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Classic country show added to Winter Festival line up

Classic country show added to Winter Festival line up
LJ Tyson performs with help from the Country North Band during the 2017 Prince Albert Winter Festival. The festival has added a new Classic Country Show to this year’s list of events. -- Herald file photo.

Jessica Gies

Special to the Herald

A new show at this year’s Winter Festival is sure to draw a crowd that likes a little twang in their tunes.

The Prince Albert Winter Festival Classic Country Show, set for Feb. 26, will see local musicians cover legends like Alan Jackson, Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash.

“We’re definitely targeting a certain audience for this show,” said Dennis Adams, band leader of the event.

“It’s all about the real classic country songs that are from the past,” he added.

The show targets those who appreciate the traditional country sounds of steel guitar and fiddle. Adams said the classics were known for telling a story.

About a dozen acts are being booked for the program, held at the exhibition centre. Some will be returning talent to the Winter Festival, while fresh faces to the annual event may make an appearance.

Singers at the show will be dressed in country costume attire to add extra flavor to their performances, reminiscent of the Grand Ole Opry.

Along with their entertaining vocals, performers will tell the stories behind the songs and original artists who have become a cherished part of country music history.

A six-piece band will accompany the talent, including local bass guitar player Mick Gratias. He anticipates a good show, especially as the festival resumes live, having been held virtually last year.

“I’m really excited. I really am,” Gratias said, adding that the immediate feedback of an audience is rewarding. “It gives you a good boost of energy.”

Gratias, who has played in the Winter Festival previous years, described his great love for the many classic country artists to be featured in the program.

“I like them all,” he said, calling the legends of the genre “trail blazers” and “innovators of the country music of their time.”
Adams family carries on Winter Festival tradition

Amanda Adams, daughter of Dennis Adams, will be producing her first Winter Festival event this year with the classic country show.
Following in the footsteps of her father Dennis and grandfather Claude Adams, Amanda is the third generation of her family to take a leadership role with the city’s annual event.

“I’ve always helped my dad for many years,” she said, adding that growing up through the 80s and 90s, she attended every Country North and Voices of the North show with her family.

Her grandfather, who passed away several years ago, was known in the Winter Festival community for his fiddling talent, she said.
As a young girl, Amanda dreamed of performing on the stage with her family. However, she began to realize music ability wasn’t her strength. Instead, the local school teacher will use her behind-the-scenes skills to ensure the show runs smoothly.

“I love planning and I love being a part of things production-wise,” she said.

It was her idea to pursue her role as show producer this year, with her father backing her up.

“It’s something that I’ve always wanted to do,” she said, adding how she is passionate about showcasing the musical talent of Prince Albert.

Amanda has at times wondered if she may have been born in the wrong generation when it comes to her musical taste.

“I really do love and appreciate kind of the older country music,” she said. Among her favourite artists are legends like Dolly Parton and Conway Twitty.

The tradition of Adams family Winter Festival involvement continues with Amanda’s son, Lucas Adams, 12, who has been tagging along with his mother. The young Adams is developing his own flare for singing and playing guitar, according to Amanda.

The Prince Albert Winter Festival Classic Country Show begins at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 26 at the Prince Albert Exhibition centre. Admission is $20 for plus a Winter Festival button and proof of vaccination.