GramFest, the annual concert tribute to the life and music of country rocker Gram Parsons, joins the “Free Fridays” concert lineup Friday, Oct. 13 from 8-10 p.m. at the Bo Diddley Plaza. Parsons was an American singer, songwriter, guitarist and pianist, and is considered to be the father of the country-rock music genre. He was a member of The International Submarine Band, The Byrds and The Flying Burrito Brothers. Parsons is also known for teaming up with country star Emmylou Harris on recordings and duets, as well as performing as a solo artist. In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked him no. 87 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. During his short life, Parsons was considered a cult figure whose songwriting and musical style influenced many groups of his era including such notables as The Rolling Stones. According to longtime GramFest organizer Mick Marino, “Gram was the first artist to blend real country music with rock and roll and rhythm and blues. He was a real innovator.” Parsons died in 1973 of a drug overdose at the age of 26.
This year’s GramFest features a diverse selection of musicians performing in four bands. They include:
- Lis Williamson (guitar/vocals) and Lon Williamson (bass/vocals) with special guest Tuck Tucker on dobro
- Jason Hedges (guitar/vocals) and Sarah Darden (vocals)
- Ned Stewart and the Dim Lights with Karan Newman (mandolin), Chuck Spitzner (bass) and Ned Stewart (guitar/vocals)
- Mick Marino All-stars with Mark Miale (guitar/mandolin/vocals), Curt McKenzie (guitar/vocals), Richard Bassil (bass) and Mick Marino (guitar/vocals)