Award-winning Nashville singer/songwriter Suzy Bogguss will open the festivities of the 43rd Annual Vertielee Floyd Old Time Fiddlin’ Arizona State Championship and Acoustic Celebration this weekend.
Bogguss will appear at the 6:30 p.m. Old Time Opry Friday, Sept. 27 at the Payson High School Auditorium. Purchase the $8 tickets at the Parks and Recreation office in Green Valley Park or at the Chamber of Commerce, on the corner of Main and Beeline.
Bogguss began her career in the early 1980s as a solo singer. In the 1990s, she released one platinum and three gold albums and charted six Top 10 singles, winning the Academy of Country Music’s award for Top New Female Vocalist and the Country Music Association’s Horizon Award.
She is also from a small town and very excited about performing at this year’s Old Time Opry.
“Being from a small town, I didn’t realize that somebody had to make this stuff. I was so green. I also knew about Elton John and other big performers, but it never occurred to me that somebody like me from my small town could make a living making music.”
Having sung and played guitar and drums in local coffeehouses during her college years, Bogguss embarked on a nationwide tour as a folk troubadour after graduating. At the time, she was drawn to singers such as Emmylou Harris, James Taylor and Bonnie Raitt. During this time, she produced her first independent album for Old Shack Recording: “Suzy.” It was available for purchase at her shows and is now considered to be a collector’s item.
In 1984, while touring at the Huntley Lodge resort in Montana, Bogguss discovered that she spent most of her money on clothes for her later shows. She also realized that she had no health insurance, very little car insurance and seemingly approaching a professional dead end.
She moved to Nashville, Tenn. in 1985 and began working at the local Tony Roma’s restaurant on her first day there. While there, she performed a three-day audition for country singer Dolly Parton at Silver Dollar City, a theme park which would eventually become Dollywood. The following year, she became the first featured female performer at the park, playing four solo shows at the park’s train station and appearing in the “Jamboree” show.
On performing at the train station, Bogguss later recalled that “I kept thinking, ‘I’m going to get black lung disease (from the coal train in Dollywood).’”
Bogguss said that performing at the park “was the first situation where I knew that every time I introduced a song by a country artist, they knew who the artist’s mom was, who his or her brothers and sisters were and who he or she was married to.”
These performances prompted her to make a self-produced demo recording at a studio owned by folk singer Wendy Waldman, who would eventually become Bogguss’ first producer. Bogguss made several copies and sold them while performing at Dollywood.
At the time, she recorded a demo of “Hopeless Romantic,” a song written by Doug Crider which would become part of her debut studio album.
Crider and Bogguss met each other, and eventually married in November 1986.
The demo soon caught the attention of Capitol Records president Jim Foglesong, who offered her a recording contract on the Liberty/Capitol Nashville label. From this point forward Bogguss went on to become a mega star releasing the following chart toppers, “Hey Cinderella,” “Drive South,” “Outbound Plane” and “Letting Go.”
Most recently Bogguss has released the “American Folk Songbook” CD and companion songbook. The project grew out of an appearance with Garrison Keillor in 2008. Performing the old favorite, “Red River Valley,” Bogguss discovered the children in the audience did not know the words.
“As music education fades from our public schools, I worried these beautiful melodies (old folk songs) are in danger of being overlooked,” Bogguss said. So, she decided to record the songs and make the lyrics available as well. The “American Folk Songbook” was released in the summer of 2011.
Her concert in Payson will be one of the local entertainment highlights of the year, with parking at a premium and early arrival preferred. Doors open at 5:30. Park in the lot off of McLane (school administration parking lot) or behind the Wilson Dome and along Wade Lane (south side of school by Shepherd of the Pines Lutheran Church).
Fiddle contest and more
In addition to the Old Time Opry, the Town of Payson has several new additions to this year’s Old Time Fiddlin’ Arizona State Championships on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 28 and 29 at the Payson Event Center.
This year the event includes a Fiddle-In Band Competition and the 2014 Old Time Fiddlers Contest and Acoustic Celebration. Other special prizes include best family band, hottest instrumental tune, best gospel tune and best local (Payson) band.
The new band competition will be mingled in with the Old Time Fiddle Contest. Winners will advance to to Weiser, Idaho for another competition later in the year.
All the action will begin at 8:30 a.m. both Saturday and Sunday.
On Saturday night enjoy a dinner concert and the band competition finals at the Payson Event Center. Gates will open at 5 p.m. and dinner will be served from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., while supplies last.
The band competition finals start at 6:30 p.m. and then the Crucial County Band will take the stage immediately after for an hour-long concert. Cost is only $10 for both the dinner and entertainment or $5 for entertainment only.
Starting at 8:30 a.m. Sunday the gates will open for a free gospel program including an open mic session and a performance by Brush Arbor Revival. At 11 a.m. the Arizona State Fiddlin’ Grand Championships will start, with admission only $5. The top 15 scorers from the Saturday competitions will come back to determine the overall Arizona State Champion. This champion will then have the opportunity to compete at the National Fiddle Championships in Weiser, Idaho. Several past Payson champions have gone on to win at national competition.
For more, contact Cameron Davis at (928) 474-5242, ext. 7.