Photos by Susan Roche
by Jack Diablo
Looks like it’s time for another road trip! This year marks the 13th Annual Gram Parsons Guitar Pull in Waycross, GA, a three day event, September 16-18, celebrating the life and music of the original cosmic cowboy himself. The festival will once again be held at the Okefenokee Fair Grounds and features an impressive list of returning favorites and new headliners. Included in the lineup this year are several renowned performers who shared personal and professional connections with Parsons. Walter Egan hosted the first meeting between Gram and a young, rising female singer known as Emmy Lou Harris. This will be Egan’s third Guitar Pull, this time joined by his backing band, the Grampyres. Also returning this year is Ian Dunlop of Cornwall, England, the bass player in Parson’s first group, the International Submarine Band. Also sharing a connection to Parson via Emmy Lou Harris is one of her former backup singers, Fayssoux Starling out of South Carolina. Other notable performers include alt-country troubadour, Jim White and the hardworking Grayson Capps.
While the Waycross Guitar Pull is not the only festival to pay tribute to the man credited with fusing country and rock music, it is the one most closely associated with his roots. Parsons was born in Waycorss and as festival organizer Dave Griffin explains, it is where not only the man, but the legend was born. “This is where he spent the first twelve formative years of his life. This is where he heard the Louvin Brothers. This is where he heard Elvis Presley. Basically, it was his stomping ground.”
This year’s festival takes place September 16-18 at the Okefenokee Fair Grounds. For a complete schedule and more information, visit www.gramparsonsguitarpull.com.