Trawick to open music series tonight

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 1, 2009

The “New Harmonies: Celebrating American Roots Music” concert series opens at 5:15 p.m. today with Lenny Trawick in concert at the Stephens Gazebo on the square in downtown Troy.

Trawick will highlight country music with special emphasis on the music of legendary country music singer/songwriter Hank Williams, the unquestionable “Father of County Music.”

“Hank Williams died when he was 29 years old and he written and recorded about 129 songs,” Trawick said. “I don’t know of any other country music artist who has been that prolific. Hank Williams is a legend.”

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Williams was born in Georgiana and grew up in Montgomery. He married Audrey Sheppard of the Shiloh community near Brundidge.

“There are Hank Williams’ fans all over the country but he is especially popular in Alabama because he is one of our own,” Trawick said. “I’ll sing some Hank Williams songs that may not be familiar to many but, to me, they are some of his best. And, of course, I’ll play everybody’s favorites – “I Saw the Light,” “Your Cheatin’ Heart” and “Jambalaya.”

Trawick has been playing country music for almost as long as he can remember and the “old stars” of the Grand Ole Opry are among his favorites.

“My daddy played music and he was a big Hank Williams’ fan,” Trawick said. “Every Saturday night we were by the radio listening to the Grand Ole Opry so I grew up loving country music and the traditional gospel songs that we sang in church.”

Trawick and his brothers formed a trio that was called the Trawick Trio and they played and sang traditional gospel music.

He later played with the popular local country band, “Sidekicks.” He also played blues around the area with Little Jimmie Reed.

He found his niche with Street Feet Blues and the band had a rather hectic schedule that took the band, on a regular basis, to places throughout Alabama and gained for it a good measure of popularity in high places in Atlanta, Panama City, New Orleans and blues hotspots in Mississippi.

“I went back to country and played with Southern Comfort and that was a good experience, too,” Trawick said.

Nearly eight years ago, Trawick found another outlet for his music as the music director of the Brundidge folklife play, “Come Home, It’s Suppertime.” The play features eight of Trawick’s original songs and he is also the lead guitarist and a vocalist for the traditional songs also featured in the play.

Rather recently, Trawick has started to write more of the music that he calls roots music.

“What I write is more like Jimmie Rodgers’ music,” Trawick said. “It’s roots music. And roots music has a lot of heart and soul in it. That’s what is missing in much of the music that is being played today. Roots music is an outgrowth of church music. It strikes a chord because we can all relate to it.”

Trawick said he doesn’t think a songwriter can write roots music unless he or she has experienced hard times.

“It’s just so full of feeling and you can’t fake that,” he said.

The opening concert for the month-long celebration of America’s roots music just might include a few of Trawick’s original songs.

“I might slip a few of them in,” he said with a smile.

The New Harmonies’ concerts at the Gazebo are free and open to the public. Bring a picnic and or just come, sit back and relax and celebrate American’s roots through its music.