Four bands and a collection of Central California country legends will be featured at the “Classic Country & Rock Musical Festival,” 3 p.m. - 1 a.m. Saturday, April 18, at the Golden Chain Theatre.
Co-headlining the 10-hour festival will be Chris Curtice & The Wild Horses (5:30 - 8 p.m.), comprised of Curtice, Jeff Bretz, Mary Briseno, Louis Fudale, Eve Scow, and Rick Wood performing classic and contemporary country.
Curtice has been singing country for years. Following the Oakhurst event, the band will be playing for the Clovis Rodeo Dance on April 25.
As a music performer and educator, Bretz’s experience has ranged from playing live with various artists, to sound and theater production. A member of Wildhorses since 2006, he has performed with several Southern California bands. While studying in Germany, Bretz performed with the German rock and blues band, East of Leimen. In addition to performing, he also teaches music, and English as a second language in southern California.
Briseno (guitar/vocals) joined Wildhorses in 1999 and gave the band the harmony it was looking for. She has played and recorded with numerous bands in Central California, and in 2003, she released her first country Christian project, “Someone Like You.”
Drumer Fudale‘s musical career started in Greenwich, Conn., and he has been with Wildhorses since 2002. A percussion graduate of The California Institute of the Arts, he has been successfully performing with a variety of bands, and over the past 12 years has shared the stage with the likes of Lacy J Dalton and Sara Evans. He toured nationally with The Drifters and has performed on the Jay Leno show.
Scow (fiddle/mandolin) started her music career playing the piano at the age of four. She has played in orchestras and with various groups, exploring different types of music from bluegrass to Brazilian. In 2008, she released her debut CD, “Sharon by the Sea,” with guitarist Dusty Brough.
Wood (keyboards/vocals) began playing at an early age in church and school. Over his career, he has played with several successful country and rock bands in California, and has opened for several performers, including Lacy J Dalton and Vince Gill.
After The Wild Horses, co-headliners The Bryan Vickers Band takes the stage. The three-piece band plays familiar sounds with a unique and modern edge.
The festival will open at 3 p.m. with more than 20 country performers including Hughie Smith, Obie Noonkester, Cubbie Slayton, Carl Gardner, Lloyd Massey, Lonnie Vigil, Paul Dobbs, Jimmy Philips, Don Knight, Wendle Miller, Chuck Hames, Tony Henderson, Shirley Custer, Wayne Hill, and Ed Shelton.
And from the Mountain Area, RockTherapy, will also perform. This six-member classic rock group features Bill Samuelson on lead guitar, Jolinda Thomas vocals, Buzz Carre on bass, Annette Lee on keyboard, Michael Davis on guitar, and Don Telian on drums.
Slayton, 82, bought his first acoustic guitar from Montgomery Wards when he was 14, and taught himself to play.
“It gook me several years just to learn the basic chords,” Slayton said. “I would take any opportunity to go see other guitar players of the time and would watch them to learn how they played.”
His music career began when he was hired to play his first dance at the age of 17. Although he was underage, he and a buddy played at a bar in Huron for tips. He then earned $5 per night while playing at the Derrick Inn near Coalinga, and later at Irene’s Club in Avenal.
“I didn’t know much then, but knew I loved playing music and have done so my entire life,” Slayton said.
Early in his career, he learned to play with a volume pedal, which could make his guitar sound like a steel guitar. While living in Bakersfield, he learned that Cousin Herb had an opening in his band for a guitar player that used a pedal. He auditioned and was hired, and his talents earned him a permanent spot on Cousin Herb’s television show.
During his long career, he has played with many of country music’s biggest legends, including Merle Haggard, Buck Owens, Billy Mize and Waylon Jennings.
From 1969 to 1970, Cubbie appeared on the Jimmy Thomason TV Show in Bakersfield and played six nights a week as he and his fellow band members traveled the state to perform.
Slayton moved to Oakhurst in 1970 and performed with Dave Jones, Skeeter Blackburn and Tom “Cat” Mitchel at the Coarsegold Inn (current location of the Coarsegold Historic Village). In 1971, Slayton and his group also played at Snowline and later at The Broken Bit. In 1975, Cubbie and son Rick Slayton performed with Dave Stogner, Jody Bryant and Dianne DeGallery on Dave Stogner’s weekly half-hour country music radio show.
During the 1990s, Cubbie performed in Nashville and Branson, Mo. In addition to Cubbie’s guitar talents, he is an accomplished songwriter and has had dozens of his songs recorded by various artists over the years. Among his favorits are “Hey Country Singer,” and “Different Highway,” that were recorded in Buck Owen’s Recording Studio in Bakersfield by the late great David Jones.
Slayton was inducted into the Country and Western Swing Hall of Fame in 2006 and continues to entertain fans with his guitar having performed at the Oakhurst Community Center this last December in the Seniors Got Talent Show.
Masters of Ceremonies for the Classic Country & Rock Festival event are Tom Wheeler, Don Knight, and Peter Clarke. All proceeds from the event will benefit the Golden Chain Theatre.
A limited number of tickets for the all-day event are $15 in advance or $20 at the door for a - $12 for seniors, children, and active military. Admission includes a barbecued tri-tip sandwich and beverage.