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W.C. Handy Festival Archives

2017 W.C. HANDY FESTIVAL HEADLINER CONCERT:

    W.C. Handy is the Father of the Blues, so the Music Preservation Society, Inc. is proud to present the Salt & Pepper Blues Series Concert as our 2017 W.C. Handy Music Festival headliner.  Next year we will join with the Handy Family in celebration of Handy Brothers music, and this is a fitting lead in for that.  The concert will feature master acoustic Blues artists who will present their interpretation of the music that Mr. Handy made known to the world. 
    The Salt & Pepper Blues Series began in February of this year and continued in March and April.  It was so popular that it will continue to be presented in the Shoals each quarter. 
    We are grateful to each of the performers:  Jontavious Willis, 2 Blu Duo, Alabama Annie, Maxwell Russell, Jock Webb, and Clarence "Bluesman" Davis for sharing their amazing talent; to Alabama Folklife, its Executive Director Mary Allison Haynie, board members Russell Gulley and Dick Cooper, for their tireless work in bringing the shows to fruition; and University North Alabama's Dr. Robert Garfrerick, our gracious host, for his invaluable contribution to this series and concert.  We hope that you enjoy experiencing the "blues" as much as we have enjoyed giving the "blues" to you! 

 Tori Bailey, W.C. Handy Festival Chair

7 pm until      Norton Auditorium, University North Alabama Campus, Florence

Doors open at 6:30 pm

General Admission Tickets:
$20.00 plus fees online
$25.00 at the gate

Featuring:      Maxwell Russell, Jock Webb, Sr., Clarence “Bluesman” Davis, Alabama Annie, 2 Blu Duo, Jontavious Willis

 Sponsored by: The University North Alabama, Dr. Robert Garfrerick, Alabama Folklife, Russell Gulley, Dick Cooper, and the Music Preservation Society, Inc.


The 2016 W.C. Handy Festival is excited to announce

the UNA Summer Theater presentation of


"I'll Take You There"
featuring the Music of the Muscle Shoals
:

Performed at:

The Mane Room, 310 North Pine Street, Florence
7:30 pm Thursday, July 28 | Friday, July 29 | Saturday, July 30
2 pm Sunday, July 31


Featuring:
UNA Summer Theatre historical musical revue


Cost:
$25.00 General Admission
$100 VIP Event - Saturday, July 23 @ 7:30 PM


Tickets can be purchased
Monday-Friday, 8 am til 4:30 pm,
at the UNA Department of Entertainment Industry,
112 West Tombigbee St., Florence, Alabama
or online at summertheatre.una.edu,
or by calling 256-765-4342



VIP Event Details:

Join the cast and crew at the opening night after party (package includes a ticket to the performance and a ticket to the opening night after party). Meet the cast, enjoy food and drink, and celebrate the "Muscle Shoals Sound"!

Meet the cast https://www.una.edu/summertheatre/guest-artists/index.html, enjoy food and drinks, and celebrate the "Muscle Shoals Sound"!

Sponsored by:
University of North Alabama | Music Preservation Society, Inc.


(Click to enlarge)

2016takeyouthereposter

UNA Summer Theatre’s “I’ll Take You There”: The Music of Muscle Shoals is an historical musical revue that tells the inspiring story of the indigenous music culture and history that has developed along the Natchez Trace Parkway in northwest Alabama. Audience members will experience the history of recorded music in the Shoals area and hear the “Muscle Shoals Sound” that revolutionized popular music worldwide. The production will include songs that were produced at local studios and recordings by such varied artists as Etta James, Aretha Franklin, Bob Seger, The Rolling Stones, Paul Simon, Wilson Picket, Bob Dylan, and The Staple Singers. Starring George Wendt (known for his portrayal of Norm on the hit TV series Cheers), Broadway actress/singer Felicia Fields (Tony nominated for her portrayal of Sofia in The Color Purple), Myk Watford, Jason Petty, Mississippi Charles Bevel, Kenita Miller (beloved in the Broadway community), Dan Wheetman, David Keenan, Will Barrow, and more!

Buy tickets now!

Florence, AL 35632
(256) 765-4100
1 (800) TALK-UNA

 


W.C. HANDY FESTIVAL 2015 HEADLINER CONCERT

featuring
Grammy Award winner and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer
BOOKER T. JONES
W.C Handy Festival 2015 Headliner - Booker T. Jones

and Special Guest Ace Guitarist
LEE ROY PARNELL
Special Guest Ace Guitarist - Lee Roy Parnell

Saturday, July 25, 2015
at the
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

2014 W.C. Handy Music Festival Headliner: CANDI STATON WITH GUESTS DONNIE FRITTS AND JOHN PAUL WHITE

Photo by Alan Messer

2014 W.C. Handy Music Festival Headliner: CANDI STATON WITH GUESTS DONNIE FRITTS AND JOHN PAUL WHITE

Photo by Shannon Wells

2014 W.C. Handy Music Festival Headliner: CANDI STATON WITH GUESTS DONNIE FRITTS AND JOHN PAUL WHITE

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 Bones.

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.

2007 AwardW.C. Handy Music Festival named Event of the Year for 2007
The 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 Year of Alabama ArtsThe W.C. Handy Music Festival was selected as a "Must See" event on the Year of Arts Destination Roster for 2007.
The 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 Alabama Arts.

 

Homemade Jamz Blues Band was featured on CBS Sunday Morning Dec 2, 2007
Visit the band's website by clicking here.

Homemade Jamz


A few winning festival designs from past events...

2008 2007 2006

2005 2004 2003


 

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