Good Fortune graces Day 2 of the Fortune-Williams Music Festival in Staunton

Adrienne Young, Marty Stuart also take stage

By Lauren Fulbright/staff
lfulbright@newsleader.com

September 30, 2007

STAUNTON Loud applause broke out as Jimmy Fortune, wearing a crisp white shirt, black vest and blue jeans, took to the stage.

"It's good to be home in Staunton, Virginia," Fortune announced, and the band broke into the opening notes of "What Money Can't Buy."

"When the curtain goes up and I'm in my home town ..." Fortune crooned to the enthusiastic crowd.

Day 2 of the Fortune-Williams Music Festival included performances from Fortune, Adrienne Young and Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives.

Fans cheered and clapped along as Fortune sang songs like "Cryin' Ain't Gonna Get Me Over You" and "Pretty Woman."

An emotional moment came as Fortune sang "Love the Hate Away," a song he wrote after the Virginia Tech massacre. Fortune was driving when he first heard about the April 16 shootings.

"I had to pull off on the side of the road, and it just hit me right in the heart," he said before starting the song.

"As we search for the answer and find the faith the faith to pray," he sang. "Oh heaven, won't you help us love the hate away."

Fan Tami Bird wore a "Hokies United" shirt to the concert. She said Fortune's song made her cry.

"Especially the line about children being allowed to grow," she said. Bird said she knows someone who was in the building at the time of the shootings, but he's OK.

Tears came to her eyes again as she described the song.

"It's very touching," she said. "It's hard to remember the events of that day." Bird's daughter, Tara Bird, 9, also attended the concert. Tara liked Jimmy's growl on "Pretty Woman."

"All the ladies like the growl," said Tami Bird.

The festival has had a wonderful turnout and fabulous weather, said festival director Larry Smith. He said that being around Fortune and Robin and Linda Williams from year to year has made him realize that they are just normal people who want to give back to their community.

"Their festival is a way of giving this gift," he said.

"There is a sharing going on that you don't find at most festivals," said Robin Williams as he watched Fortune play.

"It's just a one-of-a-kind night," he said. "It'll never be like this again."

Fan Judy Sorrell said the Frontier Culture Museum is the perfect venue.

"Jimmy Fortune always brings me out," she said. "This is my third year, and it just gets better every year."

"It's beyond all expectations," said Fortune about the festival.

Staunton is like his home, Fortune said. "It's like coming home and seeing friends and family."

Fortune described the love he feels from the fans.

"We pour our hearts out to them, and they in turn, pour their hearts out to us," he said.

There is a mutual feeling between the performers and the audience, he said. "They're really not fans," he said. "They're our friends, and we love them dearly."