Frogtown Hollow Jam comes to downtown Columbus this weekend

Natalie Stovall is familiar with the response.

"I don't like country music, but I like what you just did."

The Nashville-based fiddle player often hears it after her shows -- and seems to consider the line just as flattering as the more straightforward compliments she receives.

"I grew up obsessing over Michael Jackson and Aerosmith, along with country music," she said in a recent phone interview.

Stovall is among the headliners at this weekend's Frogtown Hollow Jam, held Friday and Saturday at Woodruff Park in downtown Columbus.

Now in its fifth year, the festival spans a variety of musical acts from the Chattahoochee Valley and beyond. It will also include food/drink vendors and kids' activities. Some proceeds will go to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and guests will be able to purchase St. Jude Dream Home Tickets.

Jon Saunders, who founded the event and organizes and promotes it with his wife Tracy, notes that guests will purchase tokens to pay for items from vendors at the festival.

"We've always had good talent," Saunders said. "We just hope that everyone comes out and has a great time and a safe time."

Calling all fiddle fans

Stovall, who has performed at Fort Benning in the past, is excited to join the Frogtown Hollow lineup. "I'm really excited about some of the other performers, too," she said.

What can guests expect from her Saturday night performance? "We try to make sure that there's a little something in there for everybody," she said. "We're all having the most fun on stage when the crowd is having fun."

Stovall said she'll perform original tunes with a few covers thrown into the mix, too.

Want an idea of her cover material? On YouTube, listen to her take on "The Devil Went Down to Georgia," as well as a fiddle medley that includes Stovall's spin on tunes by everyone from Beyonce to AC/DC.

Stovall writes a blog and is active on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. "It allows me to remember people from shows on a more consistent basis," she said, describing how social media has affected her touring.

Stovall seems genuinely invested in her fans, as illustrated by her official website -- which includes a "fun bio" and a "press bio,"

The "fun bio" includes nuggets like this fact: "Before I made my living with music I once got paid to dress up like Tony the Tiger at a Wal-Mart grand opening."

She also writes, "I know it's a great show when I see people trying to sing along with songs that I know they don't know the words to...That's my favorite."

Other noteworthy acts

Stovall is part of a long musical lineup this weekend at Frogtown Hollow. The other headlining performance comes Friday night when John Popper of Blues Traveler performs with local act Whisky Bent. You probably know John Popper from Blues Traveler hits like "Run-Around," "Hook" and "But Anyway."

Another act likely to attract a strong fan base at Frogtown Hollow? Southern Ashe. Richard Hyatt wrote a recent Ledger-Enquirer column about how the local lifelong friends teetered on major stardom 30 years ago.

"Their headquarters was the old Chickasaw Club on Macon Road where rowdy fans lined up outside, groupies pushed against the stage and people put down their beers long enough to tackle the mechanical bull. They opened for some big name acts and, taking to the road, they sold out bars up and down the Eastern Seaboard," he wrote.

And just like the Ledger-Enquirer reporters who covered Southern Ashe in the past, I recently found myself in our office lobby with the band: some original members, some "newbies."

See, that elusive Big Moment never came. That was then. This is now. After disintegrating, Southern Ashe is back together. With their reunion, they will honor a band member who passed away.

They will take the stage at Frogtown Hollow Saturday night for their comeback performance, likely amid longtime fans as well as listeners joining the party for the first time.

Sonya Sorich, reporter, can be reached at ssorich@ledger-enquirer.com or 706-571-8516.

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