WildFire to heat up Summer in the CityPublished 10:17pm Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Nominated for Detroit Music Awards “Best Country Band” and “Best Country Recording,” WildFire returns to downtown Dowagiac Friday for “Summer in the City,” where it rocked Beckwith Park last July with some of the best country jams the Midwest has to offer.
The three-day summertime bash, which also features The Taste of Dowagiac and its Sizzlin’ Hot Sidewalk Days, will be staged in the central business district today through Saturday.
Presented by Greater Dowagiac Chamber of Commerce, “Summer in the City” opened this morning as it presents 47 hours of vocal and instrumental entertainment and dance, the third-annual Taste of Dowagiac, Sizzlin’ Hot Sidewalk Days, an array of family events and the acclaimed Steve’s Run of Southwestern Michigan College. The festival, now in its 25th year, was underwritten by seven corporate sponsors and a $10,000 fine arts grant awarded to the Downtown Development Authority from St. Denys Foundation of Dowagiac.
Corporate sponsors include the Army National Guard, Creative Vinyl Signs, Dr. Charles Burling and Dr. Jon Gillesby, Leader Publications, Dr. Alan Montgomery, Lyons Industries and Southwestern Michigan College.
Vickie Phillipson, program director for the Chamber of Commerce and DDA, said she is pleased to feature WildFire on Friday for its day-long concert, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Haggin-Wimberley Bandstand.
This professional Top 40 country act, which has opened for national artists, returns that evening for an encore performance from 6:30 to 9.
With its boot stompin’ and Southern-style country and rock, WildFire was Detroit Music Award nominee for Best Country Recording in 2008.
Rhythm guitar and lead vocalist Ken Pool’s music background began at age 6, when his father showed him how to play honky tonk on an old 1930 Gibson flat top.
From that humble beginning, this self-proclaimed “child of music” launched his first band, Pegasus, in 1978. Pool loves to play and it shows in his music. Once he’s on stage, fellow band members say it’s hard to stop him. Fans always say his anecdotes give the show that special buzz.
Music critics have said steel guitar player Bill McAbern’s smooth and gliding style is sure to create a chill that makes audiences shudder, while his ballads bring tears to their eyes.
Fellow musicians call Wild Bill, who is also historian of the group, their “lost Oak Ridge Boy.” McAbern’s popularity with his audience is second only to his steel playing, which spans more than 20 years. Drummer Tommy Green brings diverse talents to WildFire with his major influences found in both Christian and rock music. His hammering drum solos demonstrate to music enthusiasts how much he loves to play it up, as spirited audiences are left yearning for more.