HJ/EDHerald Journal, Jan. 2, 2006

Lynyrd Skynyrd part of this year's Winstock lineup

By Ryan Gueningsman
Staff Writer

Several new faces, along with other Winstock favorites, are highlighting the “burning up the stage” lineup organizers have in the works for the annual country music festival that is set to take place in Winsted Friday and Saturday, June 9 and 10.

Highlighting the two-day festival is the legendary southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd, which will close the festival Saturday night.

This is an important year for the 30-plus-year-old band, as it will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in March.

Lynyrd Skynyrd began its career in 1973 with the release of the cleverly titled album “pronounced leh-nerd skin-nerd.”

With more than 25 million albums sold to date, the band has become an American staple and a permanent fixture in rock and roll history.

In 2003, the band celebrated its 30th anniversary with the release of the album, “Vicious Cycle,” which was augmented by a successful tour and the release of the DVD “Lynyrd Skynyrd Lyve: The Vicious Cycle Tour.”

One of the hardest-working groups in music today, Lynyrd Skynyrd performs hundreds of shows each year.

Three original band members remain, but the current lineup makes the hits from the past, like “Sweet Home Alabama,” “Gimmie Three Steps,” “Freebird,” and “Saturday Night Special,” sound as good as ever.

Co-headlining Winstock 2006 Friday night will be the hitmaking band Lonestar, which made its debut at Winstock three years ago, in 2002.

The band, which features native Texans Richie McDonald on lead vocals, guitarist Michael Britt, singer and keyboardist Dean Sams, and drummer Keech Rainwater, has had a constant presence on the country music charts for more than the past 10 years.

Since its last Winstock appearance, Lonestar had the honor of having the most played country song of 2003 with its hit “My Front Porch Lookin’ In,” and has also had the hits “Let Them Be Little,” “You’re Like Coming Home,” and “Mr. Mom.”

Take those hits, and add their standard tunes like “Amazed,” “I’m Already There,” “Tequila Talkin,’” and “What About Now,” into the combination, and Winstock fans are sure to be in for another stellar performance from this top-of-the-line country band.

Keeping a southern theme in-tact for Winstock 2006, “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” performer Charlie Daniels is returning to the Winstock stage Saturday.

Daniels, who performed at Winstock back in 1996, has been continuously performing his hits to thousands of fans each year, as well as finding time to make new recordings and keep his music going strong as ever.

An “Essential Super Hits” album from the Charlie Daniels Band featured all the standard hits, including “The South’s Gonna Do It Again,” “Still In Saigon,” “Long Haired Country Boy,” and “The Legend of Wolley Swamp.”

In 2005, Daniels released a gospel album, titled “Songs From the Longleaf Pines.”

Daniels was informed in early December of a Grammy nomination for the category of best country instrumental performance for his song “I’ll Fly Away,” off his latest album.

“I’m very pleased, surprised, and thankful,” Daniels said upon learning about the nomination.

Appearning for the first time on the Winstock stage will be Roy Clark, who is probably best known for his role as the host of the television series Hee Haw. He also had a recurring role in the television hit The Beverly Hillbillies as Cousin Roy.

Clark also made his way up the country music charts with “Come Live With Me,” “When I Was Young,” and “Thank God and Greyhound You’re Gone.”

He has been named entertainer of the year by both the Academy of Country Music and the Country Music Association, and continues to perform and record on a regular basis, including his latest gospel offering “Peace in the Valley.”

Returning to the Winstock stage after experiencing some ups and downs since his debut Winstock performance in 2002, Blake Shelton is looking forward to making more hits and hitting the road this summer.

His latest album, “Blake Shelton’s Barn and Grill,” offers the country favorite “Some Beach,” as well as “Nobody But Me,” and “Goodbye Time,” all of which continue to receive country airplay. His self-titled debut album, released in 2001, also produced the hits “Austin,” and “Ol’ Red.”

Also hitting the stage Winstock weekend will be Terri Clark, who has also had many hits over the years, including “When Boy Meets Girl,” If I Were You,” “Emotional Girl,” “No Fear,” “I Just Wanna Be Mad,” and, most recently, “Girls Lie Too,” and “She Didn’t Have Time.”

Clark also released a greatest hits album in 2004, and married her long-time road manager Greg Kaczor. She appeared at Winstock in 2001.

The always-entertaining Phil Vassar makes a return to the Winstock stage Friday. Vassar, who is considered country music’s piano man, recently had a hit with “Good Ole Days,” and is promoting his album “Shaken Not Stirred.”

Some of his other hits include “Carlene,” “Six Pack Summer,” “Rose Bouquet,” “American Child,” and “Just Another Day in Paradise.”

Climbing the charts for the second time is the band Little Big Town, which will appear at Winstock Saturday.

The band’s hit “Boondocks,” has been a relief for a group that has been through a lot in the past few years. From divorce to death to lost record deals, the four members of Little Big Town – Kimberly Roads, Karen Fairchild, Jimi Westbrook, and Phillip Sweet – are finding a well-deserved break after many nights on the road to get to this point.

The band had a hit with “Don’t Waste My Time,” in 2002, but was dropped from its record label following the release of their debut album.

In their personal lives, Westbrook’s father died, Sweet and Fairchild both divorced, and Roads’ husband, Steven, died unexpectedly of a heart attack.

The group did not disband, but Westbrook, Sweet, and Fairchild all returned to day jobs. Their second album was released in October 2005, and they are climbing the charts once again.

More artists are still expected to be announced to perform at Winstock. Watch online at www.winstockfestival.com for new artist information, how to purchase tickets, and other information about the festival.

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