March 30, 2013 4:19:53 PM
Jan Swoope - [email protected]
Market Street Festival 2013 in downtown Columbus will kick off Friday night, May 3, when high-powered funk-rockers Mother's Finest deliver their blend of driving rhythms and expressive R&B vocals. The Atlanta-based band that first charted in the 1970s with songs such as "Fire," "Baby Love," "Don't Wanna Come Back," "Love Changes" and "Piece of the Rock" enjoy a devoted following today and still tour internationally.
With founders Joyce "Baby Jean" Kennedy and Glenn Murdock at the helm, the group has released 13 albums. They were inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 2011.
"Market Street Festival wants to bring in something for everybody, and we try to mix it up each year," said Dawn Barham, chair of the festival's music committee. "Mother's Finest has a large fan base in the South. They put so much soul into their shows, and they are masters at blending R&B vocal styling, funk and guitar-driven rock."
The former Epic Records recording artists will perform on the Main Stage on Main Street from 9:30-11 p.m. The Juke Joint Gypsies will begin the downtown concert at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10, available now at the Main Street Columbus office at 110 Fifth St. N.
On the ivories
A mix of blues, Southern rock and country, singer/songwriter, bluegrass, barbershop quartet and more will ring from Market Street Festival stages throughout Saturday, May 4, culminating with a rousing set by special guest Linda Gail Lewis.
The Rockabilly Hall of Fame member has been a frequent collaborator with her brother, Jerry Lee Lewis, and artists including Van Morrison. The "rockin' red-haired momma" is known for her roll-a-boogie keyboard style and power vocals.
"We chose Linda Gail Lewis to close. Like Mother's Finest, she has universal appeal, but she's totally different," explained Barham. "She's like foot-stomping, street-dancing raucous rock-n-roll. We're really excited to have these two international charting acts to hook into our festival."
Lewis has recorded more than 20 albums. Her latest, "You & Me & Sweet Rock 'n Roll," was released in 2010. She comes to Columbus fresh off a tour in Finland and Denmark.
Other acts performing Saturday on the Main Street stage include the Dirt Brothers, Sipsey Fires and Big Joe Shelton and the Black Prairie Blues Ambassadors. The Acoustic Stage will feature Kelsey Collins, Johnny C and the 2 Tones, Stephanie Jackson, Mike Cooper and Keith and Margie Brown. The Columbus Community Choir and Barbershop Quartet, the Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science Showchoir and Breaking Grass bluegrass band will entertain on the WCBI stage.
Barham noted the variety of acts makes for a unique festival experience.
"We want people to hear this montage of different music from all over the place as they walk around," she said, pointing out that the committee makes a conscious choice to book an array of styles from year to year.
Barbara Bigelow is executive director of Main Street Columbus, organizer of the festival.
"Market Street Festival prides itself on providing quality music for our community and festival-goers," she said. "We're very excited with the acts we're bringing to our stages this year. They provide a diverse range of music that all ages are sure to enjoy."
For more information about the 18th annual Market Street Festival, go to marketstreetfestival.com, or contact Main Street Columbus at 662-328-6305.
Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.