Music

THE FABULOUS THUNDERBIRDS FEATURING KIM WILSON AND GRAND FUNK RAILROAD TO HEADLINE 4TH ANNUAL MUSIC CITY FESTIVAL & BBQ CHAMPIONSHIP

August 24-25 at Riverfront Park, Nashville12
Tickets on Sale Now!!

FRIDAY

(May 14, 2012-Nashville, TN)– The 4th Annual Music City Festival & BBQ Championship presented by Cumberland, to be held at Nashville’s Riverfront Park on August 24-25, is pleased to announce that this year’s headliners will be The Fabulous Thunderbirds featuring Kim Wilson (Friday, Aug. 24) and Grand Funk Railroad (Saturday, August 25). This year’s American rock lineup on the Grand Ole’ Porker Stage is only part of all the fun the annual festival offers.
Downtown Nashville will become the backdrop of the annual smokin’ hot BBQ competition with over 100 Professional and Amateur BBQ teams competing for over $25,000 in prizes and cash.

In addition to great food, fans can enjoy the Music City Car Show, a Kids Zone, a Biergarten (beer garden) and the ever popular People’s Choice Contest.

Advance tickets are only $10 for Friday, $15 for Saturday or $20 for a weekend pass. Don’t forget to throw in a “Peoples Choice” option for an extra $5 so you can taste and VOTE for your team favorites. VIP passes to the Smokin’ Hot Arena, where fans can “meat and greet” some of the celebrity entertainers, grab a drink and sample some of the best BBQ in the nation are $75 for Friday, $90 for Saturday or for the best value, pick up both days for $150. To purchase, or for more information, please visit www.musiccitybbqfestival.com.

As always, this is a 501c3 not-for-profit event which will benefit the Wounded Warrior Project,as well as the Shriner’s Children Hospital this year. Over the last three years, the event has provided more than $28,000 to charity.

For over 30 years, The Fabulous Thunderbirds have been the quintessential American band. The group’s distinctive and powerful sound, influenced by a diversity of musical styles,manifested itself into a unique musical hybrid via such barnburners as “Tuff Enuff” and “Wrap It Up.” Co-founder Kim Wilson, the sole original member, still spearheads the group as it evolves into its newest incarnation.

“We started as a straight blues band,” vocalist and harmonica player Wilson says. “We now incorporate a mixture of a lot of different styles. We’re an American music band and we’re much higher energy than we were before.”

In addition to Wilson, the current Thunderbirds line-up features Jay Moeller on drums, Johnny Moeller and Mike Keller on guitar and Randy Bermudes on bass.

“To be in the T-Birds, you need to understand the different styles of music and different ways of playing,” Wilson comments. “You have to be willing to adopt a more contemporary style. The guys we have now are able to do that.”

The band continues to tour extensively, in both the U.S. and Europe. Wilson is currently writing songs on his own, with band members and other writers.

“I’ve primarily been a solo songwriter, but I’m looking forward to experimenting with the guys in the band,” Wilson says.

The thread throughout the T-Birds career has been the respect the group commanded for its peerless musicianship and devotion to the sounds of blues, R & B and rock ‘n roll. In fact, Muddy Waters called Wilson his favorite harmonica player and vocalist. “Muddy Waters was very good to me,” Wilson says. “He almost adopted me. I’ll never forget him.”

For Kim Wilson, the musical journey started in Goleta, California. At 17 he began playing the harmonica. His influences included Little Walter, George “Harmonica” Smith, Lazy Lester and James Cotton. At the same time, Wilson began singing and was deeply impacted by Bobby “Blue” Bland, B.B. King, Otis Rush, Jimmy Rodgers and Muddy Waters. In search of other musicians who shared his love of the blues, Wilson headed to Minneapolis. He stayed there for a year and a half, playing locally, before moving to the burgeoning music scene of Austin, Texas. It was there that he met Jimmie Vaughan and they founded the T-Birds in 1974.

The band developed a reputation as a compelling live act and subsequently signed a record deal with CBS/Epic Records.

In 1979, The Fabulous Thunderbirds released their first self-titled album. Primarily blues influenced, it became a cult classic. “Things were wide open back then,” Wilson recalls. “There were hundreds of stages where bands could show what they had.”

In subsequent releases, the band started to incorporate more Cajun, rock ‘n roll and soul influences. The album T-Bird Rhythm marked a creative turning point for the group as it collaborated with noted producer Nick Lowe. In 1986, The Fabulous Thunderbirds reached a commercial peak with the album, Tuff Enuff. The single of the same title as well as the singles “Wrap It Up” and “Look At That,” all went top 40. The song, “Tuff Enuff” was featured in the film “Gung Ho” starring Michael Keaton.

