Four Unplugged & their fans (4-Heads) roll into ‘Bama June 8-10
It’s time again for Four Unplugged and their band of faithful followers, the Fourheads, to make their annual mark at the Flora~Bama Lounge, as the Louisiana based contingency continues a tradition at the Lounge on the Line that started almost 21 years ago and has grown bigger and better ever since. With a diverse and popular song selection, the band has a reputation for satisfying fans of rock, funk and country, and their following ranges from folks 18 to 80. The band will play an acoustic show in the Flora-Bama main room at 10 a.m. on June 8, and full rock ‘n roll for four hours beginning at 6 p.m. on June 9-10 in the ‘Bama Dome.
When asked what kind of music his band plays, lead singer Ricky Windhorst replied, “It’s good time, dance, party, sing-a-long music!”
Four Unplugged now has more than four members and they are plugged in, but it all started with a chance vacation stop at the Flora~Bama by founding members, Ricky and Jan Windhorst. As they spent the day watching George Ridder and Lonnie Ferguson and the Diving Ducks, they were inspired to form Four Unplugged.
The band took its name from its original line-up of four all-acoustic musicians. But after the first two years, all that changed except the name.
Crowds got larger. Then people wanted to dance so bass and drums were added. Then sax was added. Eventually the band turned into the musical party machine it is today.
“I like to say we call it Four Unplugged because we can’t count, but the truth is that when we started adding more people and instruments the name was so well known and respected that we couldn’t change it,” Windhorst said.
For those wanting a taste of start-up sound, the original four piece line-up will reunite for the June 8 acoustic show. The current six-piece line up will play Friday and Saturday.
During the course of their four hour show, the band reminds the audience that this is a marathon not a sprint. What will make the marathon easier to finish this year is the earlier start time. Because the party is nonstop all weekend, many Fourheads requested an earlier show time and the FloraBama was nice enough to accomodate. Four Unplugged will be followed by the Kyle Wilson Band.
With a repertoire of hundreds of songs, Four Unplugged generally starts with a set list road map, but that usually goes off the tracks depending on the crowd – and that can happen after just a few songs.
Four Unplugged looks at each show as a new adventure and their job is to get the most out of that adventure for the crowd and the band. The group consists of Louisiana Music Hall of Fame members Ricky and Jan Windhorst on vocals and keyboards respectively (Jan also sings). Randy Bidleman is on drums, with Kenny Schneider on guitars and vocals. Jimmy Belew is on saxophone and newest member Craig Courtney handles the bass guitar and vocals. Windhorst says Flora~Bama weekend is his favorite and he is excited about the special acoustic reunion show. Past band mates, Rick Samson and Dave Lemoine will join Rick and Jan and other surprise guests for that show. The acoustic lineup recently performed for a week at the Margaritaville resort in Key West. Like last year, this promises to be a special beginning to an already amazing weekend.
The band’s enthusiastic followers put on a show all their own all weekend. The Fourheads are the real party. Along with following the band to great destinations like Flora-Bama, they helped Four Unplugged get voted Best Band on the New Orleans Northshore by Sophisticated Women Magazine for the 10th year. The band is also very appreciative of their top notch crew led by Tony Corley and Steven Accardo.
The band is not afraid to tackle any and all genres of music, and has been known to play two separate four hour shows without repeating a song.
“Our local fans see us all the time so we keep adding to and changing the set lists,’’ Windhorst said. “We’ve worked up a ton of new songs.’’
Windhorst said playing the Flora-Bama every year is special for the band and its fans.
“I’ve seen interviews with Kenny Chesney and other artists who say the same thing,’’ he said. “It’s hard to explain but it really is a special place for music – all types of music. I think it’s a blend of the vibe, the crowd, the history and the venue. Party music, the beach and the Flora~Bama, it just doesn’t get any better.”