By Jason A. Smith
A nationally-known country music artist says he is looking forward to coming home to Georgia next weekend, to performing in Henry County.
Daryle Singletary will be the featured attraction Saturday, during the Simply Southern Jubilee Bluegrass & Barbecue Festival at Nash Farm Battlefield in Hampton.
Singletary, 37, was born in Cairo, Ga., in 1971. After spending several years as a demo singer, he landed a record deal in 1995 with Giant Records, and released his self-titled album, which included hits such as "Too Much Fun" and "I Let Her Lie." The collection was the first of six during Singletary's career to date.
His most recent affiliation was with Koch Entertainment, which closed four years ago. Despite a lack of promotion from a company for his music, Singletary said he is continuing to write and record songs.
"We've got a record done that we're trying to find a home for," he said.
Singletary, who listened to country music for years before becoming a performer himself, says the singers he counts among his musical influences are George Jones and Randy Travis.
"I'm a big fan of the traditional country music from the 1980s, 1970s and 1960s," he explained. "That's what I grew up on."
He said part of the reason he enjoys music from that era, is because it is "real," and focuses on the messages of the songs, not flashy productions.
"It's about the singers, not how [they] look," he explained. "What came out on tape is what you hear."
The Simply Southern Jubilee is being sponsored by the Henry County Chamber of Commerce, and will also feature a number of bluegrass bands and other activities.
According to Chamber tourism director Sarah Robbins, Singletary's performance will provide a fitting complement to the festival.
"We've got some neat components to this event so that, hopefully, there's something for everyone there," she said. "We're hoping to attract a wide audience."
Singletary, who is touring to promote his 2007 CD, "Straight From the Heart," said he hopes to expand his own audience further by appearing at the festival.
He said events like the one in Hampton this weekend, provide a good venue for achieving that goal.
"People who come to these events, appreciate the same kind of music I do," he said.
In addition, Singletary said he is excited to be returning to his home state.
"Georgia is one of the greatest states in the union, and I always love coming back," he said.
Singletary is scheduled to take the stage at the festival Saturday, at 6:15 p.m.