The centerpiece of the Old-Time Music, Ozark Heritage Festival is the music, and once again, festival goers will be entertained by performers on two stages – the main stage on the east side of the civic center and the 2nd Stage on East Main Street near Court Square.
Headliners for the main stage:
Nora Jane Struthers and The Party Line, a high-energy Nashville based quintet that performs Struthers’ original story-songs with tight three-part harmonies, fiddle, claw-hammer banjo, acoustic guitar, bass and drums.
Nora Jane Struthers and The Party Line will play at 8 p.m., on June 15.
Nora Jane Struthers & The Party Line is a traveling “carnival” of acoustic Americana. The high-energy, Nashville-based quintet performs Struthers’ original story-songs with tight, three-part harmonies over a sound bed featuring fiddle, claw-hammer banjo, acoustic guitar, bass and drums.
Struthers was catapulted into the spotlight in 2010 when she led her band to a blue ribbon performance at the prestigious Telluride Bluegrass Festival band competition. Now, the group is touring heavily in support of their April 16 album release, Carnival.
“When you go to a carnival, you go into a sideshow tent, and on every stage you find a different person with a different story,” she said. “That’s what I’m trying to do with this album – craft vignettes and, in some cases, more developed narratives about imaginary peoples’ lives.
Nora Jane Struthers steps forward with a distinctive sound and on-stage style. Her personal collection of vintage dresses makes her one of the most visually striking of modern acoustic artists.
But the moving, perceptive and witty songs on Carnival represent a new quantum leap, born of hard work and deep creative reflection. “Over the past three years, as I’ve been touring and performing, I realized that primarily I’m a storyteller,” she said. “I’ve been working to hone my skills so I can do that better.
The album marks the recording debut of Struthers’ touring band, The Party Line, which takes it’s name from one of the record’s songs about the early days of rural telephone calls. The gifted group of instrumentalists includes Struthers’ long-time collaborator P.J. George on upright bass, harmony vocals, pedal steel guitar, accordion and banjo; Joe Overton on claw-hammer banjo and harmony vocals; Aaron Jonah Lewis on fiddle, three-finger banjo, baritone fiddle and mandolin; and Drew Lawhorn on drums.
Virginia-born Struthers was educated at New York University’s Steinhart School of Education. She taught at a charter school in Brooklyn while cutting her teeth as a folk-rock performer in New York clubs like CBGBs and the Cutting Room. In 2008, she decided to make music her full-time career after attending such convocations as Virginia’s Galax Old Time Fiddlers Convention and North Carolina’s Mount Airy Fiddlers Convention with her father.
She made her recording debut in “Dirt Road Sweetheart,” a duo with her father, which released the album I Heard the Bluebirds Sing in 2008. Shortly afterward, she moved from New York to Nashville and in 2010 recorded her solo debut Nora Jane Struthers with such Nashville masters a multi-instrumentalist Tim O’Brien and fiddler Stuart Duncan. The album received ecstatic reviews.
Shortly after taking first place at Telluride, she and George teamed up with Bearfoot and released American Story on Nashville’s Compass Records in September 2011. The album featured six songs either written or co-written by Struthers; one of them, “Tell Me a Story,” became a top-rated video on CMT. While Struthers calls her time with the group “definitely a step up for me, and a very positive experience,” she recommitted in late 2012 to touring with her own band.
See their website: http://www.norajanestruthers.com or join them on Facebook:
The Flatlanders will take the stage at 8 p.m., June 14.
The Flatlanders, a legendary 1970s traditional/alternative country music group home-based in Texas featuring singer/songwriters Jimmy Dale Gilmore, Joe Ely and Butch Hancock.
Described by many as the “founding fathers” of Americana music, The Flatlanders – Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Butch Hancock – developed their unique sound on the cotton-growing plains near Lubbock, Texas, in the early 1970s, combining the traditional sounds of country music with their own creative touches.
The life-long friends became known for their poetic lyrics and superior musicianship and quickly developed a cult following, thanks in part to their 1972 appearance at the Kerrville Folk Festival, where they were named one of the winners of the festival’s inaugural New Folk Singer/Songwriter Competition.
At the urging of a DJ, the group, which had only performed a few times publicly, made its first album-length recording that same year at a small studio in Odessa, Texas, on reel-to-reel tapes, but for reasons no one remembers, the tracks sat unused for decades.
A couple of months following this first recording session, the group was again asked to lay down tracks, this time for Sun Studios in Memphis, Tenn. Although well known among music fans for its catalog of early performers, including Elvis Presley, the studio was just a shadow of its former glory by that time, and the songs The Flatlanders recorded received little attention and no airplay.
