Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Sonny Burgess' 85th Birthday Bash

Friday, June 20, 7 p.m.
CALS Ron Robinson Theater
100 River Market Avenue
Tickets: $10

Sonny Burgess & the Legendary Pacers will celebrate Burgess’s 85th birthday with an Arkansas Sounds concert at the Central Arkansas Library System’s (CALS) Ron Robinson Theater on Friday, June 20, at 7:00 p.m. They will be joined by Rodney Block, Bonnie Montgomery, Kevin Kerby, and Brad Williams and Nick Devlin of the Salty Dogs. Tickets are $10, general admission, and are available at and at Butler Center Galleries, 401 President Clinton Avenue. The theater entrance is accessible from the CALS Main Library parking lot, 100 Rock Street.

Burgess, a native of Newport, is a rockabilly guitarist and singer. He and the Pacers have played boogie woogie music in dance halls and bars from Arkansas to Europe since the 1950s. From their first record, We Wanna Boogie, released by Sun Records in Memphis in 1956, to their most recent record, Still Rockin’ and Rollin’, released in 2000, Sonny Burgess and the Legendary Pacers have continued to entertain listeners and audiences with their high-energy rock and roll and enthusiastic performances. The group was inducted in 2002 to the Rockabilly Hall of Fame.

Rodney Block, a classically-trained instrumentalist from Dumas, performs a unique blend of traditional jazz, gospel, hip hop, bebop, funk, and soul. His ensembles have opened for Jonathan Butler, Claude “Fiddler” Williams, Wynton Marsalis, and Angela Hagenbaugh, among others.

Bonnie Montgomery, of Searcy, is a classically-trained composer and opera singer by day and country queen by night. Her performances take a raucous spin on traditional southern music, and she has been featured by publications such as the New Yorker, the Economist, the Huffington Post, and the London Daily Telegraph.

Kevin Kerby, native of Texas and longtime resident of Little Rock, performed with Ho-Hum and Mulehead before beginning a solo career as a vocalist and guitarist.

Brad Williams and Nick Devlin are members of the Salty Dogs, a four-piece band from Little Rock that plays original country music. The Salty Dogs has been named "Best Original Band in Arkansas" by the Arkansas Times, and the band has played with artists such as Junior Brown, Hank Williams, Jr., Old Crow Medicine Show, Pete Anderson, David Rawlings, Kinky Friedman, and more. The Salty Dogs’ music has been featured on the television shows Trading Spaces, on TLC, and Rectify, on the Sundance Channel.

This concert is presented by Arkansas Sounds, a project of the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies focusing on Arkansas music and musicians both past and present. The Butler Center is a department of CALS, promoting the study and appreciation of Arkansas history and culture. For more information, visit or call 918-3033.


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