Singer-songwriter Matt Hires first played at the Ross Farm in November 2015, the inaugural year of live music hosted by the Friends of the Boudinot-Southard-Ross Estate with national recording and touring artists. Hires returned in 2017 to promote his new record, American Wilderness, and he will be making a third appearance as the organization marks the five-year milestone of bringing people together at the Somerset County Parks-owned estate to enjoy live music. Hires takes the stage at 7 p.m. on Friday, May 17.

Hires and his wife, both Florida natives, relocated to Nashville in 2014, arriving in their new city the day after Christmas, Hires credits the move to the home of the U.S. country music and a burgeoning scene for independent songwriters and musicians for a big part of the change in his music. With two full-length albums, Take Us to the Start (2009) and This World Won’t Last Forever, But Tonight We Can Pretend (2013), Hires found,  “There’s something about moving to a new city, and experiencing new things that helped in opening up my songwriting to new levels of honesty.”

Spring has been a busy season at the Ross Farm, with Boudinot’s Giving Garden already producing for the County’s food pantry and soup kitchen, as well as for Community Hope at the local Veterans Administration. The ARTsee Happening filled the property with artists and art fans, and the first concert of the season filled the historic bank barn for Tony Lucca. Four more concerts are scheduled after Hires, including Liz Longley on June 8, Christian Lopez on June 15, Stephen Kellogg on June 22 and The End of America on July 27. More information can be found for these concerts on the website at  The concert series is supported through donations by attendees, as well as the Band of Friends program and local business sponsors. This generosity makes paying the musicians and sound and lighting technicians possible. 2019 Music Series Sponsors include: Bernardsville Print, Somerset Hills Classics, Ridge Family Dentistry, Back to Nature Home & Garden, Country Mile Gardens, Gus & Bucky Car Washes, Minuteman Smokehouse & Grill, TrueLeaf Kitchens, Basking Ridge Animal Hospital, Priscilla’s Pantry, Fitness Together and Tull’s Auto.

The gates to the historic property will open at 6:30 p.m. Weather permitting, Hires will play on the Tack House Patio and guests are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or blankets to spread around the stage. Light snacks will be available, but guests are welcome to bring a picnic, too. If the weather does not cooperate, the concert will be moved inside the cozy barn and seating will be provided. A suggested donation of $20 for adults or $5 for students can be given at the door, if desired, or via PayPal at where guests can also register in advance to ensure seating if the concert is moved indoors.