By Gerald Hodges
The 40th Annual Salute to a Legend will be held Friday and Saturday, May 31 and June 1 at the Hank Williams Music Park in Georgiana, AL.
Williams lived several years as a boy in a house that is now the Hank Williams Museum. Adjoining the house and museum is a five-acre park, which is the site of the festival.
It is at this location that thousands of faithful Hank Williams fans and lovers of country music gather each year to renew old acquaintances, fellowship and listen to some of the best and original country music in the world.
Ole Hank would be proud of this year’s lineup of entertainers because it is one of the best in years. Included are many nationally known artists and bands.
Saturday night’s headliner, Tony Jackson appeared onstage at the festival in 2018. The audience liked his type of music so much that he was brought back for this year’s festival.
Jackson has fast become the new voice and face of traditional country and he sounds like a seasoned pro who knows his business.
He has spent the last year on the road and in Nashville recording studios. When he sings George Jones ‘The Grand Tour’ and Conway Twitty’s “Its Only Make Believe”, Jackson’s vocals are the star of the show.
Supported by country music and rock and roll hall of fame members (Vince Gil, Steve Cropper and John Sebastian), Jackson can only be described as one of the new voices of country.
Entertainers will take the stage at 10 am on Saturday, and will feature many local and regional stars.
Saturday afternoon Jason Petty will bring his songs and storytelling to the big stage. Petty started as an actor and has grown into a singer, songwriter, director and playwright. He has crossed the globe many times with his special brand of music, acting and storytelling. He will perform the classics of Hank Williams Sr., as well as combining Hank’s music and life within his storytelling.
Also appearing on Saturday afternoon will be Edward Johannson of Sweden. The young singer visited Georgiana for the first time in 2018, and was a big hit with the fans. Johannson has his own band, “Edward and the Hayriders,” and travels throughout northern Europe playing Hanks Williams music. His style of singing, which isn’t even similar to a country drawl, was never-the-less, enjoyed by the fans and he was invited back.
Brad Magnets and his band will once again provide back up music for many of the entertainers. Magness of Bean Blossom, Indiana is the longest-appearing entertainer appearing on the program. He has been coming to the festival since 1992. Magness and his band have provided music for many of the nationally famous recording stars.
Appearing along with Magness and Petty will be Mary McDonald, of Stonewall, Oklahoma, a former “Female Vocalist” winner at the International TMA awards show; Colin Leatherwood of Ozark, Alabama; Elaine McMillan, Nashville, Tennessee; Mason Ramsey, the 12-year-old singing star; Tyler Jones, the bands, “Flashback”, and “New Vision”, along with many other entertainers
As usual, Starla Jones will perform the evening’s Patriotic Tribute.
The Confederate Railroad will headline and close out Friday night’s show. The gates open at 2 pm. There will be various artist performing until Brad Magness and his band takes the stage at 5 pm. Entertainers that will appear with Magnuss’s band include: Colin Leatherwood and Mary McDonald.
Thursday, May 30, at 7 pm, there will be a free karaoke session.
Friday, May 31, fans can enter the park at 2 pm. Admission: $20.
Saturday, June 1, the gates open at 8 am Admission: $30.