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2011 Gram Parsons Guitar Pull September 23-25

Posted: Sep 15, 2011

2011 Gram Parsons Guitar Pull

On September 23-25, the 2011 Gram Parsons Guitar Pull will take place at the Okefenokee Fairgrounds in Waycross, Georgia. The official site explains the festival as: "A laid-back 3-day music festival celebrating the legacy of hometown boy, Gram Parsons, musical pioneer and visionary".

Over the years artists such as Walter Egan, Bernie Leadon, Kevn Kinney, Sneaky Pete and Burrito Deluxe, The Capricorn Rhythm Section with Jimmy Hall, Jim Lauderdale, Phil Kaufman, Ian Dunlop, Meridian, Leon Russell, Charlie Louvin, Randall Bramblett, Tommy Talton, Grayson Capps, Bloodkin and Jim White have performed at the GP Guitar Pull.

Various artists on the 2011 line-up include Jay Farrar, Elizabeth Cook, Rodney Dillard and The Dillard Band, Uncle Dave and The Younguns, Honey Blue, Abby Owens, Devils In Disguise, The Bearfoot Hookers and others.

The Festival was started by Dave Griffin in 1998. I interviewed Dave today about The Gram Parsons Guitar Pull...

James Calemine: You're a Waycross native, and obviously a big fan of Gram Parsons. Talk about how you started this Guitar Pull.

Dave Griffin: Its earliest form started back in 1998. Basically, it was a knee-jerk reaction for me because every time I went out on the town I would run into a local musician I hadn't seen in a while and we would always say, 'Let's get together and pick sometime.' I got home that night and realized how shallow that statement was because we'd never get together and pick. I talked it over with my wife and said, 'Why don't we put something together around Thanksgiving and force people to get together and pick.'

That was the very first one and I called it The Griffin Guitar Pull. The second year is when I got involved with Billy Ray Herrin and then we called it The Griffin-Herrin Guitar Pull. The third year is when we had the idea to pay tribute to Gram, and ever since then it's been called The Gram Parsons Guitar Pull.

JC: You've had some great performers over the years. Talk about the 2011 line-up.

DG: This year the headliners are Jay Farrar--originally from Uncle Tupelo and now Son Volt. The second is Elizabeth Cook who is from Blackshear, Georgia, and she's Nashville's independent darling of the credible country music scene. She's great. She's got an XM show on Sirius every day. The third headliner is Rodney Dillard and The Dillard Band. They're a folk-bluegrass band from California. They were in the same movement Gram was as far as turning young people on to traditional country music or electrified country music. They were known as The Darling Family on the old black & white Andy Griffith Show. Rodney Dillard was Rodney Darling on the Andy Griffith episodes. Those were some of the best episodes they ever made when the Darlings showed up to play.

There's about 30 other supporting acts that are, in my opinion, the heart and soul of the festival. They are all headliners in their own right. These are the people who make their way here every year just to be able to play in Gram's hometown in honor of him. They are the backbone of the festival.

JC: We all know Gram couldn't wait to get out of Waycross, but do you think the locals have warmed up to his music over the years?

DG: It's still a struggle to educate locals about Gram Parsons. We went public with this in 2002. So, it's almost been a decade with a lot of press coverage. There's still people around here that you could walk up to on the street and ask them who Gram Parsons was and they couldn't tell you. So, it's been an uphill climb as far as the locals go. We get a lot of attendence from out of town folks. So, we're looking to change that...

James Calemine


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