Wiregrass Blues Fest

Members of the EG perform a song during the Wiregrass Blues Fest in 2015.

Blues music will permeate downtown Dothan under a forecast of blue skies Saturday as the Wiregrass Blues Society conducts its annual festival.

Like past festivals, the Wiregrass Blues Society will honor the past, recognize the present, and perhaps inspire the future of the genre, WBS president Bruce Adams said. Amid the concerts, which begin about 3 p.m. in the Wiregrass Museum of Art’s garden area, the organization will recognize two local musicians who contributed greatly to the national music scene.

“We always make a presentation to a living and a deceased honoree who is represented by a family member,” Adams said. “Our deceased honoree is John Rainey Adkins, who played with The Candymen and toured with Roy Orbison. Our living honoree is Dean Daughtry of Kinston, who is the only continuous performing member of the Atlanta Rhythm Section.”

Adkins, a Dothan native, made an early impact on the career of Bobby Goldsboro, according to the Alabama Music Office website. Goldsboro had several hit singles in the 1960s and 1970s, including “Honey,” which sold more than five million copies, according to Goldsboro’s website.

Adkins later on played lead guitar for Orbison for seven years, recording the famous opening to Orbison’s “Pretty Woman,” the AMO site noted. Adkins died in 1989 at the age of 47.

Daughtry, a keyboardist, helped found the Atlanta Rhythm Section – which had a couple of Billboard Top 10 hits in the 1970s. The Atlanta Rhythm Section continues to perform to this day.

The festival, of course, includes concerts from several present-day acts. Local band Montage opens the festivities before Montgomery-based King Bee plays.

Another local band, The New Canadians, follows afterward. David Adkins, brother of John Rainey Adkins, plays with the group.

After the presentations – which include a tribute to John “Hooker” Miller, WBS’s first president – the concerts conclude with a pair of Florida bands, Packrat’s Smokehouse and the Bridget Kelly Band. Adams anticipates the festival to conclude at about 10 p.m.

Proceeds from the festival promote the future of music as WBS uses the profits to purchase instruments for local school music programs and fund local “Blues in School” initiatives, Adams said.

“It aims to promote and preserve blues as the original American art form,” he said. “It’s wonderful if they fall in love with the blues, but it’s even more wonderful if they fall in love with music in general.”

Advance tickets are $15 and available for purchase at wiregrassbluessociety.com and several businesses in Dothan, Daleville and Enterprise. Tickets for the event are $20 at the gate, which opens at 2 p.m.

Follow Jeremy Wise on Twitter @DEgovbeat

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