TROY, Alabama Blues Project present Wiregrass Blues Fest

Posted: Wednesday, 16 November 2011

DOTHAN—In celebration of the Year of Alabama Music, Troy University and the Alabama Blues Project will present the Wiregrass Blues Fest on Friday, Dec. 2, in downtown Dothan.

Presented in coordination with The Downtown Group's Winter Festival and co-sponsored by Mercedes-Benz of Dothan and the Alabama State Council on the Arts, the Wiregrass Blues Fest will feature performances by a lineup of top Alabama blues women including Debbie Bond, Shar Baby and Rachel Edwards.

The festival will start at 7:30 p.m. inside the Great Hall at the Wiregrass Museum of Art. Gil Anthony, host of the Blues Power radio show, will emcee.

The event will highlight the contributions of Alabama blues artists, including a tribute to Eddie Kirkland, the renowned blues legend and Dothan native well known for his guitar grooves, riffs, and songwriting. Kirkland was originally slated to headline the festival prior to his death in February of this year, and the festival is dedicated to him.

Tickets are $10 and can be purchased in advance at the TROY Dothan Campus (in 118 Malone Hall or 400 Adams Hall) and at the Wiregrass Museum of Art. For more information, call 334-983-6556

More about Eddie Kirkland:

The first annual Wiregrass Blues Festival is dedicated to the late, world-renowned blues legend Eddie Kirkland, who passed away this year on Feb. 27 and who was the intended headliner for this year's event. Nicknamed the "Gypsy of the Blues," Kirkland gave his life, heart and soul to crafting and performing his unique blues. Most cited for the originality of his guitar grooves, riffs, tunings and songwriting, he never gained the recognition or financial success he deserved. Celebrated also for his colorful personality in the best of the blues tradition, his stage antics included wearing a turban style headdress and performing back flips as part of his high-energy show. He had strong Wiregrass roots, spending his early childhood in Dothan where he learned to play the guitar and harmonica from local blues musicians and returned often to perform at the local Elks club and juke joints. He toured and recorded in his own right but was also closely associated with John Lee Hooker and Otis Redding. Kirkland was a classic hardworking touring bluesman and passed away at age 88 while returning from a gig in Florida.