After a few more performances, the group decided to disband, but Ely, Gilmore and Hancock remained good friends. Each went on to have very successful solo careers as singers and songwriters briefly reunited at the Kerrville Folk Festival in the late 1980s.
It wasn’t until 1998, however, when they were asked to write a song for the motion picture “The Horse Whisperer,” that the trio began considering reuniting to record new material. The result of that collaborative effort was the release of the critically acclaimed Now Again in May 2002 and Wheels of Fortune in January 2004. They came together again in 2009 to release Hills and Valleys.
In August 2012, after 40 years in storage, the tapes recorded at the studio in Odessa were rediscovered, and to celebrate the group’s 40th anniversary, The Odessa Tapes were released. The pristine recordings of that first session capture without any polish the special blend of country, folk, roots and cosmic energy The Flatlanders pioneered.
Join the discussions on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Flatlanders/112627958749016
The Franz Family 6 p.m. June 15.
The Franz Family of Berryville, Ark., which has performed a variety of traditional music in Branson for many years.
The Franz Family is comprised of four siblings who grew up playing music together in the hills of the Ozarks. Their parents, being musicians, brought them up on the stages of Branson singing and playing their little hearts out.
As they grew, they also developed a deep respect and love for the nature of music – the way it draws hearts together and expresses emotions never uttered in conversation. Their roots are dipped in bluegrass, yet they have created their own style over time, adding touches of the rock and folk genres to create a truly unique sound.
The Franz Family toured the U.S. full-time for 20 years and in 2011 decided to settle down and start their own families. While no longer touring, the family still holds tightly to their love of music and making it together; if you’re lucky enough to catch an appearance, you’re in for a treat.
Watch for more information on Facebook:
King Clarentz 6 p.m., June 14;
Blues performer/folk artist King Clarentz (a.k.a. Clarence Brewer) from southern Missouri
Clarence Brewer, aka “King Clarentz,” of Springfield, Mo., is one of the last old-time African American “stomp and moan” Delta style blues players native to southern Missouri. In the tradition of Robert Johnson, “Homesick” James, Son House, Lead Belly and John Lee Hooker, King Clarentz performs depression era and early 20th century “race music blues,” which serves as the root form of much of today’s popular music, including jazz, rock, R&B and modern country.
Known throughout the Ozarks as a blues musician, sculptor and painter, King Clarentz spent years honing his musical skills in the Ozark hills and the San Francisco Bay area. A photo of one of his torch-cut metal works served as the cover art for his debut album, King Clarentz, in 1999.
In 2000, he was invited to the prestigious Blues Estafette in the Netherlands, where he was featured not only as a performer, but also as a visual artist with prints of his metal carvings on display.
His latest album, Day of the Supermodel released in 2008, remains true to the Delta blues style that first garnered him attention, but it also branches out into rawer, grungier terrain. His unique punk twist on the traditional genre appeals to rock fans and blues purists, both young and old.
Because home state concert performances are rare for King Clarentz, there will be a small exhibit of visual arts, including sculpture, paint, and printed works, addressing a range of agrarian and rural themes at the festival.
King Clarentz is on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/king.clarentz
King Clarentz and The Flatlanders will take the stage at 6 and 8 p.m., respectively, June 14, while The Franz Family and Nora Jane Struthers and The Party Line will play at 6 and 8 p.m., respectively, on June 15.
ALSO APPEARING ON THE MAIN STAGE:
Allison Williams – 4 p.m. Saturday, June 15
A native of the Arkansas Ozarks, Allison got her start as a punk rock musician before she rediscovered her musical roots. Several years in the mountains of North Carolina educated her in Appalachian banjo techniques, especially the fast, distinctive styles of Hobart Smith and Wade Ward.
In 2005, she formed the Forge Mountain Diggers, a hard-driving old-time band, with Freight Hoppers fiddler David Bass. The Diggers toured internationally for three years, sharing stages with Rhonda Vincent, Donna the Buffalo, and other titans of the roots music scene.
Allison’s solo CD, Give Me the Roses, came out in autumn 2008 and featured driving arrangements of traditional old-time songs, as well as eclectic originals, woven together by a talented backing band of rising stars – alumni of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, Old Crow Medicine Show and more.
Since then she has toured internationally, playing to a sold-out Barbican Hall in London, as part of the BBC’s “Folk America” special, and backing folk legend Michelle Shocked on her 2010 east coast tour.
Making her home again in the Ozark Mountains, Allison, when not on the road with her Hot Ash String Band, does live and studio sound, works with Southern folklore, and plays upright bass with The Western Fling.
