This weekend at SomerSport Park, located off of Pumphouse Road, the rock band with international success and local roots is making a triumphant return to Somerset with the “Exile: Getting Back To It” concert.
The concert on Saturday will pay special honor to Marlon Hargis, a Pulaski County native who was part of Exile during its meteoric rise, thanks in particular to the hit song, “Kiss You All Over,” a number 1 single in the U.S.
“Even though it’s been a long time coming, I sincerely do appreciate the gesture,” said Hargis of the City of Somerset’s decision to honor him. “They seemed very sincere in their wish to make up for lost time in acknowledging the band.”
The band, formerly known as The Exiles, formed in Richmond, but played often in Somerset — where Hargis attended Pulaski County High School, in the 1960s, becoming well known to local fans of the popular music at the time.
“The band has had a long history in Somerset,” said Hargis. “With me from Somerset, J.P. (Pennington) from (Madison County), Les (Taylor) from the London-Corbin area, there’s a long history that goes back with the band, back to the old days of the Hotel Beecher when it was still open.”
Exile has been active since 1963, and had their biggest hit with “Kiss You All Over” in 1978. Other well-known tunes include “Woke Up in Love, “I Don’t Want to Be a Memory,” and “I Can’t Get Close Enough.”
Exile entered the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame in 2013, and toured with Dick Clark’s Caravan of Stars in their early days.
“We played at The Center for Rural Development about five or six years ago, and other than that, it’s been 20 or 30 years since we played in Somerset,” said Hargis, a Pulaski County High School alum. “I’m excited and hoping to see some of my old musician friends dating back to the first bands I played in.”
Tickets are $10 for general admission, but children ages 14 and younger get in for free. Gates open Saturday at 4 p.m. and things get underway at 4:30 p.m., though the box office will open at 10 a.m.
There will be two other Nashville musical acts playing ahead of Exile: Cindy Standage, a country artist who has opened for acts like Conway Twitty and Merle Haggard — and cover band The Devonshires, known for their takes on bands like The Beatles, having been a Disney production band for five years.
After them, there will be a special presentation, as choir students from all three local public high school will come together to sing a medley of Exile songs, and Mayor Eddie Girdler will present Hargis with a key to the city and honor him as a “Somerset Colonel.” There will also be a scholarship created for a Somerset Community College Student — the Marlon Hargis Scholarship, an annual award of $500 to a student in the arts and humanities, with a preference to music (which not currently a focus at SCC). The scholarship will be referred on a two-year basis for an Associates in the Arts degree.
“We want the community to come out and support this guy (Hargis) who has accomplished a lot in music,” said Leslie Ikerd, associate community planner for the City of Somerset.
After the honors for Hargis, Exile — the band themselves, in the flesh — will perform starting at 8:30 p.m. and going until 10 p.m., said Ikerd.
Tickets are $10, and can be purchased at SomerSport Park. You can also purchase tickets at Somerset City Hall, SomerSplash Water Park, and at the City of Somerset website (www.cityofsomerset.com).
Chris Harris is a staff writer for the Commonwealth Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.