Riders in the Sky perform June 5

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Known as the "little town where time stands still," the town of Wartrace is coming together to celebrate its heritage with the fifth annual Wartrace MusicFest.

The music festival is a way for the town of Wartrace and Chamber of Commerce to showcase the small village and to provide entertainment for area residents and to attract new people into the town, said Wartrace Mayor Don Gallagher, who serves as chairman of the MusicFest committee.

The Wartrace MusicFest is slated for June 4-5 at the Wartrace Horse Show grounds at 124 Bridgeview Ave. Music begins Friday at 5 p.m. and at noon on Saturday.

"The purpose of the (music festival) is to raise money for improvements around the town," said Jerry Fox, a MusicFest committee member, who added that festival proceeds have helped pay for a skate park, sidewalk benches, street lighting and landscaping.

Festival headliners are Grand Ole Opry stars Riders in the Sky. Known as "America's favorite cowboys," Riders in the Sky perform western standards and original compositions in a show infused with their own brand of humor.

The group has performed together since 1977.

"As much as anything, I have been a really big fans of them for a very long time," Gallagher said, of why Riders in the Sky were chosen to headline. "We were looking for something a little bit different, something that would have a broad appeal for people in this area."

The MusicFest committee has worked to create a lineup that would appeal to a broad audience and showcase local talent, he said.

International Bluegrass Music Association's female vocalist of year Claire Lynch Band will headline the festival Friday, June 4. The band is slated to take the main stage at 9 p.m.

County music legend Dolly Parton has said Lynch has "one of the sweetest, purest and best lead voices in the music business today." Her harmonies have graced the recordings of many stellar musicians, from Ralph Stanley to Linda Ronstadt.

The surprise hit from last year's MusicFest, The Doerfels, will entertain both Friday and Saturday evenings.

Rounding out the two days of music will be Jim and Inge Wood and their western swing band, award-winning finger style guitarist Jon Garon and friends, Angelica Grim, Nashville singer-songwriter Dan McCorison, Cody "Cash" Huber, Stephen Gallagher and Zack Kerber and The Creek.

Jon Garon will conduct a finger style guitar-picking workshop at the Wartrace Community Center beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday and the Gallagher Guitar shop will hold an open house from noon-2 p.m. Saturday.