Blues fest comes to Troy

Published 3:00 am Friday, April 10, 2015

Blues are coming to Troy this month as the Johnson Center for the Arts takes part in the Wiregrass Blues Fest.

Vicki Pritchett, Johnson Center executive director, said the April 30 event will feature Debbie Bond of the Alabama Blues Project.

“Debbie Bond’s performance will highlight the honorees of this year’s Wiregrass Blues Fest, JW Warren, the late Ariton guitar player, and the living legend, Paul Hornsby who is a keyboardist and award-winning record producer,” Pritchett said.

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Jeneve Brooks, assistant professor of sociology, Troy University Dothan Campus, said she is pleased that Wiregrass Blues Fest is partnering with the Johnson Center, the City of Troy and the Pike County Chamber of Commerce, as well as downtown restaurants and businesses to make the event at the Johnson Center a truly exciting one.

“I’m hoping that we will have a packed crowd on that Thursday night, filled with Troy University students, faculty and the local community,” Brooks said. “I’m also hoping that it will start to involve the Troy community in this cool festival and that it will increase in folks coming to the main concert event/gumbo cook-off at the Wiregrass Museum of Art in Dothan on May 2.”

Pritchett said the event at The Studio on April 30 is a free event sponsored by Troy University and will feature Bond and her husband, Rick Asherson, an accomplished keyboardist and harmonica player.

“Debbie will also lead a humanities-focused public discussion on JW Warren and Paul Hornsby,” Pritchett said. “In addition, Lenny Trawick, a local singer and songwriter, will add his own personal stories about JW Warren.

“Gil Anthony, the JD for the Blues Power, will also join the discussion given his long-time friendship and knowledge of Paul Hornsby.”

Pritchett said Anthony has been recognized worldwide for his knowledge of blues music and was the recipient of the Keeping the Blues Alive Award in commercial radio in 2013 by the Blues Foundation in Memphis.

“Having events like this at The Studio has been a longtime vision of the Johnson Center,” Pritchett said. “It is our goal to, not only display important works by Alabama and regional artists, but to celebrate the music of Alabama and also dance.

“We want to be a true cultural arts center. Sponsoring a blues festival in Troy is a part of the fulfillment of our mission. It is also an opportunity to showcase our facility and bring attention to the charm of downtown Troy to the Wiregrass community.”

Pritchett said she and her staff are looking forward to having visitors from the Dothan and Enterprise areas in town for the Thursday night blues event at The Studio.