Robin and Linda Williams: Fortune Williams Music Festival preview 2009

Dear Friends,
We thought we'd remind those of you who are interested that, during the week of July 13 - 17, tickets for this year's Fortune Williams Music Festival will be on sale to those on our and Jimmy Fortune's email lists. This is our attempt to make sure that you get first dibs on the good seats. In order to get your tickets this week you must use the code which is "fw72009." That will let the folks at the Frontier Culture Museum know that you're on our email list. Their office hours are Monday through Friday, 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. and the phone number is 540.332.7850. On Monday, July 20, tickets go on sale to the general public.

On Friday, September 25th, we'll have our songwriter show. Each year Jimmy Fortune and we get to have a special guest for the show and we all perform on stage together and tell how our songs come about. Our guest this year is Pat Alger. Pat has had enormous success over the years with his songs starting with Kathy Mattea's "Goin' Gone," and "She Came From Ft. Worth." Hal Ketchum had a number one hit with Pat's song "Small Town Saturday Night" as did Trisha Yearwood with Pat's "Like We Never Had a Broken Heart." His collaboration with Garth Brooks has resulted in over 60 million records being sold for such songs as "The Thunder Rolls," "Unanswered Prayers, "What's She's Doing Now," and others.

Jimmy's guest this year is Kenny Beard who has written hits for Trace Atkins, John Conlee and Tracy Lawrence who recorded five KB songs, "Today's Lonely Fool," "My Second Home," "As Any Fool Can See," "If The World Had a Front Porch" and "Is That A Tear."

The Songwriter Show is always a sellout so be sure and get your tickets early. Tickets are $35.00 and include a reception with the performers before the show.

There is a full day scheduled for Saturday, September 26. Heather Berry, an International Bluegrass Music Association award winning performer, who has been recording since she was 12 years old will start the day off on The Cochran Pavilion Stage.  She's from our neck of the woods and we first heard her 10 years ago when she recorded an all gospel CD and formed her band "Dominion Grass." Now living in North Carolina, she has continued to make a life in music, something that's not easy to do. She and Tom T. Hall have become friends and Tom T. asked her and Tony, her husband, to sing at his induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame. They received the only standing ovation of the night. She and Tony, are outstanding singers and performers. Go to her web site,, for more information.

Jay Ungar and Molly Mason are two of America's finest roots musicians and can play many different styles from Old Time and Bluegrass to Swing, Celtic and Cajun. We've been friends with them for many years and met them before they met each other. Jay was in New York and had just returned from a stint as fiddler in David Bromberg's first band. Molly was in Minnesota and was the bass player in the house band on Garrison Keillor's new radio show, "A Prairie Home Companion." They've been playing music together since the early '80s and it was their band, "Fiddle Fever," that first recorded Jay's haunting original tune, "Ashoken Farewell." That recording was later used in the Ken Burns documentary "Civil War." The tune has gone on to be recorded by many other artists including Mark O'Connor. We feel so fortunate to have them at our festival. Their web site is

Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives are returning to the festival and will close the show on Saturday nights. Jimmy and we agree that, in seven years of putting on this festival, Marty and the guys gave us the best show ever. He is a one-of-a-kind performer. It's not that he's a brilliant musician or a four time Grammy Award winner that makes him so interesting. It's not that he's recorded top ten hits and has platinum and gold record album that makes him so interesting. It's not that he wrote and performed the music for a wonderful movie, "All The Pretty Horses," that makes him so interesting. It's not that he's collaborated with more or less all the major roots music figures of our time, starting when he was 14 and playing in Lester Flatt's band, that makes him so interesting. It's not that he's an award winning Country Music photojournalist that makes him so intersting. It's not that's he's got one of the best music shows on TV that makes him so interesting. It's not that he's one of the greatest guys and finest band leaders walking the face of the earth that makes him so interesting. It's all of these things. And more. There are not enough superlatives for Marty Stuart. We are extremely pleased to bring him back to our festival.

Tickets for Saturday are $45.00 for reserved seats and $35.00 for festival seating.

As you might be able to tell, we're excited and we look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at this year's Fortune Williams Music Festival. So come on out to the Frontier Culture Museum in Staunton, VA on September 25 and 26 and see some great, live music.

And finally, this just in. A study done by University of California (Irvine) proved a link exists between music and human intelligence. The authors state, "music trains the brain for higher forms of thinking." We've been saying that music makes you smarter. It turns out we were right.

Your pals, Robin and Linda