Tonic to headline balloon race

Published 12:05 am Sunday, September 18, 2011

Tonic will play 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 15

NATCHEZ — If the sickness is a quiet balloon race, then there is a Tonic for the cure.

With 2 million records sold and five top 20 songs, Tonic will headline musical acts at the 2011 Great Mississippi River Balloon Race Oct. 15 at Rosalie Bicentennial Gardens.

Independent producer and Natchez native Jimmy McCarstle works with event organizers every year — booking and handling technical points of presenting.

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“The balloon race is the crown jewel event of the region,” McCarstle said. “That’s how it’s been established over the years.”

McCarstle said there is something to please every ear. This year, Saturday is considered a rock n roll day, while Sunday is set aside for country music.

“It’s kind of a mixed bag approach,” McCarstle said. “Americana, blues, Cajun, zydeco, classic rock — or something that relates to it.”

McCarstle said that Last Waltz Ensemble, will most resemble the classic rock sound, echoing The Band and Bob Dylan, since those bands probably will never play Natchez.

“We work within budget limitations that we have, and give a good musical presentation,” McCarstle said. “Though Tonic is very familiar national mainstream band.”

McCarstle said the band Cosimo Experience features Natchez Native Brint Anderson.

“They will be presenting the music of Cosimo Matassa — one of pioneers of rock roll,” McCarstle said. McCarstle described the band as a New Orleans review, playing sounds akin to Fats Domino and Little Richard.

McCarstle said the Mississippi Roots are, “local guys doing the Southern rock thing,” and Honey Island Swamp Band will present Americana blues.

Guitar Shorty is a lively crowd pleaser, McCarstle said.

“Guitar Shorty is straight-up blues out of Texas,” McCarstle said. “He is one of the few over-70 guys still out there doing it. He has a long rich history and is very energetic. He was actually Jimmy Hendrix’s brother-in-law.”

McCarstle said the band Ingram Hill is a regional pop favorite.

The Concordia Parish talented music program is now a part of the musical lineup — that is inclusive of young, local talent. That stage is being organized by Sylvia Johns Ritchie of Vidalia, who leads music education programs for the parish.

“It is encouragement to give kids something to feel accomplished about, and play at the event too,” McCarstle said. “I am pleased that so many children in region who follow and listen to music.”

Sunday’s events will near an end to the balloon race weekend with Mark Adam Miller — an artists from New Orleans who McCarstle said has recently been climbing the Nashville scene .

Mississippi native Randy Houser will close the weekend.

“He has written several successful songs for other artists and additional to having some for himself,” McCarstle said. Like ‘Honkey Tonk Badokadonk.’”

Carl Knight of Natchez, who works at Callon Petroleum and has attended the event for years, said the balloons are great, but the music is pretty good too.

“For $15 you can see all the best acts,” Kinght said. “You’ll pay $75 going to one concert. You can’t miss it.”