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Music Monday: Local Film Hero Also A Georgia Music Mogul

Randall Franks is known as a local film hero in Covington. Born and raised in Georgia, Franks began his acting career on the Tubby and Lester Show at the age of six. His desire to perform was inspired from his favorite shows like The Beverly Hillbillies,  The Andy Griffith Show, and The Jack Benny Show

And of course, everyone around here is familiar with his role as “Officer Randy Goode” on the hit series In the Heat of the Night, filmed entirely in areas all over Covington! 

That show is still his major claim to fame and is currently being broadcast in 150 countries around the world. Randall Franks has appeared in numerous films since In the Heat of the Night, including Hallmark Hall of Fame’s The Flamingo Rising with Academy Award winner William Hurt.

But, did you know that Randall is one of bluegrass music’s brightest stars? As a child, Franks developed a deep love for Georgia fiddlin’. He began playing with Georgia’s fiddle legends such as the Skillet Licker Gordon Tanner and Dallas Burrell, as a young child. Franks even formed the children’s bluegrass band The Peachtree Pickers and became a regular on the “Country Kids TV Series”. The Peachtree Pickers won the State Bluegrass Band Championship for Georgia in 1985. 

The Father of Bluegrass, Bill Monroe, took a special interest in the young fiddler after the Pickers disbanded. Monroe spent hours teaching and sharing with Randall and, after the departure of Kenny Baker, Randall was asked to join the Blue Grass Boys. With more than 200 recordings to his credit, Frank’s music has brought him on stage or in the studio to perform with entertainers in a variety of music fields including Ralph Stanley, Raymond Fairchild, The Whites, Ricky Skaggs, The Lewis Family, The Isaacs, and “Doc” Tommy Scott’s Last Real Old Time Medicine Show. Franks was even asked to be the Musical Consultant for the locally-shot film, Lawless. He also created the Cornhuskers String Band and taught actress Mia Wasikowska to play!

Randall Franks was inducted into the Atlanta Country Music Hall of Fame and Catoosa County designated him “Appalachian Ambassador of the Fiddle” in 2004. The International Bluegrass Music Museum in Owensboro, KY honored him as a Bluegrass Legend in 2011 and in 2013, he was inducted into the Independent Country Music Hall of Fame. What a prestigious career! georgia music mogul

Over all, Randall Franks’ musical stylings have been heard in 150 countries and by more than 145 million people. His musical career boasts 21 album releases, 21 singles, and over 200 recordings with various artists from various genres. He was also in attendance at our “Heat Homecoming” event and cast reunion here in Covington last October. To conclude the day’s activities, Franks was accompanied by fellow Heat cast member Maureen Dowdell and played a musical set with local band Drive Time.

For more information about Randall Franks and his extensive music collection, including the best-selling album “Handshakes and Smiles”, check out his website. CD’s, books, and more can also be purchased here. And to find out more about musical talent in our state, visit Explore Georgia, celebrating the year of #GeorgiaMusic in 2016!



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