SteelDrivers, Randolph headline on main stage

By ED HOWELL
Posted 9/2/18

 The SteelDrivers, a Grammy-winning bluegrass band, will perform on Friday at 9 p.m. in downtown Jasper.

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SteelDrivers, Randolph headline on main stage

Posted

The SteelDrivers and Robert Randolph's The Family Band will headline the Coca-Cola Foothills Festival this year, while Taylor Hicks and Will Hoge will also have late sets during the Sept. 7-8 festival.

The Friday line-up will include River Dan, Hoge and conclude with the SteelDrivers. The Saturday line-up will include the Chris Simmons Band, the McCrary Sisters, Paul Thorn, Hicks and then headlining Randolph.

"All those bands will do an hour set with a 30-minute set break in between," said Zach Baker, the talent buyer for the festival. The exception will be the headliner bands, the SteelDrivers and Randolph, who will each have 90 minutes. 

Performances on the main stage will be on the corner of Third Avenue and 19th Street, just off the courthouse square. 

Randolph's group is an American funk and soul band led by Randolph, who is a pedal steel guitarist named by Rolling Stone as No. 97 among the 100 greatest guitarists of all time.

His concerts are known for their energy, with Randolph dancing and encouraging the audience to dance and sing, even on stage at times. The band has opened for Eric Clapton and performed in national commercials and the TD Toronto Jazz Fest. It has recorded seven albums, with "Got Soul" nominated for a "Best Contemporary Blues Album" for the 2018 Grammy Awards.

Baker, who has been an agent for 17 years and is also a sales consultant for the Eagle, said Randolph will draw many visitors from outside Jasper. 

"It's one of the most unbelievable things you will ever see. He is the Hendrix of the pedal steel guitar, and everyone in the whole band is his family," he said. 

 Hicks, a native of Birmingham, will play just before Randolph. He is one of the most recognizable acts on the bill, as he won the fifth season of American Idol. He became known for his energetic stage performances as well, combining classic rock, blues and R&B. His followers are known as the Soul Patrol. 

 The SteelDrivers, a bluegrass band, was nominated in 2009 for a Grammy Award for Best Country Performance by a Duo or a Group with Vocals for the song "Blue Side of the Mountain." Another album, "Reckless," yielded two nominations in 2010, Best Bluegrass Album (for which it won the Grammy) and Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal for the song, "Where Rainbows Never Die." Two albums, "Hammer Down" and "The Muscle Shoals Recordings," hit No. 1 on the U.S. Bluegrass chart. 

 "They are just high-energy bluegrass and are unbelievable," Baker said. "I saw them in Birmingham at a sold-out show at 1,400 seats with $50 tickets. And they announced our (Foothills Festival) show at their show. So 1,400 people who may or may not have known anything about this event heard some free advertising there." He noted earlier the group had not even signed a contract yet before making the announcement. 

 Hoge, a country music singer and songwriter, has sung Southern rock and alternative country, with Rolling Stone comparing him to Bob Seger and John Mellencamp. The Eli Young Band hit No. 1 on the Billboard Country chart with their recording of his song, "Even If It Breaks Your Heart," which was nominated for a Grammy as Country Song of the Year. 

 He has toured with artists such as Needtobreath, Sugarland and The Civil Wars, and has played at the Grand Ole Opry three times. He received a Country Music Association nomination, an Academy of Country Music nomination and a Grammy nomination for "Country Song of the Year" for "Even If It Breaks Your Heart." 

 Thorn, who was raised in Tupelo, Mississippi, is known for a style that mixes blues, country and rock. He has opened with Huey Lewis and the News, Sting, Bonnie Raitt, Toby Keith, and others. 

Thorn, who is making his second appearance at the festival, earlier this year released "Don't Let the Devil Ride," which features covers of gospel songs from his youth and features the McCrary Sisters and others. The album  hit No. 1 on the Billboard Blues Albums Chart. 

 The McCrary Sisters, the daughters of a former Baptist preacher, are said to sing a unique style of gospel influenced by soul, Americana, blues and R&B and have recorded three albums. They have song on TBN's "Jason Crabbe Show" and have also performed with artists such as Martina McBride, Eric Church, The Winans, Rosanne Cash, Widespread Panic, Sheryl Crow and others. 

 Simmons, a guitarist and vocalist who is known for playing rock and blues, was born in Boaz and today lives in Lacey Springs, just south of Huntsville. He was employed and played on stage with  Leon Russell.

Dan, born in Montgomery, was influenced as a singer by Waylon Jennings and Merle Haggard and has played banjo and guitar.  "River Dan is really old school country," Baker said. 

A number of acts will also perform at Restoration Hall on the west end of 19th Street, near the railroad track. The local group 1898, a contemporary Christian band, will kick off the hour-long sets there at Saturday at 11:15 a.m.  Two Jimmy Band, a classic rock band, and The Groove Revival, a soul and R&B group, will also perform there, with those shows ending at 3:15 p.m. Those bands include a number of local performers. 

The main stage on Saturday will start at 3:45 p.m., so there will be no overlap with the Restoration Hall shows. 

Some performances are also slated for the children's area late Saturday morning starting at 10:30 a.m., with family friendly movies being played both nights when dark falls. 

In a separate development, Tallulah Brewing Co. said on Facebook it would also have acts during the festival. On Friday the opening act would be Two Jimmy Band at 4 p.m., with an after party with DJ Barry Bangerz. On Saturday at noon, Smashley will perform at noon, with the Divines at 1.0 at 2 p.m.

In addition, Twisted Barley Brewing Co. said on its page it would host Junior Uptain on Friday and the Edmonds Butler Band on Saturday.