John Conlee 6-11-2021
First ever appearance of former Widespread Panic lead guitarist George McConnell in Pascagoula. McConnell, a native of Vicksburg who now resides in Oxford was joined by north Mississippi’s Blue Mother Tupelo, who also made their initial appearance at the Grand Mag along with Gulf Coast favorite and pine belt native Cary Hudson.
The artists for the inaugural Grand Magnolia Music Festival are set.
The show, set for Sunday, Dec. 29th at the Grand Magnolia Ballroom in Pascagoula, will feature Will Kimbrough with special guest Molly Thomas, as well as Libby Rae Watson, Cary Hudson and many others.
The multi-talented Kimbrough is making his first headlining appearance in Pascagoula in three years, although he did open for the legendary Rodney Crowell in the first show of the Grand Magnolia Music Fall Series recently. The renowned singer/songwriter/performer, who has written, recorded and toured with the likes of Jimmy Buffett, Little Feat, Crowell, John Prine Todd Snider and Emmylou Harris, just to name a few. is a former Americana Music Association Musician of the Year. Crowell, in fact, is such a big fan of Kimbrough that he asked him to play his birthday party a few years back.
But Pascagoula native Jimmy Buffett may have said it best about Kimbrough, a Mobile native now living and touring out of Nashville.
“Will is a wonderful throwback to the now by-gone era of singer, songwriter, musician and entertainer,” Buffett, who has recorded at least one of Kimbrough’s songs on each of his last five albums, said. “Instead of substituting technology for talent, he has a unique ability to use modern day tools to produce lasting lyrics and melody’s. On stage, he can charm a crowd whether fronting a band, or playing solo. That is why you see his songs on my albums and his face on our stage.”
Kimbrough is considered an honorary member of Buffett’s long-time Coral Reefer Band. He has appeared many times with Buffett over the past decade, including on several different nationally televised events such as the “Live from the Gulf Coast” concert in Gulf Shores in 2010 on Country Music Television as well as the CMT “Crossroads” episode that featured Buffett and the Zac Brown Band the next year. He also joined Buffett and the Coral Reefers on an NBC Today Show appearance two years ago.
Watson, a Pascagoula native, will be making her only appearance in her hometown this year. She is a popular, in demand performer annually on the Mississippi Delta blues festival circuit, and has garnered awards in the annual International Blues Challenge in Memphis as well.
Hudson and Thomas are also South Mississippi natives as well. Hudson tours annually across the country and is also a featured performer in several music festivals throughout the South each year, while Thomas fronts one of the most popular regional bands out of Mobile in Molly Thomas and The Rare Birds.
In addition to being a part of the inaugural Grand Magnolia Music Festival, Kimbrough, Watson and Hudson have one other music festival in common as well…they have all played at The New Orleans Jazz Fest. Kimbrough and Thomas also appeared with Snider some years back on an episode of Late Night With David Letterman.
The Grand Magnolia Music Festival will kick off with a celebration of the 10th annual Mississippi Songwriters Festival, featuring Delta Coast (Darwin and Dana Nelson with Taylor Craven) and Bayou Troubador (Matt Hoggatt and Johnny Mire).
Showtime is 4 p.m., with doors opening at 3:30 p.m. The event is sponsored by The Beau Rivage, Cathead Vodka, Lagniappe Weekly, Scranton’s Restaurant and Catering, The Grand Magnolia Ballroom and Suites and The Mississippi Songwriters Festival.
LEE ROY PARNELL OCTOBER 14, 2019
Will Kimbrough & Mac McAnally at the Keg & Barrell, Hattiesburg, MS
November 12, 2016