Gary Linehan, The Union Democrat

Country singer Kristen Welch Sins, a former Summerville High School student, is returning to Tuolumne County this week to perform at the Black Oak Casino.

It will be her first performance in the Sonora area since she moved to Nashville in 2004.

(Editor's note: This show is over.)

The Sins Country, a contemporary country duo featuring Kristen and her husband, Joe Sins, will take the stage at 8 p.m. Wednesday in the casino's Willow Creek Lounge.

Admission is free, with a minimum age of 21.

The Sins are riding the country music charts at No. 66 with their debut major label single, "Romeo and Juliet Sparks." Their 2012 independent single, "Cheating On Each Other," peaked at No. 1 on the Roots Reports Pop Country Chart and stayed there for eight straight weeks.

Kristen Welch - endowed with a five-octave range - was born in Stockton and moved to the Sonora area while in second grade. She attended Summerville High through her junior year before moving to Nashville at age 17.

"I've been singing since I was 5 and I think I was in almost every single choir at Summerville," she said.

After sending a flurry of demo tapes to Nashville, she was invited to audition before a gathering of record executives, where she caught the attention of Renee Grant Williams, vocal coach for such stars as Faith Hill and Christina Aguilera, and artist development representative Rick Barnes, who urged her to relocate to the mecca of country music.

"So my parents sold the house and we all moved to Nashville so I could pursue my singing," Kristen said.

Making the change with her were her mother and father, Judy and Randy Welch, and younger siblings, Becky and Mike.

Kristen was homeschooled during her senior year of high school so she could pursue her music career.

"As soon as I got there I was working," she said. "I was doing a lot of writing and demos, the stuff most people do when they get here. Then in 2005 Joe and I got together and that's when things really started taking off."

Joe Sins, a singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, was born in Twentynine Palms in the Southern California desert and moved to Nashville in 1997 at the urging of country music veteran Jim Lauderdale.

"His management company left me an envelope with $340 cash in it, which was great because I was broke when I came into town," Joe said.

He met Kristen through a friend at the Nashville Songwriters Association.

"She said there's a new girl here in Tennessee that you ought to look up as a co-writer and we just had a great chemistry," he recalled. "We worked together for a while and then we decided to go on a date, and a few months later we got married."

They began performing as Sins and Welch, then simply the Sins after their 2006 wedding, before settling on The Sins Country as their professional name.

Earlier this year they teamed with Dolly Parton producer Kent Wells and signed with his Go Time Records. "Romeo and Juliet Sparks," written by Joe and Kristen, hit the charts in April and started climbing, reaching No. 66 this week.

"There are a lot of big names behind us so we feel good about that," Joe said.