spent the first 12 years of his life in the small, South Georgia railroad town of Waycross.
Ingram Cecil Connor III, known to the world as Gram Parsons,
It was here in Waycross that he hunted and fished the Okefenokee
Swamp with his daddy, "Coon Dog" Connor; took his first piano lessons
from Bessie Maynard; and at 9 years of age, saw The Louvin Brothers
and met Elvis at the Waycross City Auditorium.
In the late Sixties, Gram Parsons's musical vision changed the course
of modern music, blending honky-tonk, bluegrass, and folk music with
a rock and roll attitude that he called Cosmic American Soul Music.
Writing and recording with The Byrds and The Flying Burrito Brothers; teaching The Rolling Stones the high lonesome harmonies of American
country music; and mentoring his partner in song, Emmylou Harris. . . .
his musical influence, although short-lived, still inspires musicians and
fans around the world to this day.
In July 1973, two young men from Waycross discovered Gram Parsons for the first time. Growing up on Mt. Pleasant Road, playing music together, writing songs, and sharing a common musical bond, Dave Griffin and Billy Ray Herrin have carried the torch for Parsons through the years.
Herrin devoted his free time to learning all he could about Parsons's childhood in Waycross. He has gifted that knowledge freely to authors like Ben Fong-Torres, who wrote "Hickory Wind: The Life and Times of Gram Parsons" , and appeared in the acclaimed BBC documentary "Fallen Angel" , produced by Gandulf Hennig.
In 1999, Herrin was responsible for writing the letter to the Governor of Georgia which led to Gram's induction into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame.
A year earlier, in November 1998, Dave Griffin hosted a small gathering of local musicians in his back yard and called it the 1st Annual Griffin Guitar Pull. It grew in popularity and in 2001, the 4th Annual Gram Parsons Guitar Pull drew about 250 music lovers to his musical residence. "My wife and I woke up Sunday morning and found 8 bare footprints in our bathroom tub...we knew something needed to change!"
From 2002 to the present, the Annual Gram Parsons Guitar Pull and Tribute Festival has been an open-to-the-public event drawing GP fans and appreciators of music from around the world.
Headliners for the yearly festivities have included Walter Egan, Jon Corneal, Lona Heins, The Brooklyn Cowboys, Kevn Kinney, Bernie Leadon, Sneaky Pete Kleinow, The Capricorn Rhythm Section, Jim Lauderdale, Phil Kaufman, Ian Dunlop, Randall Bramblett, Tommy Talton, Leon Russell, Charlie Louvin, Bloodkin, Jim White, Fayssoux Starling, Grayson Capps, Jay Farrar, Elizabeth Cook, Rodney Dillard, Dr. Ralph Stanley, Levi Lowrey, Underhill Rose, Daniel Romano, Burrito Deluxe, Firefall, The Kentucky Headhunters, John Beland, Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives, Larry Murray, Doug Seegers, Rob McNurlin, Abe Partridge, Charlie Starr and Benji Shanks of Blackberry Smoke.
For the first time since it's inception, 2020 and 2021's Guitar Pulls were canceled due to a worldwide pandemic. In place of the normal 3-day outdoor festival, VIRTUAL online events were held featuring videos from Guitar Pull regulars and past headliners, including Ian Dunlop, Walter Egan, and Jim Lauderdale.