by Robert Bell
Arkansas State University, already home to the Johnny Cash Music Festival, is adding another musical shindig to its calendar for March 2, with the Rockabilly Boogiefest at ASU Museum. According to an ASU press release, the concert will "benefit a future exhibit focusing on the history and heritage of Rockabilly in the region."
The lineup includes The Stunning Cunning Band, Stan Perkins, Sonny Burgess and the Legendary Pacers and Narvel Felts.
Perkins' name might sound familiar on account of his father, the renowned Sun Records artist and rockabilly titan Carl Perkins. Keiser native Felts had a successful country career in the '70s but got started playing rockabilly in the late '50s, issuing several singles on Mercury Records.
Burgess, of course, is renowned for a string of classic rockabilly singles, including the smokin' "Red Headed Woman" on Sun Records. The Stunning Cunning Band is a Memphis-based revivalist group that impressed Burgess enough that he booked the band at the Arkansas Delta Rockabilly Festival in Helena.
As is fitting, a proclamation from Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin was read to declare March 1—3, 2013 Rockabilly Boogiefest Weekend in the city.
The full press release is after the jump.
JONESBORO — Arkansas State University Museum will host “Rockabilly Boogiefest,” a concert to benefit a future exhibit focusing on the history and heritage of Rockabilly in the region. ASU representatives, Museum personnel, members of the Museum’s Advisory Council and Rockabilly Committee, and others joined with KASU’s Michael Doyle and a representative from Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin’s office to make the announcement.
The event will be held on Saturday, March 2, 2013 at the ASU Armory, 1921 Aggie Road in Jonesboro. A proclamation from Mayor Harold Perrin was read to declare March 1—3, 2013 Rockabilly Boogiefest Weekend in Jonesboro, in support of the activity. Tickets go on sale Friday, Dec. 7, and are available through the ASU Central Box Office on-line at http://www.astate.edu/tickets/ or by calling (870) 972-2781.
The ASU Museum’s Rockabilly Boogiefest line-up will include The Stunning Cunning Band, Stan Perkins, Sonny Burgess and the Legendary Pacers, and Narvel Felts—all acclaimed regional names.
Sonny Burgess and Narvel Felts hail from the original Rockabilly era (mid 1950s) and have been in continual performance up to the present day—both regionally and abroad. Stan Perkins, who started out backing his father, Rockabilly legend Carl Perkins (“Blue Suede Shoes”), grew to become an artist in his own right. The Stunning Cunning Band represents a second generation of Rockabilly musicians dedicated to perpetuating this unique style of music.
Rockabilly got its start at the intersection of rhythm & blues (R&B) and country in the Memphis-West Memphis area, where it was first widely broadcast on radio by Sun Studios and KWEM. The popular style was short-lived with the general public, but still continued to thrive as a musical genre.
New Rockabilly music was being produced in studios in Northeast Arkansas, notably in Jonesboro on the Alley Records label owned by Joe Lee. Today, Rockabilly enjoys a resurgence through live performances and new “Rockabilly style” productions.
“The purpose of this event is to preserve, promote, and celebrate the rich Rockabilly heritage of Northeast Arkansas,” said Dr. Marti L. Allen, ASU Museum director. “The concert will be a benefit to raise money for development and production of a new and permanent museum exhibition on the subject of Rockabilly in Northeast Arkansas.”
Sponsorships are available for the ASU Museum’s Rockabilly Boogiefest. Current sponsors include KASU and Suddenlink. For more information contact Marti Allen or Valerie Ponder at the ASU Museum, (870) 972‑2074.