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franklin county times

Local band members to back up The Crystals

People in this area are used to seeing Gary McNutt, Tim Townley and Paula Lindsey take the stage as Rewind, where their prowess as entertainers is highly celebrated. But this weekend, the three – joined by saxophonist Curtis Buttram – will serve as the back-up band for The Crystals, who will perform Saturday night at the Pastime Theatre in Winfield.
This won’t be the first time this group has backed up the hit girl band of the 1960s. It all started when the group backed up another band as part of a concert series in Fayette.
“In 2013, someone had recommended us to serve as the band for The Coasters,” McNutt said. “So we backed them up, and then we were recommended to Dee Dee (Kenniebrew), the ‘original Crystal,’ and we backed them up in 2014.”
From the get-go, the local group and The Crystals clicked.
“When we played with them last time, (bass player and band director) Andy Martin came up before the show and introduced himself, and we had everything set up, and he said, ‘Let’s just run through this James Brown tune just to get loosened up,’” Townley recalled. “Gary counted it off, and we got about 15 seconds into it, and Andy cuts us off. He said, ‘Man. It’s going to be a good night. You guys rock.’ He liked us.”
Kenniebrew, Patricia Pritchett-Lewis and MelSoulTree liked them too. “They told us, ‘Anytime we’re in the area, we want y’all to serve as our band,’” McNutt said. So, when The Crystals were set to perform in the region again, they got back in touch.
“They called me in September,” Townley said. He called around to all the members, who checked their schedules, and everyone gave the thumbs-up to take the gig.
“We were really impressed with the guys,” Kenniebrew said, reflecting back on their first performance together. “They were all that I had heard.”
Townley and McNutt said the band is excited to play with The Crystals again, embracing the thrill of interacting with performers “who are iconic in the music industry.” “It’s just fun to meet them in person and even more fun to play with them,” McNutt said. “It’s a really entertaining show, and that’s a neat venue – very similar to the Roxy.” It’s a venue the group has also played as Rewind, and for Townley, he’ll be playing in his hometown, as a Winfield native.
And The Crystals are looking forward to performing with them again, as well.
“They’re able to put in the right feel for the songs,” Kenniebrew said. “If you like something, you’re going to do it well, and they do.”
The Crystals perform their hits, including “Uptown,” “He’s A Rebel,” “He’s Sure The Boy I Love,” “Da Doo Ron Ron,” “Then He Kissed Me” and “Rescue Me,” the latter of which is a tune Rewind has also adopted for their shows. The Crystals also do a tribute to other girl bands of the time period.
“We’ve chosen songs everyone is familiar with and enjoys,” Kennibrew said. “It’s a pretty lively show.”
“It’s a very upbeat, entertaining show, and they get the audience to participate,” McNutt agreed. “It’s a lot of fun.”
For the band members, the positive feedback they receive from groups they back up is gratifying.
“We’re like a family. We spend a lot of time together,” Townley said. “We work hard at what we do. When we go out and play, it’s not something that’s been thrown together on a whim. We work at it. We practice. We try to be as polished as we can.”
To purchase a ticket for Saturday’s show, call the Pastime Theatre at 205-487-3002.
“It’s an honor to be asked to do it,” McNutt said.

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