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Home Show Reviews James Burton International Guitar Festival - A Personal Perspective

James Burton International Guitar Festival - A Personal Perspective PDF Print E-mail

By Vilma Kinney

As you read this, you will see that I am no good at writing reviews at all, but here goes!

The Guitar Festival weekend kicked off at 7pm on Thursday 21st with a Birthday Bash for James, held at Maggie's Hangar (better known as the James Burton Rock 'n' Roll Cafe, but re-named for the film, "The Guardian"). The evening began with Johnny Earthquake and The Moondogs. James arrived and addressed the audience and mingled for a while before opening a few presents that had been given to him and cutting his birthday cake.

James at Maggie's Hangar

James then took to the stage with Johnny Earthquake and The Moondogs and Phil Chen. This was a great show and James was so relaxed and enjoyinhg himself. At the end of the evening there was a special presentation to James. Unfortunately I don't know what this was as we were by then, half way through the door taking Louise's mum home.

Friday the 22nd August saw the opening of The Trade Show which ran for three days. Johnny Rock took to the stage to introduce James, who warmly welcomed and thanked everyone for coming. Jeff Berlin played The National Anthem. If you have never heard bass guitar played as lead, you must hear this guy - he is amazing!! The Mayors of both Shreveport and Bossier City also made a speech and later took part in a Guitar Hero battle. I don't know who won though!

During the three days of The Trade Show, various demonstrations took to the stage along with The Show and Shine talent show for children. There were numerous stands furnished by various guitar companies and even a recording booth where you could actually record your own song for $10. James was also there with his ever popular autograph sessions.

James, Johnny Rock & Hipshot

Friday evening also saw The Party In The District. I truly didn't think that this would go ahead as the Heavens opened along with the worst thunderstorms and wind I have ever experienced . As it was an outside event, every one was rushing round trying to cover the amps and electrical equipment. The stage was soaked. The rain had no sooner stopped when it came back at us from the other direction. Finally it did stop and after every thing was dried off, the show began about an hour after the original time it should have started. We were treated to The Keith Horton Project, BB Secrist and His Rock 'n' Roll 88's, The Nomads Rock and Roll Show, Dirtfoot, Hipshot Country and The Great Log Jam hosted by Wicked Tickle with Johnny Rock as emcee.The show was a great mix of Country and Rock 'n' Roll and we thoroughly enjoyed it. BB Secrist put on an amazing Jerry Lee Lewis 'themed' show and the lighting effects were stunning. He played on a bright red piano with smoke billowing from it to give the impression that it was on fire.

Saturday the 23rd August was The Celebrity Bike Ride. I have to admit here to missing this event as I thought it was happening on the Sunday. When we did get to The Conference Centre, we didn't realise that the Cavalcade hadn't actually arrived back, so we went inside  missing them arriving at the end of the ride. That'll teach me to listen properly in future!! From the comments I heard and the pictures I saw, it was another great event. However we did get to see some amazing bikes. Just a shame we missed the event itself. Image

It was time to head for The Municipal Auditorium in the evening for the big one. The James Burton And Friends Concert.  What an incredible show this was. So many artists giving their time to James and the children. I cannot go in to individual artists and what song they sang or played, frankly, I cannot remember. How wonderful it was to see and hear James play 'Suzie Q'' with Dale Hawkins. I have heard James perform this many times but it was amazing to see it happen with Dale. Another highlight was Emmylou Harris. To see and hear her with James is something else. It was also wonderful to see Doyle Dykes again, who has supported James on each of his three shows.  We also caught up again with Billy Swan who we saw in the UK a year ago when he was over with James. James and Eddie Anders gave a great live version of 'God Loves You'  and the Burton family also did a number. It was so good to see three generations playing together.

James with Dale Hawkins

Everybody gave an outstanding performance. What with Jeff Berlin playing bass like lead and Phil Chen, again on bass dancing round like a true 'rock star' I feel bad that I am not giving everyone their fair review! Again another show of mixed styles here and most things being covered.

An amazing version of Sweet Home Chicago was given by John Goodman who was emcee for the show and he brought the house down. He also led the finale of Johnny B Goode which was a fabulous jam session with everybody joining in. It was a real shame it had to end. Every one was having such a great time.

Sunday 24th August saw us back at The Trade Show for a final look around. James did another autograph session then it was back to The Municipal Auditorium for the Guitars And Glory Show. This was something new to us as they don't have any thing like this in the UK. Basically it was choirs from local churches each performimg some songs. They are not choirs as we know them in the UK. They are groups of about four or five people singing and playing instruments in praise of The Lord, not the big choirs that we are used to. Lenny Le Blanc and Mark Farmer also gave us a performance and again James along with Eddie Anders performed 'God Loves You' (from James' CD of the same name). Eddie also explained how he came to write the song, which was very moving. Again another great show and, as I said before, very different for us. We enjoyed it very much. Image

Basically this wraps up my review of The James Burton Guitar Festival 2008. I hope that you have found it interesting and that I have not bored you.

Some people attended all of this spectacular event and some only part of it but I am certain of one thing - those that did attend it, really enjoyed it.

God Bless you James for putting on these shows and doing what you do for the kids. We love you.

Source:Vilma Kinney/



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