For the remainder of the ’80s, the band continued to record and tour, and released the album,Powerful Stuff. Jimmie Vaughn left in 1989 but Wilson kept the group going, incorporating keyboards into the guitar-driven sound. Kim moved back to California in 1996, continuing to cultivate the T-Birds music.

“The thing about the T-Birds is that we can play both blues festival and rock venues,” Wilson comments. “We’re a diversified band now and everybody’s on the same page.”

As a side project Wilson formed Kim Wilson’s Blues All-Stars, a traditional blues band. He also owns a blues label, Blue Collar Music, that has released three albums – one by Kim, one by “Big Al” Blake and one by Fred Kaplan. Wilson has also recorded and written with noted session guitarist Danny Kortchmar and drummer Steve Jordan and may tour with them at some point. He’s also playing on upcoming releases from Eric Clapton and Mark Knopfler, and has played with Kid Rock, Raphael Saadiq, Keith Richards, and many others recently. However,his current focus remains The Fabulous Thunderbirds.

“This is a great time for this band,” he says. “We’re looking forward to the future.”

Grand Funk Railroad, the top-selling American rock group of the ‘70s is “Coming to Your Town to Help You Party It Down.” Known as “The American Band,” Grand Funk Railroad includes original founding members Don Brewer (vocals and drums, writer and singer of the multi-million selling hit, “We’re An American Band”) and bassist Mel Schacher, “The God of Thunder.” Joining Don and Mel are true “All Stars.” Singer Max Carl (who Don calls “the best blue-eyed soul singer on the planet”) is a rock veteran from 38 Special. Max penned and sang 38’s biggest hit “Second Chance” and was co-founder of California’s legendary Jack Mack and the Heart Attack. Lead guitarist Bruce Kulick is best known for his 12 years with KISS and also has credits with Michael Bolton, Meatloaf and Billy Squier. (KISS members Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley were influenced early on by Grand Funk.) Keyboardist Tim Cashion has a master’s degree in music from the University of Miami. Affectionately called “Dr. Tim,” his credits include stints with Bob Seger’s Silver Bullet Band and English soul man Robert Palmer.

Grand Funk laid the groundwork for such bands as m with its signature hard driving sound, soulful vocals, muscular instrumentation and forceful pop melodies. The fact that Grand Funk’s legacy still reigns over the Classic Rock landscape more than thirty-five years after its 1969 birth in Flint, Michigan is a testament to the group’s influence and staying power. Mega-hits “We’re An American Band,” “I’m Your Captain/Closer to Home,” “Locomotion” and “Some Kind Of Wonderful” still receive continuous airplay on Classic Rock radio.

Internationally acclaimed Grand Funk has toured the world, selling out in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Japan and South America. A 1971 performance at New York’s Shea Stadium sold out faster than the Beatles. The group’s widespread appeal is also evident in its prestigious recording achievements. Over their career, Grand Funk has had 19 charted singles, 8 Top-40 hits and two Number One singles (“We’re An American Band” and “Locomotion,” both selling
more than one million each). The group has 13 gold and 10 platinum records with record sales in excess of 25 million copies sold worldwide.

This year’s Music City Festival and BBQ Championship is presented by Cumberland, and sponsored in part by the Tennessean, Durham and Dread, Miller Lite, Skyscraper Media, Wireless Solutions Incorporated, Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau and Gabe’s Electronics. For more information on the Festival and Swine Ball, please visit:
www.musiccitybbqfestival.com.

About Music City Festival & BBQ Championship:
Established in 2008, the Music City Festival & BBQ Championship is held annually in downtown Nashville. Along
with entertainment featuring headlining artists, the Music City Festival & BBQ Championship is also one of the few
BBQ competitions in the United States sanctioned by both the Memphis BBQ Network and the Kansas City BBQ Society and therefore, has the biggest footprint of any current festival in Riverfront Park. Each and every year, the committee selects one or two charities of choice and supports them with a portion of proceeds from each festival.So far, the Music City Festival & BBQ Championship has donated over $28,000 to these selected charities.

About Cumberland:
THE JOURNEY STARTS HERE–At Cumberland, their intention is to provide you with the highest level of new, used,
leasing, daily rentals, parts, service and financing available anywhere. Find medium, heavy duty, and severe duty
commercial trucks, and tractor trailer sales featuring quality International trucks. For more information, please visit

www.cumberlandtrucks.com or call (615)256-4633.

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For further information on Music City Festival & BBQ Competition or for media credentials, please contact:
Shelly Mullins / shelly@websterpr.com / 615-777-6995 x235

For further information on The Fabulous Thunderbirds or Grand Funk Railroad, contact:
Anne Leighton / leightonmedia@aol.com / 718-881-8183