Feel the music Saturday in Ferriday

Published 12:07 am Friday, October 28, 2011

It’s time again for a chill in the air, football, soups and gumbos.

It’s also time for the fourth annual Ferriday Songfest from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at the Arcade Theater in Ferriday. This year my friends Tricia Walker and Byron Hill are coming from Nashville.

Tricia has worked as a backing musician for Grand Ole Opry stars Connie Smith, Paul Overstreet, Russ Taff and Shania Twain. Tricia is a singer and songwriter whose songs are steeped in the passion, pain and grace of the American South.

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Born and raised in Mississippi, Tricia has become one of the clearest voices of her own time and place.

Her music has been recorded by Faith Hill, Patty Loveless and Alison Krauss, whose performance of Tricia’s “Looking in the Eyes of Love” earned a Grammy. A recording artist, herself, Tricia’s newest CD, The Heart of Dixie, thoughtfully captures the songwriter’s view of the South with well-placed lyrics and music reflecting her folk, R&B and storytelling influences.

Additional musical highlights include Tricia singing at Robert Redford’s Christmas Cantata at Sundance Resort in Utah as well as a live performance during a newly choreographed work for the Nashville Ballet titled “All the Way Home,” which she co-wrote with Kate Campbell. She is also director of the Delta Music Institute at Delta State University where she teaches songwriting, music publishing, recording techniques, copyright law and music production. For more info see bigfrontporch.com.

Also joining me this year is my buddy Byron Hill. He’s been a professional songwriter in Nashville for 33 years, has had over 650 recordings, earned 77 gold and platinum awards, 10 ASCAP awards, 40 U.S. and Canadian top 10 chart hits and numerous hits in other worldwide markets.

His hit list includes Alabama’s Born Country, George Strait’s Fool Hearted Memory, George Jones’s High-Tech Redneck, Tracy Byrd’s Lifestyles of the Not So Rich and Famous, Gary Allen’s Nothing On but the Radio, Joe Nichols’s Size Matters and Johnny Lee’s Pickin’ Up Strangers. In addition he’s had songs recorded by Keith Whitley, Mark Chestnutt, Randy Travis, Toby Keith, Tanya Tucker, Sammy Kershaw, Trace Atkins, John Michael Montgomery and others. For more info see byronhillmusic.com

At this year’s workshop, we will discuss the craft of writing, the creative process and the business of music. If you are a writer, want to be a writer or just love music and the story behind the hits, join us at Ferriday Song Fest. Admission is $40 advance purchase and $45 at the door, and includes an open-mic night beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Comfort Suites in Vidalia followed by the pro writers show. Both events at Comfort Suites are free and open to the public.

Lunch will be available for purchase at Rockabilly Plaza with live entertainment by Sylvia Johns Ritchie and her advanced music students.

If you have a song you want critiqued please bring one song on CD. Country Boy Mark Porter will be on hand to explain the relationship between the songwriter and commercial radio. For more info 601-431 6149 and ferridaymusic.com.

Hope to see you in Ferriday, “Where Music Is Born.”

Tommy Polk is the organizer of the Ferriday Songfest.