Alvie Dooms and Friends – Dueling Fiddlers – 1 p.m. Friday, June 14
It will be just like old times – almost – for Alvie Dooms of Ava when he is joined on the main stage by students of longtime friend, fellow Douglas County resident and nationally renowned master fiddler, the late Bob Holt.
Dooms, who played rhythm guitar to support Holt’s fiddle throughout Holt’s career, will take up the guitar again as David Scrivner, Forsyth, and Ashley Hull Forrest, Norwood, perform old-time fiddle tunes and fiddle harmonies they learned from the master.
Dooms also is considered a master of his craft by the Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program of the Missouri Folk Arts Program. Both Scrivner and Forrest studied for years with Holt, honing their skills and becoming acclaimed musicians in their own right. When not on stage, Scrivner is a professor at the College of the Ozarks in Branson, and Forrest works as an OB nurse at Mercy Hospital in Springfield.
Joining the trio will be Nathan McAlister of Neosho, who will play back-up banjo and, possibly, join in as a third fiddler. McAlister studied fine arts at Missouri Southern State University in Joplin and teaches fiddle, banjo and guitar.
Photo by T.J. Jones, Scenic Root Photography
The Baker Family – 5 p.m. Saturday, June 15
The Winona-based Baker Family is making quite a name for itself among area bluegrass circles. The group, which features mom Carrie, sons Trustin (age 14) and Elijah (age 9), and daughter Carina (age 11), is a contracted act at Silver Dollar City in Branson and won the 2012 Hoe Down Award for the George D. Hay Association and the 2011 Baker Creek Band Contest in Mansfield.
Trustin’s fiddle-playing skill has earned him numerous titles, including Missouri Junior State Champion Fiddler twice, Arkansas Junior State Champion Fiddler twice, Texas Freshman State Champion Fiddler and Grand Lakes Junior Champion Fiddler.
Carina adds mandolin and vocals when the group plays, and her skills as an old-time jig dancer has earned her a third place finish in the old-time dance competition in Tennessee.
Elijah plays upright bass and sings, and Carrie adds guitar and vocals to the group’s performances.
Emily Dowden Estes – 4 p.m. Friday, June 14
Emily Dowden Estes has been a musician-singer-songwriter of bluegrass, folk and Americana music nearly all her life and developed her skills in the scenic, country setting of the Ozarks. She was born in Springfield and raised on her father’s 1,000-acre dairy farm in Wright County. It was there she began performing regionally. At age sixteen she moved to Mtn. View, Ark., with her sisters to pursue their growing music career. They were regular employees at the Ozark Folk Center along with many other venues. Eventually the sisters landed in Asheville, NC Emily toured for over a decade with her family band, “The Dowden Sisters,” performing at music festivals and concerts across the U.S. and parts of Canada. While in Asheville, Emily continued touring to venues that included, in part, the John C. Campbell Folk School in North Carolina, Silverton Jubilee in Colorado, Jerusalem Ridge Bluegrass Celebration in Kentucky, Silver Dollar City in Missouri, the Traditional Music Festival in Illinois, Fathers’ Day Bluegrass Festival in California, and the Prince Edward Island Bluegrass and Old Time Music Festival in Canada. The girls never really got involved much with the contests scene, because they were more interested in entertaining, as music was their livelihood. However, they did enter a few contests just for fun. They won a few contests including first place for the Old-Time String Band competition during “The Uncle Dave Macon Days” in Murfreesboro, Tenn. The girls ranked fifth among 70-plus entries at the North Carolina Fiddlers’ Convention, where she also won the clawhammer banjo championship. She won the same title in the junior division there a few years earlier. After living in North Carolina for five years, Emily moved back to her native Missouri Ozarks to pursue college and other interests and be close to her relatives. She married Kyle Estes in 2009 and, after earning her Bachelor of Arts degree in creative writing-English from Missouri State University in 2011, she chose music for her career path once again. She formed a new group, the “Emily Dowden Band” and will release her first solo project later this year. In 2012, Emily joined the cast of “Kelly’s Kountry Junction” a comedy/variety/country music television show on PBS, based out of Joplin. The “Hee-Haw” themed show has gained over a million viewers. Emily can be seen on the show weekly. She is also a regular entertainer at the Baker Creek Garden/Seed Co. in Mansfield, where she was delegated to shoot a little music video, playing the character of “Red Wing” as PR for the seed company and festival. It was filmed in the pioneer village and gardens at Bakersville.
