Country, rock and legends

Published 7:05 pm Saturday, August 29, 2015

Peanut Festival announces musical acts

The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Blackhawk and The Outlaws will be the featured entertainment this October at the Suffolk Executive Airport for the Suffolk Peanut Festival.

The four-day event kicks off Oct. 8 with the theme, “Tilling Up Good Family Fun for 38 Years.” In addition to the music, it also includes a full carnival, fireworks, concerts, demolition derby, motorcycle rally, peanut butter sculpting contest, camel rides, arts and crafts and much more.

Nearing their fifth decade together, the iconic and profoundly influential Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, often cited as a catalyst for an entire movement in country rock and American roots music, continues to add to its legendary status. With multi-platinum and gold records, strings of top 10 hits such as “Fishin’ In The Dark” and “Mr. Bojangles,” and multiple Grammy, International Bluegrass Music Association and Country Music Association awards and nominations, the band’s accolades continue to accumulate.

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The groundbreaking “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” album has been inducted into the U.S. Library of Congress as well as the Grammy Hall of Fame. “Mr. Bojangles” was also inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2010.

In 2014, “Fishin’ In the Dark” was certified platinum for digital downloads by the Recording Industry Association of America. Today, Jeff Hanna, Jimmie Fadden, Bob Carpenter and John McEuen continue their nonstop touring in their 49th year together.

Multi-platinum country music band Blackhawk garners the title of one of the most successful country music groups of the mid-1990s. Their songs “Every Once In A While” and “Like There Ain’t No Yesterday” hit No. 1 on the charts, along with their top 10 singles “Goodbye Says It All,” “I Sure Can Smell the Rain” and “That’s Just About Right.”

After the loss of founding member Van Stephenson to cancer, guitarist/vocalist Henry Paul and keyboardist/vocalist Dave Robbins are back in the studio and back on tour honoring Stephenson’s dying wish that Blackhawk continue to make great music and fight for a cure.

As a result, the remaining members established the Van Stephenson Memorial Cancer Research Fund in his memory, donating the proceeds of their efforts to the Vanderbilt Cancer Research Center.

Southern rock legends The Outlaws began in Tampa in 1972. Known for their triple-guitar rock attack and three-part country harmonies, they became one of the first acts signed by Clive Davis to his then-fledgling Arista Records.

The band’s first three albums “The Outlaws,” “Lady In Waiting” and “Hurry Sundown” — featuring such rock radio favorites as “There Goes Another Love Song,” “Green Grass & High Tides,” “Knoxville Girl” and “Freeborn Man” — would become worldwide gold and platinum landmarks of the Southern Rock era.

Known as “The Florida Guitar Army” by their fans, The Outlaws earned a formidable reputation as an incendiary live act touring with friends The Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Marshall Tucker Band and The Charlie Daniels Band as well as The Doobie Brothers, The Who, Eagles and The Rolling Stones.

Henry Paul left after the group’s third album to form The Henry Paul Band for Atlantic Records, and later formed Blackhawk. Over the next 20-plus years, The Outlaws celebrated triumphs, endured tragedies and survived legal nightmares to remain one of the most influential and best-loved bands of the genre.

Now The Outlaws have returned with new music, new focus and an uncompromising new mission: It’s about a band of brothers bound together by history, harmony and the road.

Opening acts include Luke Willette and Show Me Band, Sean K. Preston and the Loaded Pistols, TailGate Down and Island Boy.

The festival is set for Oct. 8-11. General admission is free for the festival and parking is $15 per vehicle, per entry, or $25 for a four-day pass. Additional information may be found at the new Suffolk Peanut Fest website,