Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Tina Turner Days becomes annual celebration

What started as a fan celebration honoring Tina Turner's childhood school, Flagg Grove, has developed into an annual festival observing the heritage and legacy of the international music icon. Tina Turner Heritage Days will be held September 27-28 at the Delta Heritage Center in Brownsville, Tenn. The event will include tours, concerts and a stew competition.

Friday night is Fan Appreciation Night and includes a reception and exhibit of Tina posters. A documentary titled "From Muskogee to Nutbush" will follow. The film, made during the 2012 visit to Nutbush by a group of young artist from Muskogee, Ok., creates a parallel between the two cities, including their struggles with adversity and segregation and highlights the common bond that is part of the journey - music.
Knut Roppestad
Wrapping up the Friday evening activities is Norwegian Bluesman Knut Roppestad. Born and raised in Horton, Norway, he began his American adventures in the 1980s and continues to travel and perform in the U.S. at every opportunity. "I've been a long time fan of Tina Turner since seeing her live in Oslo," says Roppestad. "I promise a steamy version of 'Steamy Windows' for the fans."
Saturday's festivalgoers can choose between tours of Nutbush, Turner's childhood home, and painting an abstract of Tina on vinyl. The smell of stew will fill the air as teams compete for the title of "Stewmaster"  and live music from the Spotlight Rising Stars of Muskogee, will entertain between 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.
The festival concludes with a Tribute performance at the Ann Marks Performing Arts Center in  Brownsville's Historic District. Former Flagg Grove School student Lollie Mann will open the show with original gospel numbers and share her memories of time spent at Flagg Grove. Following Mann is Music Highway Band. This Jackson, Tenn., group has performed together since 2001, and have worked with such legendary performers as Carl Mann and Eddie Bond, developing their own special blend of rockabilly and country.
Dorothy Cole
Rhythm and blues performer Dorothy Cole will headline the show. Energetic and fun, Cole began her career as a tribute artist in 1993 when she won a Tina look-a-like contest while performing Proud Mary. Since then, she has performed all over the country and in England where she shared the stage with Rod Stewart during a special performance tribute to Tina. A Chattanooga native and Decatur, Ala., resident, Cole appeared in Haywood County for the 2002 dedication of Highway 19 as "Tina Turner Highway."
"I'm excited about being back in Brownsville," says Cole. "Performing in Tina's hometown is always a privilege and I'm especially excited to be a part of the first Tina Turner Heritage Days."
The Saturday evening concert begins at 7 p.m. Tickets and more information, including a complete schedule of events, can be found on the festival website:, or by contact the Delta Heritage Center at 731-779-9000.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Rockabilly star to perform at August Concert on the Porch

Rayburn Anthony
The porch of the Sleepy John Estes home in Brownsville will be rocking when rockabilly musician Rayburn Anthony takes the stage August 17 for Concert on the Porch. Anthony, a Humboldt native,  is well-known both regionally and internationally for his unique blend of rock and country. Opening for Anthony at 7 p.m., is Haywood County's Emily Pilant.

Rayburn Anthony's first recordings were for the legendary Sun label in Memphis. Recording  singles such as "St. Louis Blues," "There's No Tomorrow" and Big Dream," Anthony performed regularly with West Tennessee legends Carl Perkins, W. S,. Holland and Carl Mann - just to name a few. He has performed on the Grand Ole Opry and written songs recorded by top country stars such as Conway Twitty/Loretta Lynn, Charley Pride and Jerry Lee Lewis.

He performs several times a year overseas and especially in Sweden where he has released five CDs, including an album recorded using vintage 1950s equipment. The album, "Jackson was Jumpin," credits Jackson, Tenn., for some of the rockabilly explosion of the fifties and the song itself gives name recognition to this region's top performers.
Emily Pilant and Piper Waddell
Emily Pilant will open for Anthony beginning at 7 p.m. She is an 18 year old graduate of Haywood High School and a Haywood County native. Pilant sings regularly with her church praise and worship band and dabbles in songwriting.  Piper Waddell will accompany Pilant on the guitar as she presents medleys from a variety of genres.
Bleacher seating is available or bring lawn chairs or blankets for the outdoor concert. Drinks and snacks will be on site. You are also welcome to bring a picnic or visit the surrounding restaurants.
Concerts are presented free to the public each month on the third Saturday, through September, at the Delta Heritage Center in Brownsville. For a complete schedule of upcoming concerts, visit