free parking and trolley pickups will be available at the Cove Shopping Center, 1500 E. Hillsboro Blvd.

Deerfield Beach Country Music Festival

When: Noon-9 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 2

Where: Deerfield Beach, main beach parking lot, 149 SE 21st Ave.

Cost: Free

Contact: 954-480-4429 or

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