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Golden coming ‘home’ for concert

Rusty Golden is headed home for a show in downtown Brewton that will help kick off the anniversary weekend celebrating Brewton’s 125th birthday and the 30th annual Alabama Blueberry Festival.

The concert titled “Rusty Golden and Friends” will feature Golden — son of Brewton native and Oak Ridge Boy William Lee Golden — as the master of ceremonies and host. Tickets are limited, but some are still available for $15 each. The show begins at 7 p.m. at The Ritz.

“If you went to a concert to see any of these guys, you would pay a lot more just to see one of them,” concert organizer Molly Ruzic said. “Rusty will be introducing the other performers, and participating in some of their numbers.”

Golden said he is excited to be coming to Brewton for the music festival. Although he hasn’t played many shows in Brewton, his roots run deep here.

“The only times I have ever played what you would call a ‘real show’ in Brewton were in October 1981 at my father’s big show “Harvest Jam,” which was out at the airport and there were about 38,000 people there,” he said.

Golden said he also performed with his brother, Chris, and father at a concert at the auditorium at W.S. Neal, and then again three years ago at the Brewton Songwriters Festival. High winds and bad weather forced the outdoor show into The Ritz, and several of the performers were impressed with the venue.

“I remember, after the show that night, some of my songwriter friends from Nashville telling me how much they loved the atmosphere at the Ritz,” Golden said. “I used to go down there a lot with my dear friend, Brett McMillan, and just play and sing so it was not my first time in the venue. I sort of always knew that whenever the opportunity presented itself to perform there again, I would. Well, thanks to Molly Ruzic and the city of Brewton, that opportunity has now turned into a full-fledged concert to be taking place at 7 p.m. on Friday June 18. “

Golden said he will be bringing five of his best friends for what he called a “all killer no filler concert.”

“Although these are dear friends of over 20 years, they are also considered my many the very cream of the crop as far successful Nashville songwriters,” Golden said. “Even though he had had many more No. 1s, Richard Leigh’s first big hit was the (now) country standard ‘Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue.’ In less than four hours, that crowd will hear so many No. 1 hits, Grammy and CMA ‘Song of the Year’ winners and nominees. I can’t stress enough how powerful this show is going to be as far as sheer talent and songwriting excellence. You can’t really get any bigger.”

Golden’s ties to Brewton also include his mother, Frogene Bruton, who still lives in town. He was also born in the city.

“The fact that I am able to bring all of these guys to my ‘hometown’ is like icing on the cake for me,” he said. “My mom knows all the guys very well and can’t wait to see them again closer to home … well actually, about four blocks from her home on Belleville Avenue.”

The night will start off with Rowell Bluegrass Band for about an hour’s performance, before Rusty and his friends get together.

“Rusty said he was very excited to be coming back to Brewton,” Ruzic said. “He plans on performing throughout the event with the other performers. Not only will he play country music, but I am sure he will also have some gospel songs.”

If the names of some of Rusty’s friends are not familiar, their work is certainly known to all.

Richard Leigh is a Grammy award-winning songwriter. He has had seven nominations for song of the year and had three Grammy nominations. Perhaps the best known of his songs is one of the first, “Don’t it Make My Brown Eyes Blue?” performed by Crystal Gayle.

Jimbeau Hinson is another songwriter who will perform. He has written many songs including “I’m Setting Francy Free,” which was performed by The Oak Ridge Boys.

Carl Jackson is also a Grammy award winner.

Larry Cordle has won the CMA Song of the Year. He, like the other friends, write and perform their own music. Jerry Salley has won the SEA SEC Songwriter Song of the year.

For information about the concert, the city’s anniversary celebration or the Blueberry Festival, contact the Chamber of Commerce at 867-3224.