Four Unplugged & their fans (4-Heads) roll into ‘Bama June 7-10
“It’s a marathon, not a sprint” is the motto as Four Unplugged and the Fourheads roll into the Flora~Bama Lounge this weekend, starting Thursday, June 7.
The Fourheads, as the band’s faithful followers are known, have booked every available condo at Phoenix X for the shows to enjoy a tradition started almost 23 years ago and grows bigger and better every year. With a diverse and popular song selection, the band has a reputation for satisfying fans of rock, funk and country from 18 to 80. Lead singer Ricky Windhorst defines the band’s sound as “good time, dance, party, sing-a-long, booty shakin’ music!”
The band’s original four piece line-up will reunite for an acoustic show inside on June 7 starting at 10 p.m. with some guest appearances. The current 6-piece line up will play outside on Friday and Saturday starting at 6 p.m. During the course of each four hour show they remind 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 non-stop all weekend, many Fourheads requested an earlier show and the ‘Bama was gracious enough to grant their wish, Windhorst said. Four Unplugged will be followed Friday by Oliver Twist and Saturday by the Mario Mena Band.
With a repertoire of hundreds of songs, Four Unplugged generally starts with a set list road map that is very different every night, but that usually goes off the tracks depending on the crowd. 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.
Past band mates, Rick Samson and Dave Lemoine will join Rick and Jan, and other surprise guests during the acoustic show.
The band’s fans put on a show all their own all weekend. “They are the real party and the band is very appreciative of their support,’’ Windhorst said. “Along with following the band at home and to great destinations like Flora-Bama, they also helped Four Unplugged get voted Best Band on the New Orleans Northshore by Sophisticated Women Magazine for the 11th year and recently were voted best band by the Edge Magazine.’’
Tony Corley and crew of See Hear Productions and lighting engineer Steven Accardo greatly add to the show, along with BIG Ronnie Tew.
The band, with a song list of several hundred songs, have 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. We love having such a large and diverse list of songs to choose from,’’ Windhorst said. “We’ve worked up a ton of new songs and plan on bringing back favorites from the band’s 23 year history. All I can say is – get ready.
“The Flora-Bama is such a special place to play,’’ Windhorst added. “I’ve seen interviews with Kenny Chesney and other artists who say the same thing. 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.”
Four Unplugged, which now has more than four members and is plugged in, started with a chance vacation stop at the Flora~Bama by 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 during the heyday of “MTV Unplugged.” 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 and 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.