Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, May 31, 1999

Last Winstock of the century this weekend

By Ryan Gueningsman

The sixth annual Winstock Country Music Festival will take place this weekend, Friday and Saturday, June 11 and 12.

For those of you who may be new to town, Winstock is a music festival put on entirely by over 800 volunteers. It benefits the children of Holy Trinity Schools.

In the past, headliners have included Sammy Kershaw, Pam Tillis, Charlie Daniels, and Neal McCoy. This year's headliners include John Michael Montgomery, Deana Carter, Tracy Byrd, and BlackHawk.

This week's profiles are of the Wayne Renn Band, Deana Carter, and John Michael Montgomery.

John Michael Montgomery

Saturday 10:30 p.m.

John Michael Montgomery grew up knowing that he wanted to be in the music business.

From performing in his parents' band, to playing a guitar, to just listening to the radio, music has played an important role in his life.

Several years later, John Michael was performing at Lexington's Austin City Saloon and was discovered by an Atlantic Record executive.

Later that year, he signed a recording contract and his first album, Life's A Dance, came out. Between this album and his next three, Kickin' lt Up, John Michael Montgomery, and What l Do the Best, John Michael has sold over 13 million albums.

With this many hit songs and albums, a greatest hits album was called for.

"My first goal was to get myself established and find the right songs and to get all my ducks in a row," says John Michael.

Those ducks soon dropped in line and John Michael was on his way.

His sixth album, Leave A Mark, was released last year and is a personal favorite for John Michael.

"I'm really proud of this album," he says. "It has a lot of unique songs on it. But it's even more special because of the fact that I was so much more involved. It's my introduction to the world as a co-producer. There's more of me in it so this album means more to me."

His next and current album, Home To You, was released on May 25th and is in stores now. It includes the hit song "Hello L.O.V.E.," as well as many more new hit songs from John Michael Montgomery.

Deana Carter

Saturday 8:45 p.m.

Deana Carter was born in Nashville, Tenn. and was raised almost entirely on music.

Her father is legendary guitarist Fred Carter, Jr. He was a studio musician who played on close to 90 percent of the albums from the mid-'60s and '70s. Fred even played with Elvis Presley and Roy Orbison.

In spite of Deana's musical connections, she had a rather hard time breaking in to the music scene.

Her first break came when Willie Nelson heard her demo tape. He was so impressed that he invited her to perform at his annual Farm Aid VII. She was the only female soloist.

The same demo tape that had wooed Nelson eventually made its way into the hands of executives at Capitol Records Nashville. Later that year, she was signed to a recording deal, and her first album, Did I Shave My Legs For This, came out.

"After we made the first record, I thought, 'Man, I hope people get this,"' Deana remembers. "But really, I spilled my heart into that record trying to be as honest as I could. I guess I wasn't sure how people would respond to it. Then I thought to myself, 'If you have to be something you're not, then why do it at all?"'

People did "get this," and very quickly, Deana had her first number one hit, "Strawberry Wine."

That led to many awards and nominations. She won the CMA's Single of the Year and was named CMT's video artist of the year in 1997.

She was also nominated for two Grammys, and the ACM's Top Female Vocalist.

Her second and current album, Everything's Gonna Be Alright, came out late last year and has already produced several hits including "Absence of the Heart" and "Angels Working Overtime."

As her second album continues to produce more hits, we await Deana's appearance at Winstock '99.

Wayne Renn Band

Saturday 1:45 p.m.

The Wayne Renn band has been performing across the midwest for many years.

After one of its songs, "Maniac," reached number three on the independent charts in 1996, the Wayne Renn Band has become a band in demand around the area.

"I am happy where we are today," said Renn in a recent interview. " I feel that there is more opportunity for us as an independent band. It is not a major goal of ours at this time to be signed in Nashville."

The Wayne Renn Band currently has a third album on the way.

"We are working on our third album. It may be titled My Home Town, but we aren't sure yet."

Wayne records both at his home and in Nashville. He said that the Wayne Renn Band is "strictly country."

Wayne sites Charlie Daniels as his major musical influence. "We opened for Charlie Daniels at Country Fest for the first time. He said, "He is probably one of our major influences, and to open for him was a great thrill."

The Wayne Renn Band is Dale Daniels on drums; Tony Schumacher on bass; Bob York on piano; Wayne's brother, Dirty Ernie Renn, on steel guitar; and Wayne Renn on fiddle, guitar, and vocals.

Other notes

­ The meeting for all volunteers will take place Wednesday, June 9. Meet at the Winstock site at 7 p.m

­ In a recent interview with John Conlee, John wishes for the people to come in great, vast numbers, and be prepared to have fun, and to listen to a bunch of classic country music, some going as far back as 21 years.

John also asked me several questions about the town and Winstock. He said he really is looking forward to coming here.

John will perform at Winstock Saturday at 3:30 p.m.

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