By Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal
There’ll be no strangers at the bluegrass concert in Fulton this weekend. All of the performers, Paul Williams & Victory Trio, Chuckwagon Gang, Rhonda Vincent & the Rage and Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, have performed at the benefit for Regional Rehab in years past. Not only is it a highlight of the year, said Paul Williams, it’s also the kick off for his band’s 2012 tour.
“That’s the beginning of our season, from Fulton on through we’ll be busy through November,” Williams said in a phone interview with the Daily Journal. “We’ll go to Illinois, Missouri, Ohio, North Carolina South Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia. Sometimes we go to Michigan, sometimes we go to Florida, but this year we don’t have anything in either Michigan or Florida. But we’ve got enough to do anyway without all that.”
Williams began playing music at age 9, and he turns 77 next month. He didn’t play music professionally all those years, though. He formed his bluegrass gospel band, the Victory Trio, in 1995, after retiring from the postal service.
“I just thought I’d like to go for God, and I’ve been going ever since,” Williams said. “He keeps making a way for us, and we keep trying to lift Him up and praise Him through song. That’s what we’re all about.”
Williams and his band are nominated for a Dove Award for Bluegrass Album of the Year, an award the group has taken home before. The band has also been named Bluegrass Gospel Group of the Year by the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music for the last five out of six years.
His band plays old-time bluegrass gospel, a mixture of traditionals and originals, and that’s just how Williams has always liked it.
“That’s all I’ve ever done, and I don’t see any need in trying to change it,” he said. “I like the old traditional sound, and the majority of where we go, that’s what people like. So we just stay with it.”