Ian Dunlop Headlines Annual Gram Parsons Tribute at Gainesville’s “Free Fridays” Concert Series Oct. 3


GramFest, the annual concert tribute to the life and music of country rocker Gram Parsons, will join the “Free Fridays” concert lineup Friday, Oct. 3 from 8-10 p.m. at the Bo Diddley Community Plaza. Parsons was an American singer, songwriter, guitarist and pianist and is considered to be the father of the country-rock music genre. He was a member of the International Submarine Band, The Byrds and the Flying Burrito Brothers. Parsons is also known for teaming up with country star Emmylou Harris on recordings and duets, as well as performing as a solo artist. In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked him no. 87 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. During his short life, Parsons was considered a cult figure whose songwriting and musical style influenced many groups of his era including such notables as The Rolling Stones. According to longtime tribute participant and GramFest organizer Mick Marino, “Gram was the first artist to blend real country music with rock and roll and rhythm and blues. He was a real innovator.” Parsons died in 1973 of a drug overdose at the age of 26.

Headlining this year’s GramFest is Ian Dunlop, a band mate of Gram Parsons and lifelong friend. In 1965, Dunlop founded The International Submarine Band and, along with Parsons, changed the face of American popular music. Acclaimed as the first alternative-country band, Dunlop and Parsons led the vanguard of Americana music that influenced many of their contemporaries and future generations of musicians. Later Dunlop and Parsons formed an early version of the Flying Burrito Brothers, and they remained friends until Parsons’ untimely death.

Also performing at GramFest will be the The Mick Marino All Stars. The band includes Marino (lead guitar/vocals), Paul Goble (guitar), Bill Lee (piano), Bill Kellogg (drums) and Kenny Shore (bass). Marino organized GramFest 16 years ago, and has played in numerous bands locally since 1974. Special guests who will play with The Mick Marino All Stars include Bill Cowboy Hazlett from Warren, Ohio; Tommy McCoy from St. Pete, Florida; Ric Kaestner from Encinitas, California; Howard Holden  from Tulsa, Oklahoma; Bob McAleer from Newark, Ohio; Ranadal Abraham from New Olmstead, Ohio and Susan Hanburry from Gainesville, Florida.

Other bands performing in GramFest include David Kraai from Woodstock, New York, as well as local groups Quartermoon featuring John and Raven Smith with Tuck Tucker and Hard Luck Society with Dan Stepp and Jon Alexander.