In addition to performing music, Emily also is a music instructor at Palen Music Center in Springfield, where she gives private clawhammer banjo and ukulele lessons. She strives to keep the art and customs of traditional Ozarks music alive and well, by teaching it to others. Aside from music, Emily is utilizing her creative writing degree by penning her first novel and also is an Independent Consultant for “Arbonne” an all-natural health, wellness, and cosmetics’ company. She does not have an official web page yet, but does have a Facebook fan page. You can “like” her at https://www.facebook.com/emily.dowden.band
The Colbert Brothers – 10 a.m. Saturday, June 15
Old-time music has been a family tradition for generations for Colbert Brothers Van, Vernon and John, all of whom hail from Willow Springs, Mo. “Mom and Dad instilled in us the love of their music, and to this day we play, sing and remember,” said Van, who is known for his unique “two-finger” roll style on banjo.
The Colbert’s grandfather, Hall Colbert, moved the family from the Buffalo River region of Arkansas during the Depression years. He and his wife, Ethel, their four boys, Leon, Bob, Truett and John, and their four daughters, Geneva, Gladys, Jewell and Marge, traveled by horse and wagon to the Howell County community of Amy where they established new roots and Hall preached as a Baptist minister and sang.
All of the children sang a cappella in a deep, nasal hill-country style that needed no accompaniment, and memories of their voices together or solo during family reunions can still raise the hair on the back of Van’s neck.
The Colbert’s father, Joseph Truett, who was named for a famous turn-of-the-century minister, taught himself to play a banjo he built by stretching a groundhog skin over the hoop for a head. He taught Van’s older brothers to chord the guitar and enjoyed playing along once they could carry a tune.
Truett learned to play the banjo from Homer Treat, a performer featured on volume one of the “Echoes of the Ozarks” album. Mother Vernieca May (Easley) Colbert also was a beautiful singer and lady, Van said, and before she passed away earlier this year, they could always encourage her to sing “Beautiful Brown Eyes,” “Red River Valley,” “Maple on the Hill” and “Wildwood Flower” to their accompaniment.
Brother Leon Colbert of Wichita, Kan., has joined brothers Van, Vernon and John on fiddle.
The Falcon Family – Opening Ceremony – 11 a.m. Friday, June 14
The Falcon Family of Springfield will present a cultural exchange of Native American song and dance representing several tribes – Navajo, Ottawa, Ojibwe, Apache and Lakota. The family has performed at powwows throughout the United States, sharing their heritage and culture through traditional song and dance. Among these venues has been First Night in Springfield, the Celebration of Nations in Rolla, the Strawberry Festival in Plant City, Fla., and the Springfield Multicultural Festival.
The Farnum Family – 2 p.m. Friday, June 14, and 2 p.m. Saturday, June 15
With influences of bluegrass, folk, gospel, Irish, old-time standards, and cowboy and western, their diverse blend of music is styled in an acoustic string-band fashion with five-string banjo, fiddle, guitar, mandolin and upright bass, supported by piano, pennywhistle and occasional Bodhran, washboard, resophonic guitar and harmonica.
The Farnum Family’s homespun and entertaining presentations, whether for music festival, theater concert, church congregation, school assembly or RV park, is suitable for all ages.
Band members include Norm, the father, who serves as the band leader, picks five-string banjo and rhythm guitar, sings lead and harmony vocals, and has nearly 40 years of stage experience under his belt. His musical credits include five seasons at Silver Dollar City, three at The Roy Clark Theatre and seven aboard the Lake Queen paddle wheeler, often accompanied by his wife Trish. At the 2012 Grand Lakes Festival, he placed second in the banjo competition.
Mom Trish is the pianist for the group. She is featured on lead and harmony vocals and plays the pennywhistle. She grew up playing music in church and for recitals, school concerts and 4-H programs. In 1987, she first performed in Branson playing the ragtime piano for the vaudeville show at the Shepherd of the Hills before joining Norm on the Lake Queen cruise performances.
Son Daniel, 20, plays upright bass and provides his rich baritone voice as lead vocal on many songs. Son Benjamin, 18, primarily plays mandolin, but also provides guitar and harmonica to tunes when needed, and sings just enough harmony to be dangerous. He took second place on the mandolin at the 2012 Grand Lakes Festival.
Daughter Hannah, 15, handles most of the instrumental leads for the band, sings sweet gospel and bluegrass songs and provides harmony vocals. A student of world class and state champion fiddle player Ricky Boen, she placed fourth at the 2011 and 2012 Branson Fiddle Fests, second at the 2012 Grand Lakes American Heritage Music Festival in Grove, Okla., and third in the Walnut Valley Old Time Fiddle Championship in Winfield, Kan.
Son Nathaniel, 13, sings some gospel and specialty numbers and is learning to play the lap-slide resophonic guitar. He also adds Ozark-style percussion with spoons, washboard and the Irish Bodhran. Daughter Maggie, nine, sings lead and plays fiddle, providing some sweet duets with Hannah. She placed second at the 2012 Branson Fiddle Fest. Seven-year-old son Matthew often joins Maggie on gospel and novelty tunes.
