BY: GERALD HODGES
The 38th Annual Salute to a Legend will be held Friday and Saturday, June2-3 at the Hank Williams Music Park in Georgiana. This year’s lineup of entertainers on Saturday will feature; Gene Watson, Jett Williams, the legendary singer’s daughter,Brad Magness, Mary Montgomery, Colin Leatherwood, Starla Jones, Flashback, Cherokee Creek, Kim Carson & The Real Deal, Hannah Schofield and others.Watson has appeared at the festival several times in the past, and according to festival promoters, he was brought back for this year’s festival by popular demand. Though he can sing honky-tonk, Watson built a reputation for soulful ballads in the classic country tradition. Born one of seven children in Palestine, Texas, he married early and was working as an auto body man when he began frequenting the clubs in Houston. He recorded for a few small-time regional labels during the early ‘70s. But it wasn’t until 1974, when a steamy single, “Love in the Hot Afternoon,“was picked up for national distribution by Capitol Records, that he achieved National recognition. Other hits followed: “Love Begins,” “Paper Rosie,” “Farewell Party,” “Should I Come Home (Or Should I Go Crazy),” and “Nothing Sure Looked Good on You.” The rest is history as Watson went on to become one of country’s best-loved entertainers. Jett Williams said this will be her 25th festival appearance.“Coming back to Georgiana is one of the high points of my year,” said Jett. “Being back in Alabama and being part of the festival means I’m back in the middle of my big, happy, wonderful family. I have so many friends back there, that it’s like a homecoming for me.”The format for Friday will feature Frank Foster, James Dupre, Brad Magness, Mary McDonald, Colon Leatherwood and several others sharing the stage. Frank Foster is a country singer who hails from Cypress Bottoms, La. His music is influenced by classic outlaw sounds as well as contemporary rock material. Foster releases his own records, manages his own business affairs, and books his own tours. Bringing his music directly to his fans, offers a unique approach, and has made him a rising star. James Dupre is a country music artist and actor born and raised in Chicot, La. While working as a paramedic, he became a YouTube sensation in 2007, after posting videos of country songs. He appeared on NBC’s “The Voice” in Season 9. He’s currently working on a new album release. Thursday, June 1, at 7 pm, there will be a free karaoke session. Friday, June, 2, fans can enter the park at 2 pm. Admission is $20. Saturday, June 3, the gates open at 8 am Admission: $30. The Hank Williams Festival is an outdoor event, sponsored by the Hank Williams Museum. There is no reserved seating. Bring your lawn chairs. No lounge chairs, coolers, food, drinks, or pets can be taken into the park. The festival is biker friendly. A special weekend ticket, which will be good for both days, can be bought for $40, through May 27. This is a savings of $10 over the regular single-day admission price. This ticket must be purchased in advance. To order, or for additional information, call 334-376-2396, or log on to: www.hankwilliamsfestival.com. To reach the festival, take I-65 Exit 114, and go one mile east.