Bill Pinkney’s Original Drifters legacy group still reflects the entire Legendary Drifters presence in the music industry, weaving a blend of nostalgic magic and on-stage excitement with a 21stcentury twist. Music’s Drifters represent more than the story of a single group’s success. Changes in personnel and management have led over the years to the sprouting of many Drifters permutations, but 1953 original Bill Pinkney has used the name continuously since the 1950s, and his legacy continues. Clyde McPhatter (Mount Lebanon Gospel Singers), Bill Pinkney (The Southern Knights), and Gerhart and Andrew Thrasher (The Thrasher Wonders) met while singing in gospel groups. When Atlantic Records rejected McPhatter’s trial group, these four men joined forces, signed individually with the company, and established in 1953 the foundation upon which a music legacy was subsequently built. Thirty-five years later in 1988, originals McPhatter, Pinkney, Gerhart Thrasher and four later Drifters, Johnny Moore, Ben E. King, Charlie Thomas, and Rudy Lewis, were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They continue the great legacy of Ambassador Bill Pinkney with dignity, pride, and respect.
Many consider Marty Haggard’s dad, Merle Haggard, as the greatest singer/songwriter ever. Growing up, Marty was able to travel with his dad and witness the writing and recording of all his great songs. He also had the opportunity to know many of the country greats like Bob Wills, Lefty Frizzell and Johnny Cash, just to name a few. In 1979, Marty began touring with his own band, signing with Dimension Records in 1981. From 1983 to 1985, Marty toured with his dad, playing guitar and singing harmony. Marty signed with MTM Records in 1986 and released Trains Make Me Lonesome, which garnered a nomination as best new male vocalist. Marty’s love for his dad and his music eventually inspired him to begin a new project, which he titled A Tribute to Merle Haggard “My Dad.” In 2010, he recorded the first album of this project with a 15 song CD of Haggard classics. In 2011, Marty released A Tribute to Merle Haggard “My Dad” Volume 2. He then took the show on the road throughout the country plus Canada, Ireland, Scotland and England. As Marty’s song Apple proclaims, “the apple never falls too far from its tree.”
The Remnants of Rock is composed of original band members that started out together in 1968, with the addition of the current keyboard player. The Remnants deliver a Branson-style show featuring “the best music from Rock’s golden era 1959-1969 including classic songs by the Animals, Beach Boys, Beatles, Righteous Brothers, Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, Four Tops, Temptations and the Memphis and Motown sound. The group covers only Billboard’s Top 40 hits, and the majority of the songs are #1 hit records from the era. The band’s goal is to successfully recreate the music of the 1960s as authentically as possible.
Andre Lindsey, also known by his stage name BACKDRAFT, has performed with many artists including Carl Thomas, Gerald Levert, Dave Hollister, Montell Jordan, Fred Hammond, and Keith Urban just to name a few. His song writing ability and stage presence has been hailed as energetic and on fire by most reviewers and critics. Being a native of Magnolia, Arkansas, Backdraft is no stranger to the southern hospitality that is offered in the state.
His singing career, like most artists, started in the church. It was there that he learned to play drums and bass guitar. Backdraft recorded three gospel CD’s before continuing to write songs and perform in the secular world. “My love of music period is why I sing everything that makes me feel good, especially old school music.”
Backdraft is definitely no rookie to the stage nor to the crowd. His performances always seem to end in an energetic pleasing of the palates of music lovers everywhere.
The Jimmy Dunham Family is a family that loves playing Gospel music and have been playing for over 40 years. Jimmy, his daughter Brenda and Brenda’s son David have an interesting blend of Southern Gospel to what some may say is “Rocking Gospel.” The family has traveled all over Arkansas and the surrounding states performing at churches, family reunions, and just about anywhere they are invited to play. One of the highlights each year is when the family gets to take part in the Annual Depot Days festival in their hometown of Newport.
From Minneapolis to New Orleans, Chicago to Atlanta, The Bouffants have thrilled audiences with classic songs from groups like The Jackson Five, Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner and Sly & the Family Stone. But the dancing doesn’t stop there! You’ll hear the classic hits from Motown and Stax to rock and roll and current favorites. Far more than just an awesome band, The Bouffants turn any event into an instant party. Showy costumes, slick choreography and a dance beat that will have you grooving.
The members of Nightwing have been playing around northeast Arkansas for decades. Each one is an accomplished musician in their own right, and they have reunited to become a powerhouse group that plays a wide range of favorite rock hits from the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s. Nightwing comes to Depot Days fresh off a command performance at the historic Collins Theater in downtown Paragould.
Singer-songwriter Jim Ranger was born in Newport, Arkansas and now resides in Bakersfield, California. Raised on Muscle Shoals, country, and southern gospel music, he can’t help but have a foundation of Americana music in everything that he sings. Jim dedicates his life to helping bring people to a place where they feel all the feels, they think about life in a simplistic and beautiful way, all the while, making their foot tap a little.
Assembly Worship is a contemporary Christian Worship Band that serves at The Assembly Church in Tuckerman, Arkansas. The group is made up of Malachi Gates, Jaxson Gates, Cole Gates, Braylee Smith, Ami Driver and Devin Soles.
Assembly Worship recently competed in a national competition in Orlando, Florida. While there, they won a small worship group with a perfect score against 35 other teams in their division. Assembly Worship has played at other venues and continues to accept invitations to help spread the word of God through their music ministry.
Foot stompin’, hip-shakin’, hard shufflin’, groove-driven blues, roots, and Americana music. Fonky Donkey music combines traditional Delta, Hill Country, and Chicago Blues with the influences of Bob Dylan and beyond, all while emphasizing some original Swamp Donkey and Gil Franklin songs. Fonky Donkey is three members of the Arkansas Blues Hall of Fame: BEN “SWAMP DONKEY” BRENNER (National Resonator Guitar, slide & lead guitar, harp, vocals), GIL FRANKLIN (lead & slide guitar, vocals), and LANCE “BUG TUSSLE SLIM” WOMACK (drums, Cajon, percussion, vocals), plus LYNN FITZGERALD (bass and flip-fone).