Steel guitar festival set for Saturday

Published 12:03 am Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Down home southern “hillbilly music” will hit the stage at the LBWCC Conference Center this weekend at the annual Lew Childre Mem-orial Steel Guitar Show in Opp.

Perfo-rmances, which will begin at noon, will celebrate the career of one of the most sought-after entertainers from the 1930s to the 1950s – Opp’s own Lew Childre.

Childre was one of the last of the old-time entertains that trained on the stages of old-time medicine and vaudeville shows.

Still, organizers said Childre was much more than a just a singer.

He was known to play the guitar in Hawaiian style; buck dance, an Opp favorite; as well as comedy bits, recite poetry, improv and many other entertaining styles.

Born in Opp in 1901 to a local judge and his wife, Childre began entertaining at a young age.

He made his way through the ranks as a musician and landed himself on the stage of the Grand Old Opry. He also was inducted in the Alabama Music Hall of Fame.

Honoring the late Childre will be Joe Wright, Doug Jernigan, Jimmy Powell, Gordon Dodson, Eugene Hindricks, Lamar Morris, Clyde Bloodworth, John LeMaster, Harlan Burton, Scott Ward and Shane Owens.

The lineup includes many seasoned and veteran steel guitar players from throughout Alabama and the country.

Wright is a noted Hall of Fame steel guitar player and singer and was a member of Charlie Pride’s band for nearly a decade and a half.

Jernigan is an award-winning pedal steel guitar musician, who was inducted in to the Steel Guitar Hall of Fame in the early 1990s.

Powell is known for playing with country music singer and songwriter Ray Price and other hillbilly singers of the time.

Dodson is a steel guitar player and noted music teacher from Ozark.

Hindricks is a steel guitar player who works with the Dyess Family.

Morris teaches guitar lessons in Opp and worked with Hank Williams Jr. as his band leader for more than 20 years.

Bloodworth, who is from Geneva, is a seasoned and accomplished steel guitar player, who focuses on big band and jazz tunes.

LeMaster is a seasoned steel guitarist, who also plays rhythm and bass.

Burton is from Daleville and has produced 12 Southern gospel albums.

Ward and Owens will of the 231 Band will also be in concert.

Doors open at 10 a.m. for a video and tribute by Don Childre.

Tickets are $10 and may be purchased at the Opp Chamber of Commerce or by calling 493-2408.