This award-winning group has played venues in numerous states across the nation, averaging over 100 live performances a year. They were first invited to play at Silver Dollar City’s Bluegrass and BBQ Festival in 2005 and have been invited back every year since. They also were awarded a scholarship to attend the O’Flaherty Irish Music Retreat in Midlothian, Texas, in October 2009 and 2011, and in 2012, they toured for five weeks in the Rio Grande Valley for the Winter Texans. In addition, they performed for the July Fourth Stampede Parade in Cody, Wyo., in 2011 and 2012.
Julie Henigan – 3 p.m. Friday, June 14
Julie grew up in Springfield, Mo., with old-time music on her doorstep. Famed fiddler Art Galbraith lived a block away, the Max Hunter Song Collection could be found at the nearby public library, and old-time music parties were just a short drive away. Other musical influences from the Ozarks have included Almeda Riddle, Glenn Ohrlin and Bob Holt.
But Julie also found inspiration in her music from Appalachian singers and musicians like Jean Ritchie, Lily May Ledford and Virginia ballad singer Eunice Yeatts MacAlexander, as well as folk revival musicians Tom Paley and Peggy Seeger.
Known for her unerring command of the distinct, but related, idioms of southern American and traditional Irish music, Julie sings and plays finger-style guitar, clawhammer banjo and fiddle – instruments she uses for both song accompaniments and solo pieces.
She has spent a great deal of time in Ireland studying the song tradition and learning from fiddlers around the country. As music critic Philippe Varlet has commented, “Julie can go from American-style traditional songs like ‘Going Across the Sea’ to (traditional Irish songs) and be equally comfortable in either style.” At the festival, though, she will concentrate on her American repertoire, especially that of the Ozarks.
Julie’s performances have been characterized as “mesmerizing,” her vocals “stunning” and her instrumental work as “absolutely superior.” She has performed solo in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom and Ireland, and as a member of a number of Irish and old-time bands, including Missouri Girls with Barbara Weathers and Kim Lansford. She has shared the stage with a variety of singers and musicians, including Tom Paley, Chirps Smith and Irish super group Altan.
Author of two Mel Bay books on open-tuned finger-style guitar, Julie also has a highly lauded CD on the Waterbug label entitled American Stranger.
New Kentucky Colonels – 1 p.m. Saturday, June 15
Known as premier musicians, songwriters, performers and promoters, the New Kentucky Colonels have over 130 years of combined musical experience under their belts. They are dedicated to playing and preserving the music made popular by Bill Monroe with their high energy, high quality and entertaining style.
The New Kentucky Colonels have performed with many of the big names in bluegrass and at many prominent venues, including Opryland, Gibson Bluegrass Showcase, Station Inn, the Grand Ole Opry, the Country Music Hall of Fame, the International Bluegrass Museum and the Jerusalem Ridge Festival at Bill Monroe’s home place in Rosine, Ky.
They also have appeared on the RFD-TV show “Cumberland Highlander” and been invited to tour overseas in the former Czechoslovakia, Japan, Italy and Canada.
Members include Colonel Eric Lewis, Alex Hilliker, Bobby Glendy and Jimmy Wingo. Born and raised in southern Missouri, Lewis started his music career at 15 when he bought a cheap guitar. He learned the chords from seasoned musicians and began attending music parties at the homes of friends. He was a member of the country/bluegrass band Erma Lee and the Hilltoppers, who performed every Saturday morning on KWPM in West Plains and at festivals and contests. He later joined the Heart of the Ozarks Bluegrass Association and played at many festivals, fairs and other music events. He formed Southern Missouri Bluegrass in 1981 and began a long career performing and recording. He was commissioned a Kentucky Colonel by the state’s governor in 2006. The honorary title recognizes worthy recipients who promote the ideals of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Lewis plays rhythm guitar and provides lead and harmony vocals for the group.
Born and raised in Mtn. Home, Ark., Hilliker trained in classical violin but discovered his true love was bluegrass. He played the fiddle for four years and was recruited to the New Kentucky Colonels in 2008. In 2010, he added banjo playing to his list of accomplishments and was a major part of the group’s recording Quilt of Memories. He plays lead fiddle and banjo.
Glendy was born and raised in Nebraska but moved with his family to Tennessee where he began playing the guitar at age six. He worked as a staff musician in Nashville for several years before moving to Mtn. View, Ark., where he played with numerous groups and individuals. He joined New Kentucky Colonels in 2013 as lead guitarist and provides lead and harmony vocals.
