Donnie Fritts: Ready For His Close-Up

[caption id="attachment_154617" align="aligncenter" width="600"] photo by Allister Ann[/caption]   This article appears in our September/October 2015 issue, now available on newsstands. Imagine the scene projected larger than life on a theater screen. A grizzled old musician and actor named Donnie Fritts, a hearing aid planted in his ear, plays an ancient Wurlitzer 200a piano while he sings a song called “Errol Flynn” and peers out the window at the Muscle Shoals landscape. His voice may not be pretty, but it does convey a long life full of hard luck and hard work. Behind him stands a young man named John Paul White, late of The Civil Wars, his hair long and his countenance slightly quizzical. He is not sure why he is in this living room. As the song proceeds, Fritts leans back to gauge White’s interest. The young man finds himself holding back tears. “Errol Flynn” ends, but another begins. Then another. In our imagined movie, this is a crucial scene: the climax of our Act 1, when the old man proves that he still has some fight left in him. Flashback: After cutting his teeth in R&B bands touring the South during the early 1960s, Fritts worked at…

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