The Roots n Blues Festival has a reputation for including musicians in the lineup with a career that spans a half-century or so. This year, audiences will be graced by a performance from a living legend of American roots music each day of the festivalJohn Prine, Doug Kershaw and Del McCoury.

Friday night of the 2019 Festival, we will be honored to host the legendary country and folk singer/songwriter, John Prine as our headliner on the Great Southern Bank stage. Prine attended Chicago’s Old Town School of Folk Music in the 1960s and released his first album, John Prine, in 1971. That first album includes the track that first made Prine famous, Angel From Montgomery. Over the past half-century, Prine’s influence spans multiple genres, and his Angel has been covered by artists from Bonnie Raitt to Old Crow Medicine Show. Twenty years and twelve albums after his self-titled premiere album, he recorded The Missing Years for which he won his first Grammy, for Best Contemporary Folk Album. After nearly 50 years of recording and touring, in 2018 he released The Tree of Forgiveness. This album received three Grammy nominations earlier this year and has been heralded by the music industry, critics and artists alike, as one of the most compelling folk albums of all time. On this album, he collaborates with family (his grandson’s laughter appears on the track When I get to Heaven) as well as fellow 2019 Roots n Blues Festival artists Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires. What’s next for John Prine? Well, in his own words: “I kept saying when I was doing this album, it’s going to be my last one. But if things go really good with it, I can’t see why I wouldn’t do something else.” [from]

A John Prine performance from earlier this year.

On Saturday afternoon, our festival audience is in for a rare treat of traditional Cajun music at its very finest and most authentic. The Louisiana Man, himself, Doug Kershaw will perform on the Great Southern Bank stage. Kershaw is a legendary cajun fiddler, with a career dating back to 1948, as half of the duo, The Continental Playboys, with his brother Rusty. Louisiana Man is an autobiographical song Doug wrote while serving in the Army in the 1950s. The song has not only sold millions of copies since it was first released in 1961, it has become considered the standard of modern Cajun music. Over the past 58 years, the song has been covered by more than 800 artists. In November 1969, Louisiana Man was broadcast back to earth by the crew of the Apollo 12 moon mission. Kershaw will be backed by the Dave & Deke Combo, featuring hometown hero, former Columbia resident, Deke Dickerson.

Doug Kershaw performing in Nashville in 2017.

Sunday afternoon, we’ll bring our guests an equal level of legendary and authentic bluegrass to the Great Southern Bank stage, with a performance from Del McCoury. This living legend began his career with Bill Monroe’s Bluegrass Boys in 1963, with whom he first appeared on the Grand Ole Opry. McCoury performed briefly with the Golden State Boys in 1964. In 1968, McCoury released his first solo album, Del McCoury Sings Bluegrass and since has produced a rich discography of traditional bluegrass records as a solo artist, as well as with the McCoury Brothers, The Travelin’ McCourys, Del McCoury and the Dixie Pals, and the Del McCoury Band. Del McCoury has an equally lengthy list of awards, including 31 International Bluegrass Awards and two Grammys. Most recently, The Del McCoury Band won the 2014 Grammy in the category of Best Bluegrass Album for The Streets of Baltimore. In June 2010, McCoury received a lifetime achievement award from the National Endowment for the Arts in the field of folk and traditional arts. McCoury received the Bluegrass Star Award, presented by the Bluegrass Heritage Foundation, in 2015. The award is bestowed upon bluegrass artists who do an exemplary job of advancing traditional bluegrass music and bringing it to new audiences while preserving its character and heritage.

Del McCoury performs an NPR Tiny Desk Concert in 2018.

The Roots n Blues Festival is a celebration of all genres of American roots music. We encourage a multi-generational live music experience for families, by creating a family-friendly lineup of musicians that span the diverse cultural sounds and styles that are the threads of America’s rich tapestry of music. Bring your grandparents and bring your kids and join us for 29 bands on two stages for three days in beautiful and scenic Stephens Lake Park in Columbia, Missouri, Sept. 27-29. Buy your tickets now, advance ticket pricing ends soon. Children 14 and under are free with paid accompanying adult.