Wingo was born and raised in Tuckerman, Ark., and began playing music at an early age. He is proficient on guitar, drums, upright bass and bass guitar and joined the New Kentucky Colonels in 2010, at which time he received the Kentucky Colonel commission. He sings lead and harmony for the group and plays upright bass and bass guitar.
Old Pops and the Daisies – 11 a.m Saturday, June 15
An accomplished banjoist, guitarist and fiddler, Fiddlin’ Banjo Billy Mathews has been a fixture in old-time string music circles in the Ozarks and surrounding regions for over 40 years. He also is founder of the Phippsburg Banjo Company, which produced more than 150 handmade banjos from 1975 to 1992.
From 1985 to 1995, Billy was a member of the Skirtlifters, a northwest Arkansas-based ensemble that performed extensively throughout the Midwest and South and attained critical acclaim for its historically-informed renditions of 19th and early 20th century string band music.
He continues to travel frequently, teaching and performing music of string band traditions in many different contexts, both as a soloist and in collaboration with other musicians. He often has lead workshops and instructional programs in various settings.
Mathews has made more than 20 album-length recordings, which are available via his website, www.banjobilly.net. His latest collaboration with The Old Time Players (Paul and Christine Breen) is a collection of rag, waltzes, Schottische’s and cakewalks.
Mathews will perform as one third of Old Pops and the Daisies. The trio mixes up Ozark stories, music and merriment. The other two thirds of the group consider him their mentor. They are banjoist Christine Breen of Champaign, Ill., and fiddler Suzi Vause of Ellsinore, Mo. Christine is an accomplished old-time clawhammer banjo player, and Vause is involved in traditional arts in southeast Missouri, not only as a musician but also as a fiber artist.
Old Pops and the Daisies have performed at ArtFest and several other events in Missouri, Illinois and Arkansas in recent years and will be making a return performance to the Old-Time Music, Ozark Heritage Festival. When hillbillies gather, you never know what will be the outcome. Enjoy this group for their performance full of genuine hokum.
Possum Holler Fiddlers – 12 noon Saturday, June 15
The Possum Holler Fiddlers of Branson, Mo., got their start in summer 2008 following a fiddle camp hosted by Bob and Karlene McGill in Mtn. View, Ark. Since then, three more camps have been held in Branson, all of which resulted in new members to the group.
Since their first appearance at Silver Dollar City, the group has performed 75 times at churches, festivals and other venues in southwest Missouri. In addition, they’ve entertained audiences at the Shriners Children’s Hospital in St. Louis, Mo., the 2011 Fringe Art Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland, and most recently, at the White House in Washington, D.C.
The group, made up of young fiddlers throughout southwestern Missouri, is dedicated to preserving traditional Ozark music through fiddling.
Members include fiddlers Kindra Harris, Dalton Pennington, Amanda Murphree-Roberts, Jeff Rosinbaum, Emmalene Murphree-Roberts, Casey Ritchie, Brett Dudenhoeffer and Jamison Horn; fiddler/guitarist Andy Harris; and guitarist Sarah Jean.
SHEL – 3 p.m. Saturday, June 15
The high-altitude town of Fort Collins, Colo., is abundant in bicycles, awash in craft beer and rich in arts of all kinds. Understanding the town’s unique cultural brew begins to explain the novel sound of SHEL.
Four sisters, raised in an atmosphere of creative freedom and diligent study, have honed their musical skills surgically sharp and blended their personalities and visions into a unified whole. They are a vocal group with outstanding instrumental capabilities and an instrumental group with a thrilling vocal attack. From their fetching, unpredictable songs to their whimsical, hand-made top hats, SHEL makes a profound impression, something they are doing to growing crowds and critical acclaim.
Sisters Sarah (violin, bass), Hannah (piano, keyboards), Eva (mandolin, cello) and Liza (drums, percussion) were born within five years of each other. Raised and homeschooled by a professional songwriter father and an artist mother, the dove into music young. Hannah was first to take classical lessons on piano. Then it was Sarah on violin, Liza on harp and Eva on mandolin. Liza switched to the drums upon discovery of her passion for polyrhythm. Then in the early 2000s, they started working up and performing songs with their father. Over time, Eva stepped forward as the lead vocalist.
Nestled within SHEL’s enveloping sound, wisps of folk revival, vaudeville, renaissance fairs and steam-punk esthetic blur around one another. Allusions abound to their core influences – The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Harry Nilsson and acoustic super group Strength In Numbers – but you’ve never heard their brand of music before.
