May 25, 2013 3:46:34 PM
Jan Swoope - [email protected]
Willie King has been gone since March 2009, but the memory of the humble, award-winning blues guitarist and singer still resonates among those who heard him, played with him, or were just fortunate enough to dance in the dust of a Pickens County field, sweating to authentic blues that have been the hallmark of the Freedom Creek Blues Festival King founded.
Rick Asherson, Debbie Bond and the Rural Members Association -- also started by King -- will present the 16th annual festival Saturday, June 1 in downtown Aliceville, Ala. Live music begins at 11 a.m. at Cookieman's Place, located at 1438 Wilder Circle, rain or shine.
The internationally-recognized festival gets under way with traditional gospel, followed by non-stop blues. The family-friendly affair is known for its down-home atmosphere and Southern eats, as well as quality acts.
"This year's festival features a wide range of regional blues artists, starring blues veteran Microwave Dave with a host of blues stars, including local legend 'Birmingham' George Conner, Tuscaloosa's own Debbie Bond and the TruDats, Birmingham bluesman Earl 'Guitar' Williams and the Juke Band, blues and R&B singer Falisa Janays, Venessia Young and the Pure Blues Express, Clarence Davis, the Willie Lee Halbert Band, Mississippi Blues Boys and more," said Asherson. The music goes until 10 p.m.
Admission is a suggested donation of $10 to the Rural Members Association. For more information, go to freedomcreek.org or call 205-366-1307.
The festival is made possible by a generous grant from the Alabama State Council on the Arts and assistance from the Alabama Blues Projects. Previous sponsors include the National Endowment for the Arts and Music Maker Relief Foundation.
The scheduled music lineup is:
11 a.m. - Gospel group
11:30 a.m. - Alabama Blues Project Band
12:15 p.m. - George Conner Band
1 p.m. - Clarence Davis
2 p.m. - Falisa Janaye
3 p.m. - Mississippi Blues Boys
4 p.m. - Vanessia Young and the Pure Blues Express
5 p.m. - Debbie Bond and the Fundy TruDats
6 p.m. - Earl "Guitar" Williams and the Juke Band
7 p.m. - Microwave Dave and the Nukes
8:30 p.m. - Willie Lee Halbert Band
Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.