Alan Perdue remembered, Bobby Franklin honored

“Bluegrass enthusiasts form a closeknit family of brothers and sisters, brought together by our love of bluegrass music. Last month, we lost a brother, Alan Perdue, when he succumbed to a long battle with cirrhosis of the liver,” shared friend and fellow musician, Kevin Richardson, as he presented the first annual Alan Perdue Memorial Bluegrass Music Appreciation Award at North Carolina’s Seagrove Fiddlers’ Convention last Saturday night.

Richardson, formerly of the Larry Stephenson Band, along with other friends of Perdue, picked, sang, and remembered their special friend. “Alan was happiest playing music with his buddies. You could see the music was within him. It ran through him.”

Both Richardson and Perdue, grew up playing music at Seagrove Fiddlers’ Convention in cental NC, and went on to play music professionally with several popular bluegrass bands. Perdue passed away on February 20 at age 49. His family was present as the first annual award was given in his memory.

Recipient of the award was deejay and emcee Bobby Franklin who also happens to be Richardson’s father-in-law. (Richardson is married to Franklin’s daughter, Crystal, banjoist with Sweet Potato Pie.)

The honoree served as the voice of Asheboro radio for over four decades. Franklin first started spinning records in November 1968 for WGWR, Asheboro’s country music FM station, now known as WKXR. He also emceed numerous events such as Doyle Lawson’s Festival, Big Lick Bluegrass Festival, and worked 42 years as the announcer for the Southeast Old Thresher’s Reunion at Denton FarmPark.

Devoting his life to promoting the music that he loved, Franklin retired in August 2016, leaving the music industry quietly with no hoopla, just the way that he wanted it.

Franklin (whose legal name is Robert Franklin Summey) humbly admitted, “I knew Alan all of his life. I was raised in the same area where he was raised.”

The two shared a love and bond for bluegrass.

“If I had it do over, I’d do it again,” Franklin concluded.

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About the Author

Sandy Hatley

Sandy Chrisco Hatley is a free lance writer for several NC newspapers and Bluegrass Unlimited magazine. As a teenager, she picked banjo with an all girl band called the Happy Hollow String Band. Today, she plays dobro with her husband's band, the Hatley Family.