You’ll find the City Slicker Band featuring Debbie Williams on the schedule at several area carnivals this summer, and they will be playing the country stage on July 4 in Baker Park, along with The Davisson Brothers Band, from West Virginia, Olivia Lane and Cam.
Debbie Williams’ name is well-known by local country music fans. She and her late husband, Don Barnes, sang on a lot of stages in the area with his band The Countrymen, toured with the USO and recorded some albums, too. And she is also well-known for her work with the nonprofit Patty Pollatos Fund Inc. The all-volunteer organization she founded to raise money for Frederick County residents facing financial need due to a medical crisis and charity organizations through fundraisers such as the annual Family FUNomenon, slated for Aug. 22 at the Frederick Fairgrounds (featuring Trace Adkins and Jamie Lynn Spears).
This carnival season, Williams joins the City Slicker Band for The Summer Rewind Series of shows. For Williams, it’s not only an opportunity to perform but to do the other thing she loves to do: fundraise. She lined up sponsors for each show, and along with WFRE and Criswell Chevrolet of Thurmont, has raised more than $25,000 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. Williams said she is not being paid for the shows. “I’m into fundraising, not making money for me,” she said.
Williams said her music career has been “crazy!” In the ’80s, she went to Nashville and recorded some of the songs she had written at Marty Robbins’ studio. “They liked them, too, and signed me,” Williams said. “He died six months later and so did everything else, including his publishing company. There went my songwriting career!”
Born in Buzzards Roost, in east Tennessee, Williams started playing music as a kid, on an old Gibson guitar. “The Carter Family was big in those hills so the music was good!” she said.
When she was in the sixth grade, the family moved to Frederick. “I went to New Market Elementary and Linganore High School,” and married a dairy farmer. “The first song I wrote here was ‘Queen of the Farm,” she said. She started playing and singing that song at Holstein banquets “because the women there could relate to it.”
“That’s how I started playing guitar and singing in public,” she said. Later, Don Barnes asked her to audition for his band and offered her a gig with them, but she turned it down. A few years later, she did join the band “and the rest is history. We were together 30 years,” she said.
The City Slicker Band is a group of seasoned musicians.
Tim Taylor, bass and lead vocals, has been singing and playing bass since he was in the fifth grade, starting in churches in the Charleston, West Virginia, area. He has opened for many artists, including Keith Whitley, George Strait, Collin Raye and others.
Wendell Cavin, drums and percussion, hails from Washington, D.C., and started playing drums when he was 13. His dad owned a nightclub and Wendell grew up listening to some talented musicians. He has backed and opened for artists including Ronnie Dove, The Drifters, Marty Robbins and Johnny Paycheck.
Buddy Griffin, pedal steel guitar and vocals, is a relatively new addition to the band. Also from D.C., Buddy comes from a musical family. He’s honed his pedal steel guitar playing with several bands and has played at venues including Wolf Trap and the Strathmore.
Randy Leith, lead guitar and vocals, is from South Carolina and started picking at age 10. He was part of the Grand Ole Opry, on the tour show, backing and opening for country legends such as Kenny Rogers, Dottie West and George Jones.
The City Slicker Band featuring Debbie Williams Summer Rewind Series upcoming shows and sponsors: June 30 — Walkersville Volunteer Fire Co. carnival, Make N Music; July 4 — Baker Park, country stage, 99.9 WFRE; July 4 — Buckeystown Pub, following the Baker Park show, David Boone & Family; July 13 — Burkittsville Ruritan carnival, South Mountain Creamery; July 14 — Urbana Volunteer Fire & Rescue carnival, Vinny’s Towing and Recovery; July 21 — Jefferson Ruritan carnival, Airport View Signs; Aug. 10 — Rocky Ridge Volunteer Fire Co. carnival, Frederick County Bank; Aug. 18 — Libertytown Volunteer Fire Dept. carnival, Morgan’s American Grill ; Sept. 13 — Jefferson church festival, Frederick County Bank; Sept. 21 — Great Frederick Fair Community Tent, Jim Grimes Trucking.
Keeney & Basford, Colonial Jewelers, N.Z. Cramer & Son Inc. and Milex Complete Auto Care sponsored earlier shows in April, May and June.