Billy Crawford back for 3rd appearance at J&R


Billy Crawford has played his six-string bluesy guitar at the Pulaski Jazz & Ribfeast since the event’s inaugural roll-out two years ago.

“I would like to say thanks to everyone in Pulaski that keeps having us back, coming to the shows and giving us such great press. We look forward to our third appearance at the Jazz & Ribfeast,” Crawford says.

The Billy Crawford Band’s mixture of blues and jazz swing begins at 9 p.m. Friday at the Jackson Park stage, a finale performance to close out a day already filled with smoky, sultry and sassy harmonizing from J. Plunky Branch, The Jamtastics, The Traditions and Adaire Theatre’s musical cast from “Come Fly With Me.”

The band is also a mainstay for Pulaski’s summer concert series in the park. “People are so wonderful there,” Crawford says. “I want them to come up, speak to us, shake our hands and tell us how they’re doing.”

Crawford, who grew up on church music in eastern Tennessee, has been playing music since the late 1970s. In the ’90s, he hit the road with several recording artists. He worked as blues-rocker Deborah Coleman’s bandleader for six years, touring 20 counties and recording four albums with her.

In 2002, his son was born and the blues traveler decided to rein in the road trips. He settled down for good in Bristol, Tenn., and became a deputy sheriff in Sullivan County.

But he never put his guitar down and, in fact, started his own band. The Billy Crawford Band has since produced a half-dozen CDs and a DVD. Along with blues, the group also plays rock, rockabilly and gospel.

As always, he says the band’s performance “will be heavy in blues and swing jazz.”

The five-member band plays regularly at venues from Nashville to Roanoke. “All of us sing, too,” Crawford says.

The band includes Crawford on lead vocals and lead guitar; Jay Corder on saxophone; Rex Boggs on lead vocals; Robert McClain on bass guitar; and Pulaski’s own Keith Chinault on drums.

The Pulaski Jazz & Ribfeast runs 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. in downtown Pulaski. Three rib vendors will serve up thousands of pounds of ribs – they served 4,200 pounds a year ago! – and there’s a beer garden with plenty of suds for the day. Attendees are encouraged to bring their lawn chairs for a day in the park with 5,000 of their closest friends.



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