SHEL has achieved many benchmarks that point to a full and fruitful career ahead. They’ve played public radio’s Etown, Echoes, South by Southwest, Nashville’s Music City Roots, Lilith Fair and numerous other distinguished festivals. In addition, they have songs in national television ad campaigns for Splenda, Glade and a song featured in the CBS series “Jersey Girl.”
Sunnyside Up Band – 12 noon Friday, June 14
Current band members include Dean VonAllmen on fiddle, George (Bryan) Spence on rhythm guitar and singing tenor, Pansey Bond on rhythm guitar and singing lead and alto, Rebecca White on bass fiddle and singing lead and alto, and Ed McKinney playing lead guitar and mandolin and singing lead and baritone.
Joining these core members at this year’s festival will be Carl Trantham on rhythm guitar and singing lead and tenor, and Roy Bond playing banjo, guitar and mandolin and singing lead and tenor.
Dean, George, Pansey and Ed have been singing all their lives at church and in various performing groups over the years. Rebecca is a music teacher in the Licking, Mo., school system and is a multi-instrumentalists and highly talented vocalist.
For many years, Carl led a professional bluegrass group called The Highlanders and traveled extensively across the United States performing. Roy is an amazing talent who is firmly engrossed in bluegrass music. He is a prodigy on the banjo, guitar and mandolin and has an extensive repertoire of bluegrass songs.
Thomas Maupin and Daniel Rothwell – Opening ceremony 11 a.m., and 5 p.m. Friday, June 14
One of America’s best known buckdancers, Thomas Maupin is a true legend and master of his craft. The recipient of the Tennessee State Governor’s Folklife Heritage Award, Old-Time Herald Heritage Award and the Uncle Dave Macon Days Trailblazer Award, Thomas has won over 60 first place titles, including the national buckdancing championship, which he has won six times, and state championships in Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama, to name a few.
He is the subject of the film Let Your Feet Do The Talkin, broadcast on The Documentary Channel on several occasions. He is one of 25 artists featured in Robert Cogswell’s Tradition: Tennessee Lives& Legacies and has been the subject of many articles.
At age 70, Thomas hasn’t lost a step and is still a sought-after performer at festivals and events around the country. Through his performances, audiences are re-introduced to old-time mountain music buckdancing, an Appalachian folk dance with roots reaching back to English and Welsh step dancing. Described as a shuffling, countrified tap dance, buckdancing plays an important role in the documentary, showing how an art form interweaves with family, fellowship and tradition.
Thomas is accompanied in many of his performances by his grandson, Daniel Rothwell, who plays clawhammer banjo. Daniel was introduced to the old-time style of banjo playing at age two when he saw Leroy Troy perform. Since then, he studied the craft at festivals he attended with his grandfather, and with a few tips from the masters, he taught himself how to play.
Daniel has won many competitions across the South, including the 2010 national championship and the 2011 Tennessee state championship. He has performed at the Grand Ole Opry, Merlefest, the Ryman Auditorium, IBMA’s Kids on Bluegrass and the Old Time Opry Variety Show.
Daniel always entertains audiences with his skills and jokes, and he shares his love and respect for such past musicians as Uncle Dave Macon, Stringbean, Grandpa Jones and Bashful Brother Oswald.
Watch the 2nd Stage Facebook page for updates.
2nd Stage Artists Information
A second venue at the 19th annual Old-Time Music, Ozark Heritage Festival is giving up-and-coming musicians in the area an opportunity to put their spin on the old-time music that serves as the basis of this annual event in downtown West Plains, Mo.
Organizers said the 2nd Stage on East Main Street near Court Square is designed to bridge the gap between the generations of musicians in an effort to keep the traditional music of the area alive and well through the interpretations of the new performers.
“The idea of the 2nd Stage is that music is always revolving and evolving,” said 2nd Stage coordinator Mat Crouse. “I’m pretty sure the reason we have bands like Mumford & Sons around is because they got into their parents old records. They took what they learned from those records and had fun with it. We want young performers from the area to do their own versions of the old-time music and some newer stuff in the old-time style – just have fun with it!”
Several area performers have accepted the challenge and will be taking the stage at the 2nd Stage during the festival. They include:
West Plains resident Brady Peterson has been singing “since I was practically born” and played guitar “since I was nine.” She wrote her first song in eighth grade, “and I haven’t quit since.”
She describes her music as “a mix of everything. I have a different way of expressing myself through my music.” Her musical influences include Taylor Swift, Lesley Roy and Avril Lavigne.
Brady will perform at noon (12 p.m.) June 14 and 11 a.m. June 15.
Clean Cut Vagabonds
Originally from West Plains, this Springfield-based duo is a straight acoustic band that loves playing music that’s real and loves telling stories through lyrics and guitar. Members include Cort Gamblin and Jake Brown.
