By Patrick Young, Fort Stewart Public AffairsSeptember 26, 2008
FORT STEWART, GA -- Food for the soul and body were both served up in heaps at the Blues and Barbeque concert at Bradwell Park, Sept. 20 with about 1,000 community members taking advantage of the feast.
The event, sponsored by the Hinesville Area Arts Council with assistance from the Fort Stewart Directorate of Morale, Welfare, and Recreation, provided quality entertainment to Soldiers, Family members and local community members alike.
Opening the night's musical features was Fatback and the Grove Band out of Columbia, S.C.
A fitting venue for the band, lead singer Fatback, known formally as Barry A. Walker, Sr. is both musician and chef at his own restaurant "Mac's on Main" which serves a variety of Southern "soul food."
Although Fatback grew up in Connecticut, earning a bachelors of science in mathematics from the University of Connecticut along the way, he grew tired of working as a computer programmer, which he did for 25 years.
In 1999, he opted to follow his dreams and purse his interest, which are drinking beer; eating food, and playing music - in that order, according to the artist.
Passionate about cooking, which he learned from his mother, Viola, and the "Viola school of cooking," he made room for his music too. At his restaurant Fatback held an "open mic night," where he met one of his band members, 16-year-old Zee Slaughter.
A regular at Mac's on Main, Slaughter started performing there when he was 11, and plays both tenor and alto saxophone, guitar and sings lead and backup vocal for Fatback.
Joining drummers John Knight and Wes Howard, with Greg Johnson on bass guitar, the band belted out hit after hit at the Sept. 20 performance, including a wailing rendition of "Mustang Sally," which had people thumping their feet to the music.
Warmed up by the incredible performances laid down by Fatback, The Eric Culberson Band took over as the main headliner and turned out ballads reminencent of legendary blues performers BB King and Muddy Waters.
Graduating with the Class of 1983 from Bradwell Institute, Culberson interacted with the audience members and showed he was right at home in Hinesville.
His electric performance continued until the event ended near 10 p.m. and left audience members calling for more.
Tom Hickey, chairman of the Hinesville Area Arts Council said the event was a huge success, with more than 1,000 people visiting the event throughout the day.
"We owe a debt of gratitude to our partners with MWR, the Hinesville Downtown Development Authority, The Heritage Bank and The Liberty County Visitor Bureau and other supporters."
Aside from the music, participants had the opportunity to select from a variety of barbeque samples provided by local businesses that competed for best BBQ, and people choice awards.
Among the judges was Fort Stewart's own, Cornelius Williams, installation food advisor who shared the opportunity to taste each of the entrees with Hinesville councilman, Bobby Ryon; Liberty County Assistant Administrator Bob Sprinkel; John Thrift, owner of Thrift Auto Repair and Hickey.
The winners were J.C.'s BBQ for best pork dish and overall winner; Tina's Deli for people's choice; Smokin' Pig for best chicken and beef dishes; and Vann's restaurant for their BBQ shrimp.