Delta Music Hall of Fame selects inductee

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 6, 2009

FERRIDAY — The secret agent man’s identity will be forever public after he is inducted into the Delta Music Museum’s Hall of Fame next month.

The 2009 inductee into the Hall of Fame will be Johnny Rivers, who had a number of hit covers and original songs, but who is probably best known for the song “Secret Agent Man.”

Rivers was born in New York City but raised in Baton Rouge, and in 1957 he recorded his first single for Natchez-based Suede Records. He had nine top-10 hits, including the No. 1 hit “Poor Side of Town,” and produced the Grammy Award-winning record “Up, Up and Way.”

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Rivers will not be able to attend the festivities, Delta Music Museum Director Judith Bingham said.

The Hall of Fame is operated by the Louisiana Secretary of State’s office, and the secretary of state appoints the inductees.

The press secretary for the secretary of state’s office, Jacques Berry, said the goal is to highlight the accomplishments of musicians from Louisiana or the delta region of Mississippi.

“We like to highlight not just how successful they were, but how much they contributed to the musical culture of the area,” Berry said.

The festival will be April 4, and Bingham said preparations are kicking into full force.

“From now until April 4, we will be doing something every day,” she said. “We are planning our advertising strategy, scheduling the acts and vendors are sending in applications.”

This year’s line-up will include Elvis impersonator Todd Martin as the headline act.

Other performers will include Avery Michaels and Exit 209, Rendez-vous, Y.Z. Ealy, Wayside, Paul Sutherland and Hannah Bell and Jered Perck.

The following day, Ferriday native Mickey Gilley will bring his full musical and comedy act — based out of Branson, Mo. — to the Arcade Theater for two performances, one at 3 p.m. and one at 7 p.m.

But that show is already booked.

“It’s already sold out,” Bingham said. “It’s sad that we have to tell people we don’t have any more tickets.”

Slots are still available for festival vendors, and those interested in opening a booth for the festival should contact the museum at 318-757-9999, Bingham said.