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Out and about

Striking a chord

BY HEATHER FRANCIS Hernando Today correspondent
Published:   |   Updated: April 5, 2013 at 02:56 PM

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String music of a variety of genres will be pickin' and grinnin' nonstop at the Stringbreak Music Fest set for next Thursday through Sunday, April 14 at the Sertoma Youth Ranch. If you're into bluegrass, newgrass, alternative country and roots rock you won't want to miss a strum of this four-day event.

The line up of performers includes the Original Duhks, Robin and Linda Williams, The Greencards, Chatham County Line, The David Mayfield Parade, Black Lillies, Honeycutters, The Sauce Boss, TheRagbirds, The Wholetones and many others.

Mitch Lind, the director of the music festival, has posted a light-hearted disclaimer on the festival's website, “Caution: This brand of music is extremely addictive. May cause overspending on CDs and other similar events. Will change your life and musical opinions and can possibly cause extreme euphoria. Partaking in this festival may result in weekend insomnia.”

For those into guitar and gumbo, be sure to check out Bill Wharton's, aka “The Sauce Boss,” performances. He cooks an awesome pot of gumbo on stage, all the while belting out some swampy Florida blues on a steel guitar. And then after the show, everyone gets to eat his world-famous gumbo using his own “Liquid Summer” hot sauce.

Since about 1990, Wharton estimates that he has served about 190,000 people, all for free.

Two Food Network television shows have even visited Wharton to feature his musical talents as well as his delicious gumbo. Check out his gumbo recipe listed on Food Network's website at

Wharton was also honored by Jimmy Buffet, who sings about Wharton in his “I Will Play for Gumbo” song.

And now Wharton has formed his own nonprofit organization, Planet, to help feed those in need. Wharton plays for free in homeless shelters across the nation, makes gumbo to share with everyone there at the shelter and brings a message of hope and comfort.

Among the other festival headliners are Robin and Linda Williams. The husband-and-wife duo have been playing together in beautiful harmony for almost 40 years.

Robin Williams said, “We met at an open stage, each of us bringing our guitar to a bar, signing our name on a piece of paper and then singing three songs. We became interested in each other immediately. There followed a two-year period of us being with each other whenever we could.”

Robin was working as a solo performer at the time and when Linda moved to Nashville, he followed her there. “It was in Nashville that we began singing together and 'getting our act together' and in the summer of 1973 we got married and started gigging as Robin and Linda Williams,” said Robin Williams.

“To us, music is soul soothing,” Robin says, “Nothing makes us happier than to be able to play our instruments or to sing a song. It would be a major component of our lives no matter what. But to be able to take it out on the road together and to be able to make a living at it, well, we consider ourselves blessed. It keeps the music tight and ever changing and it makes it possible for our personal relationship to stay strong and rooted. We are both committed to a life in music and so far it's working great.”

On their website the Williams state that they “have made it their mission to perform the music that they love, a robust blend of bluegrass, folk, old-time and acoustic country that combines wryly observant lyrics with a wide-ranging melodicism.”

Robin and Linda Williams have sung on major television programs, such as “The Grand Old Opry,” “Austin City Limits” and “Mountain Stage.”

The Williams will be singing a lot of songs from their latest CD at the festival, including titles such as “These Old Dark Hills,” “Lonesome,” “Arizona,” “Storms Never Last,” “Tessie Mae,” “Looking For Love” and “Lucky Day.”

The Stringbreak Music Festival will be held from April 11-14 at Sertoma Youth Ranch, located at 85 Meyers Road, in Brooksville.For more information, call (863) 984-8445 or visit and

Heather Francis is a correspondent for Hernando Today. She can be reached at toheatherfrancis (at)

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