Locals will open for Marshall Tucker Band
by Laura Camper
Oct 24, 2013 | 1786 views |  0 comments | 39 39 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Local boys Nick Bowles, Dylan Laminack and Alan Kerr, also known as bluegrass band High Cotton, have been performing together for more than 10 years, but until recently as blues musicians.

But their new sound may be what got them the opportunity to perform as the opening act for the Marshall Tucker Band on Friday at Zinn Park in Anniston.

“I’m really excited,” said Kerr, 53. “We’ve never done anything remotely like this.”

Kerr, who lives in Heflin, grew up listening to the Marshall Tucker Band and some of the first songs he learned to play on the guitar were the band’s songs.

“Fire on the Mountain has been one of my favorite songs since I first heard it,” Kerr said.

The Marshall Tucker Band, a southern rock band that got its start in the early 1970s, will headline a free concert beginning at 7 p.m.

The Marshall Tucker Band formed in 1972 in Spartanburg, N.C. The band released its first album in 1973. The original band performed until 1980, when member Tommy Caldwell passed away in a car accident. They produced a string of hits including “Can You See,” “The Highway,” “Fire on the Mountain” and “Heard it in a Love Song.” The band members found Frank Wilkie to take Caldwell’s place, but he and band members Toy Caldwell, George McCorkle and Paul Riddle left the band in late 1983. Doug Gray and Jerry Eubanks continued on until 1996, when Eubanks retired. Gray kept the band together and it continues to record and tour.

Bowles said up until he saw “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou,” he had little interest in country or bluegrass music.

“That sort of got my toes wet,” Bowles said.

His bandmates grew up listening to country, though, he said. Now that he’s developed an interest in it, they are continuing to widen his knowledge of the genres.

Bowles, 37, is a 1994 graduate of Cleburne County High School, where he met Laminack, he said. Kerr, Laminack through their then-girlfriends who were good friends. Kerr said he was in a band in Carrollton, Ga., and when the drummer quit, he invited Laminack to join. The lead guitarist quit shortly afterwards and the two invited Bowles to take his place and Stone Free was born. They started out playing Blues and then added rock and roll and popular songs, Kerr said. But as the years went by, the band’s sound continued to change and evolve, Bowles said.

“It was just natural,” Bowles said. “When we were Stone Free, we had a 45 minute acoustic set and it sort of evolved from that.”

The band members decided to change the name to reflect their changing style, Bowles said.

High Cotton has been playing locally a lot and got a call from Tam Stewart asking if they’d be interested in being one of the opening acts for the Marshall Tucker Band.

“It’s a fun opportunity,” Bowles said, who is also an Anniston Police officer.

He said the bands acoustic sound will warm up the crowd for the southern rock of the headlining Marshall Tucker Band.

The concert will be at Zinn Park on 14th Avenue at 7 p.m. tomorrow (Friday). People are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets.

Staff writer Laura Camper 256-463-2872. On Twitter @LCamper_Star.
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