W.C. Handy Festival Archives
W.C. HANDY FESTIVAL 2015 HEADLINER CONCERT
Grammy Award winner and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer
BOOKER T. JONES
and Special Guest Ace Guitarist
LEE ROY PARNELL
Saturday, July 25, 2015
Norton Auditorium, University of North Alabama Campus
Doors open at 6:30 p.m.
Concert begins at 7:00 p.m.
Sponsored by: Music Preservation Society, Inc., Shoals Solid Waste Authority, Colbert County Commission, TVA, University of North Alabama, Marriott Shoals Hotel and Spa, Rhoda P's Catering, Coca Cola Bottling Company, and Quad-Cities Limousine
The W.C. Handy Music Festival Committee will present their Headline concert Saturday, July 25, 2015 at University of North Alabama's Norton Auditorium. Booker T. Jones and his phenomenal band will be featured, with an opening performance by Lee Roy Parnell.
Grammy Award winner and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Booker T. Jones gained worldwide popularity beginning in the 1960's with his R&B/funk band
"Booker T. & the M.G.'s", a group credited with shaping both Southern and Memphis Soul, and originating "the unique Stax sound" while working
as the label's house band. Their inimitable style led to the release of instrumental records under their own name including their hit single
"Green Onions", written by Jones while he was still in high school. The song went to the top of the Billboard charts, sold over a million copies,
and has been featured in countless movies. Booker T. has played with or produced the Beatles, Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, Albert King,
Johnnie Taylor, Eddie Floyd, Elton John, Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, Stevie Wonder, Eric Clapton, the Staple Singers, Bob Dylan,
Neil Young, Al Green, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Johnny Cash, Anthony Hamilton, John Fogerty, Raphael Saadiq, and others including past
Handy Headliner the Drive-By Truckers.
Lee Roy Parnell has enjoyed success on the country and blues charts, and is among the elite few who can be identified as a triple threat: an ace guitarist as well as a distinctive singer and hit songwriter. Parnell has garnered the respect of fans and industry veterans alike with his soulful vocals and award-winning slide guitar playing. His music runs the gamut of diversity: Blue-Eyed Soul, Delta Blues, Road House Rock, Southern Boogie, Texas Swing, and Gospel, and defies conventional classification. He draws from a broad range of music sources and combines them with seamless dexterity.
About the 2014 W.C. Handy Music Festival Headliner: CANDI STATON WITH GUESTS DONNIE FRITTS AND JOHN PAUL WHITE
Photo by Alan Messer
Photo by Shannon Wells
Photo by Shannon Wells
Candi Staton, Hanceville, Alabama native, began her career at the Jewell Christian Academy in Nashville, Tennessee, where she and her sister, Maggie, were students. The two teamed up with fellow classmate, Naomi Harrison, to form the Jewell Gospel Trio. Touring on the traditional gospel music circuit led to recordings for the Nashboro, Apollo, and Savoy labels.
Staton's Muscle Shoals' connection began with recordings at FAME, where, as a Southern soul stylist, she earned the title, "The First Lady of Soul." Grammy nominations followed with her Soul version of "Stand By Your Man," and "In The Ghetto." Appearances on "The Soul Train" second- season opening show widened her audience even more. Hits continued to top the US R&B and UK singles charts. Returning to Muscle Shoals in the 1980s she recorded her 27th album, "When Life Happens," for Beracah Records/Fame Records and received two Grammy nominations for two albums on the Beracah label that she formed with her husband.
By the mid-1980s, Staton had joined Intersound Records, where she earned a new title, "The Sweetheart of Soul." Over her six-decade musical career, Staton has released over 50 albums and singles.
When asked about bringing her vocal magic to the 2014 W. C. Handy Music Festival Headliner stage, she said: "I am so excited to be a part of the Handy Festival in the Shoals area where I started. It's been a long time coming, but I'm finally going to spend an evening with some of the most wonderful people that I've known for many years. Come out and let's have an amazing evening!" Whether she's singing Southern Soul, Disco, Country, Gospel, or inspirational music, Staton has the gift and she uses it well.
Candi Staton was joined by two singer/songwriter/musicians also with the
Muscle Shoals' Connection. At the February 24, 2014 Alabama Music Hall of Fame Induction Banquet, in Florence,
Alabama, when she was added to the list of Alabama Musical legends, Staton sang "I Ain't Easy To Love" with John
Paul White, of The Civil Wars. After the performance, Muscle Shoals native, White, said: "I've had few experiences
that rival singing with Candi. For me, growing up in the Shoals on country, soul and R&B - she's royalty. The
best part is that she's one of the sweetest people I've met - musician or otherwise. I want to be like her." Staton
recorded "I Ain't Easy to Love," with John Paul White and Jason Isbell for the album, "Life Happens," which debuted at
#10 on Billboard's "Top Blues Album Charts" in May, 2014. John Paul White, Ben Tanner of The Alabama Shakes, and other
partners have started a new record label called Single Lock Records, which recently signed St. Paul and the Broken
Music legend, Donnie Fritts - singer, songwriter, keyboardist, session musician and movie star - is another native of The Shoals
who performed the headliner concert. Fritts has recorded with
Charlie Rich, Jerry Lee Lewis, among others, and for 40 years has served as keyboardist for Kris Kristofferson.
Fritts was inducted into the 2008 Alabama Music Hall of Fame, and has also appeared in several Kristofferson movies,
has written songs recorded by music legends Willie Nelson, Delbert McClinton, Tony Joe White, Leroy Parnell, and John
Prine. His most well known songs are "We Had It All" (sung by Waylon Jennings, Dobie Gray, Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson,
Keith Richards, Ray Charles, Rolling Stones) and "Breakfast In Bed" (sung by Dusty Springfield, UB40 featuring Chrissie
Hynde and Shelby Lynne). John Paul White and Donnie Fritts are currently teamed up as songwriters/artists/musicians to
record what Fritts calls "a funky R&B" album on the Single Lock label.
Handy Music Festival named Event of the Year for 2007
W.C. Handy Music Festival was named Alabama’s 2007 Event of the Year. The
award ceremony took place Tuesday night, September 18, during the Alabama Governor’s
Conference on Tourism at the Perdido Beach Resort in Orange Beach, Ala., with
approximately 275 state tourism leaders present for the occasion.
The W.C. Handy Music Festival was selected as a "Must
See" event on the Year of Arts Destination Roster for 2007.
Year of Alabama Arts promotion is designed to highlight arts attractions and festivals
across the state beginning September and continuing through all of 2007. State
art museums and galleries have already planned special exhibits highlighting Alabama
art and artists for the year. All areas of visual and performing arts including
painting, sculpture, music, dance, and theatre will be featured in The Year of
Homemade Jamz Blues Band was featured on CBS Sunday Morning
Dec 2, 2007
Visit the band's website by clicking
A few winning festival designs from past events...