Blind Willie McTell might even be proud of the lineup at the 13th annual blues festival that bears his name. The event named after the McDuffie County native musician is set for Saturday in its location off Stagecoach Road, north of Thomson, Ga.
Georgia native Chuck Leavell, the pianist for the Rolling Stones and formerly of the Allman Brothers Band, is headlining the event. Also in the lineup is the Randall Bramblett Band from Athens, Ga.; guitarist Sean Costello from Atlanta; the country blues/ragtime guitar duo of Steve James, of Austin, Texas, and Del Rey, of Seattle; Mississippi's Robert Lockwood Jr. and Thomson's Crosstie Walkers.
The festival's lineup has more ties to McTell than in the past, said Don Powers, an Activities Council of Thomson member and one of the festival's organizers.
"(Leavell) of course is connected with the Allman Brothers, and if the Allman Brothers ever had a song that they are most recognized for, it's The Statesboro Blues, which was written by Willie McTell. So it's a good connection," he said, adding that Lockwood also is an artist from the same era as Blind Willie.
Leavell hails from the Macon, Ga., area. The 2004 inductee into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame will take some time off from touring with the Rolling Stones to play in the McDuffie County festival. He has recorded and toured with big names such as Eric Clapton and the late Beatle George Harrison.
Attendance at the festival has been growing in the past few years, and Activities Council members hope this year will be no exception. They are banking on the diverse lineup to bring music fans from throughout the Southeast to McDuffie County.
"I think the lineup will bring some people in that are not die-hard blues fans," Powers said. "And in particular, having Chuck Leavell and the Randall Bramblett Band will be the draw for bringing in people who just may have otherwise not come to the festival because they think it's pure blues."
Traditional Southern food such as ribs, chicken, fish and Cajun food will be available at the festival. Carry-in food and drinks will not be allowed. There will be no passes out of the festival.
Today is the last day to purchase $20 advance tickets for the Saturday show. They can be purchased at the Depot and online at www.blindwillie.com. Children 12 and under will be admitted free. The gates open at 11 a.m., and the music starts around noon.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.