Home » Folk Festival will feature Bluesman Sonny Gullage

Folk Festival will feature Bluesman Sonny Gullage

by Minden Press-Herald

NATCHITOCHES – Following a family line of musical genius ranging from Huddie “Lead Belly” Ledbetter to grandmother and gospel recording artist, Sister Alberta Gullage, and bassist father, Tony Gullage, who has performed with many well-known musical greats, such as Henry Butler, emerges Sonny Gullage. Sonny is taking the industry by storm, reviving the passion and excitement of the Blues with his smooth voice and charismatic performances. Natchitoches welcomes Sonny to the Natchitoches-NSU Folk Festival stage July 20th in air-conditioned Prather Coliseum.

Many may remember Gullage from American Idol season 20 where he made quite the impression upon viewing audiences and the Idol judges. While his departure was shocking, the silence surrounding it was confusing. Gullage states that he remembers very well what they said to him that day. “They said Kevin, you’re a head scratcher. You’re one of the few people who did everything right, nothing wrong, but we just don’t have a spot for you on this show,” he relays with no anger or animosity. Instead, he looks upon his time on the hit show as a growing experience. Gullage is an artist who already knows who he is, where he is from, and who he wants to be.

Sonny feels that being born and raised in Luling, Louisiana has prepared him for his career. He states, “It’s a place that I can’t describe better than it’s the perfect center. Forty-five minutes to the east you have all the New Orleans stuff – Jazz, R&B, Hip Hop, certain types of Blues. While on the other hand, forty-five minutes to the west you have Swamp Pop, the Cajun guys, and the Zydeco. It demands you to know both.” This merging of musical genres and fandoms has helped Gullage to cultivate his performances to grab the attention of all audiences and helps him to bring listeners back to the heart of the Blues.

Gullage states, “Being young and in Blues is not an easy path to choose. You can choose the Pop route, the R&B route, because people already naturally want to listen to something that sounds new. But, trying to convince people that something they don’t listen to anymore is still just as relevant, that’s not an easy job to do.” He is certainly up for the challenge and his new album, “Go Be Free!” will be available August 23rd, and his single by the same name is out now. Gullage states this original song, “really is my story.” With the album promising many originals, Gullage is giving listeners an up-close and intimate look at his own life, his story, his hopes, and even his worries for the future. He states, “It’s a new step for me, to allow that much of myself into anything, to be vulnerable in that way. When you write songs, you write from a very raw place a lot of the time, so, with this new album, I’m giving that part of me that I don’t normally just give out. I’m putting a lot of myself out there.” This album is being produced under Blind Pig Records and marks a monumental step in Gullage’s musical career. The label has produced records for Muddy Waters, Otis Clay, and many other talented musicians.

With Gullage’s desire to remind listeners of the relevancy of the Blues, his musical styling is the perfect fit for the Festival’s theme, “The Old Songs Live Forever.” The festival is held in the air-conditioned Prather Coliseum, located at 220 South Jefferson St on the beautiful campus of Northwestern State University. In addition to three stages of live entertainment, the festival will include a jambalaya cook-off, the Louisiana State Fiddle Championship, over 75 crafts people, Louisiana cuisine food vendors, dance lessons, informances, narrative sessions, on-site demonstrations, and much more. Admission to this family friendly event is $10 for an all-day all event pass, after 5pm passes are only $6, and children 12 and under are admitted free at any time. The Festival celebrates and presents the unique and traditional folk culture of Louisiana.

Support for the Festival is provided by grants from the Cane River National Heritage Area, Inc., the City of Natchitoches, the Louisiana Division of the Arts Decentralized Arts Fund Program, the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, the Louisiana Office of Tourism, the Natchitoches Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Natchitoches Historic District Development Commission, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation, the Shreveport Regional Arts Council, and the State of Louisiana. The festival is sponsored by C&H Precision Machining, City Bank, Cleco, Evans Family, LLC, the Harrington Law Firm, International Paper, Natchitoches Wood Preserving Company, and Young Estate, LLC.

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