Official press release below.
The Fortune Williams Music Festival announces Suzy Bogguss as the headline artist for its ninth annual festival to be held at the Frontier Culture Museum in Staunton, VA on September 23 and 24th. Ms. Bogguss, admired by fans and critics alike for her vocal proficiency and musicianship, is an artist who has managed to walk the line between critical acclaim and commercial success. Her career highlights include one platinum and two gold records, several high profile awards from her peers in the Country Music industry including the prestigious Country Music Association’s “Horizon Award” and the Academy of Country Music’s “Top New Female Vocalist” award, six top ten singles and a Grammy. After having garnered success in the Country Music industry Suzy’s music has continued to evolve as she prolifically challenges herself with new and independent projects that include “The Swanee Sessions” with Matraca Berg and Gretchen Peters, a Christmas CD released in 2010 and her latest CD, “Wildwood Flower,” just released this year. The Fortune Williams Music Festival is pleased to have Suzy as its headliner this year.
Also appearing on Saturday will be Grammy award winning artist and two time International Bluegrass Music Association Female Vocalist of the Year, Laurie Lewis. Ms. Lewis has truly established herself as one of the finest, most diversely talented artists in American music today. She is not only an outstanding vocalist but also a superb instrumentalist and songwriter whose songs have been recorded by respected artists Kathy Mattea, Jeannie Kendall and Patsy Montana among others. Sam Bush says, “she uses bluegrass instruments to create new original music: it's music for now. As a fiddler, she could be from the 1940s or from 2010; it's timeless.” She will be appearing with her band The Right Hands.
Bruce Molsky, one of the finest proponents of Appalachian music in America today will also perform on Saturday. He is a master of the banjo and the guitar but it is as the “Rembrandt of Appalachian fiddle” that he has earned his highest accolades. Mark O’Connor says Bruce has"a mystical awareness of how to bring out the new in something that is old." Of his singing Linda Ronstadt says: "Bruce has has that ability to track deep emotion in his voice, without any unnecessary adornment. It's pared back to only the essential architecture of emotion." A polished performer who is irresistible to audiences, Molsky presents himself as exactly who he is, a nice guy who blends virtuosity with humility. Bruce will play two sets on Saturday.
The songwriter guests on Friday night are Dean Dillon and Gail Davies. Dillon, a member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall Of Fame, came to Nashville as a teenager intent on being a Country Music star. And he came really close. He’s recorded six albums and has had 20 singles released. But it is as a songwriter that he has made his mark. Since the early ‘80s, Dillon has had over 100 of his songs released as singles, 50 by George Strait alone. Others who have recorded his songs include George Jones, Toby Keith, Kenny Chesney, Alabama, Brooks and Dunn, Keith Whitley, Vern Gosdin, David Allan Coe, Lee Ann Womack, Pam Tillis and Shenandoah.
Gail Davies is one of country music's most influential artists, and the genre's first female record producer. She has been cited as the person who kicked open the closed doors on Music Row and was the role model for other female singers, including Kathy Mattea, Mary Chapin Carpenter and Pam Tillis. Noted for her outstanding performing talents, she is also the lyrical and eloquent songwriter of “Tell Me Why,” “Someone Is Looking For Someone Like You,” “Bucket To The South” and many more. She has recently written her autobiography, “The Last Of The Outlaws,” which chronicles her humble beginnings and her rise to the top of the Billboard charts and gives an inside look at the Music Business.
Hosting the festival as usual and performing both days are its namesakes Jimmy Fortune and Robin and Linda Williams. Fortune, a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, was the tenor singer with Staunton, VA’s “Statler Brothers” for 21 years and wrote several of their number one hits including “Too Much On My Heart” and “My Only Love.” While with the Statlers he performed on their popular TV show as well as in front of two Presidents and hundreds of thousands of fans. Upon their retirement in 2002 Jimmy launched his solo career and, while touring constantly, has continued his songwriting success, his song “Elizabeth” having recently been nominated for a Grammy. In a relatively short period of time he has released five CDs, his latest being “Windows,” and a Christmas DVD. Now living in Nashville, he is still beloved by his many fans in Staunton who will always claim him as one of their own.
Robin and Linda Williams, from Middlebrook, VA, have crisscrossed the continent for more than three decades, performing a hearty blend of bluegrass, folk and country songs along with the tunes they write, their songs having been recorded by Emmylou Harris, Mary Chapin Carpenter, and Tom T. Hall, to name a few. They have performed for over 30 years as semi-regulars on Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion” radio show on National Public Radio and were featured musicians in the 2006 Robert Altman directed film of the same name. They recorded two CDs with Keillor and “The Hopeful Gospel Quartet” along with 21 CDs of their own. “Stonewall Country,” their latest will be released in June, 2011 and is a recording of the songs they wrote for the musical of the same name which has become synonymous with the Lime Kiln Theater in Lexington, VA.