George Winston performing Sunday

Published 12:05 am Thursday, February 5, 2015

Grammy award-winning artist George Winston will perform Sunday at First Presbyterian Church in Natchez.

Winston is donating his performance, and all proceeds will benefit the Natchez Stewpot.

Nearly a month ago, I received confirmation that, yes, “the” Winston would be available for a benefit concert here in Natchez.  Since that time, I have been reacquainting myself with his music.

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My memories of the early albums from the 1980s that established his fame — “Autumn, December, Winter Into Spring” — were on vinyl and cassette tape. They coincide with early married life, law school and the birth of my second child.

I checked my CD collection and found “Forest, Linus & Lucy: The Music of Vince Guaraldi and Montana.” I learned to program computers listening to “Forest.” “Linus & Lucy” coincided with the arrival of our first grand piano. Piano students always enjoyed playing “Linus & Lucy” from the Peanuts TV specials.

“Montana” was the surprise for me. It was hidden among the others, and for some reason, I didn’t have associations from the past, but I do now. This is definitely my favorite and will be associated with the work in putting this show together and getting to meet Winston.

Listening to “Ballads and Blues 1972,” Winston’s first recording, one can look back at the genesis of his melodic piano style that he refers to as folk piano or rural piano. He initially played organ in bands, but was drawn to solo piano after discovering the music of Fats Waller and the stride piano style of playing.

Sunday’s performance will be an opportunity to hear favorite tunes as well as Winston’s more recent works including pieces influenced by New Orleans R&B piano and stride piano styles.

He will also play Hawaiian Slack Key guitar and solo harmonica.

You may want to visit to learn more about Winston’s music and influences prior to the concert.  A number of albums are available for listening online for Amazon Prime members, including his first album, “Ballads and Blues 1972,” “Night Divides the Day — The Music of the Doors” and “Gulf Coast Blues” and “Impressions 2 — A Louisiana Wetlands Benefit” among others.

Tickets are available in advance at the First Presbyterian Church office and Rolling River Bistro ($25 adults and $15 students). Tickets will also be available at the door prior to the concert.

Doors open at 2:30 p.m., and the program begins at 3 p.m. A nursery will be provided in the church education building to maintain the appropriate setting for this intimate acoustic concert.

Don’t miss the opportunity to hear one of America’s great musicians. I hope to see you there.


Bazile R. Lanneau Jr. is program coordinator for First Presbyterian Church.