Clean Cut Vagabonds will perform at 1 p.m. June 14 and noon (12 p.m.) June 15.
Collide Worship Band was formed in 2009 by good friends given the opportunity to lead worship at local camps and rallies. With frontman Travis Montgomery’s songwriting, Collide soon turned into a proper band, writing and performing original music alongside other contemporary worship songs and hymns.
Now based at Ozark Christian College in Joplin, Mo., the band has come together as four talented, servant-hearted individuals who take no opportunity for granted. Whether it’s leading worship from a stage or building friendships in a gym, Collide Worship Band seeks to encourage the Bride of Christ with everything.
Members include Chase Michael Marcus on drums, Justin Dewell on bass, Creighton “CJ” Tamerius on guitars, vocals and keyboards, and Montgomery on vocals, guitars and keyboards.
Collide Worship Band will play at 7 p.m. each day.
Based in Springfield, Mo., the band was founded by Grant Hamby and Daniel Meade. Although other band members change from time to time, common interests and goals of creativity and uniqueness remain the core foundation of its artistry.
“We try to create music that intrigues and surprises but remains fun and interactive,” they said. “We are influenced by art in all of its various forms, including visual art, and we especially like to study historical artists who broke traditional molds and thought outside the box, like Pablo Picasso.
“We also attempt to draw lyrical and musical influence from the cosmos and the numerous theories that attempt to explain how everything works together. We like to keep our lyrics below surface-level to provide thought, and we consider ourselves to be heavily metaphorical,” they added.
They describe their sound as “dynamic” and “versatile,” and say they cover a broad range of sounds, including folk. They typically utilize harmonies with two male vocals and a soft female vocal to create a “pleasant spectrum.” “We write our own music, but we also are constantly learning a variety of cover songs ranging from well-known praise and worship to under-the-radar indie music,” they said.
In addition to Hamby and Meade, current band members include Jason Bromley, Chris Olson and Becca Graham.
Contact – The Band will play at 4 p.m. each day.
This up-and-coming band from West Plains consists of three friends who love doing anything musical. Their goals are not only to reach out and witness to anyone who will listen, but also to form a ministry by pursuing their dreams as musicians and followers of Jesus Christ.
The band’s name was inspired by the verse Isaiah 6:8, symbolizing their willingness to go wherever God’s will allows and whenever He calls them to do so.
Members include Joe Brown on guitar, Jon Waggoner on drums and Kelcee Waggoner on vocals.
Here I Am will perform at 5 p.m. each day.
OH the FIRE
Since 2010, West Plains-based OH the FIRE has been filling the Ozark hills of southern Missouri with heartfelt worship and heavy, energetic music.
When worship musicians at lead guitarist Tony Meza’s church wanted an outlet to branch out into other styles and venues, OH the FIRE was born. After a few lineup changes over the years, members now feel the band is stronger than ever with a more cohesive vision.
Each member brings his own strengths and influences to the table. From the band’s beginnings playing small youth rallies, OH the FIRE has shared the stage with such acts as Tooth & Nail, Sent by Ravens and Nine Lashes, Life on Repeat and Outline in Color.
OH the FIRE’s 2011 four-song EP “End of Reason” showcases the band’s musical diversity, with the pop-punk “End of Reason” and “You are God,” heavy worship rock anthem “To You,” and the soulfully acoustic “Hallelujah.”
After the release, OH the FIRE continued on a heavier path, with “Taken, “ and “Where I Belong,” before writing and recording the toned-down “Black and White,” a painfully honest cry to God.
The band members’ influences include Emery, Underoath/Aaron Gillespie and Memphis May Fire. Former Memphis May Fire guitarist Ryan Bentley is mixing and engineering OH the FIRE’s upcoming EP.
“We just want to be real with all of our listeners,” Meza said of the band’s vision. “Through our music, we want them to know there is hope in growing and that hope is in Jesus. We want to bring a fresh new sound and a fresh new way of growing.”
Members Meza and vocalist Taylor Hall will perform at 3 p.m. June 14. Hall will be joined by David Piatnitsky at 3 p.m. June 15.
Olivia Powers with Jerry Arnold
This duo hails from West Plains and will perform Southern Gospel church numbers at 10 a.m. June 15.
A multi-instrumentalist and highly talented vocalist, Rebecca White teaches music in the Licking, Mo., school system, but enjoys sharing the love of God with others through her music.
She said she loves music that’s “melodically and harmonically pleasing,” including folk, big band, bluegrass, symphonic, instrumental, vocal and Christian contemporary. “I perform big band, jazz, patriotic, Christian inspirational and contemporary music, bluegrass, love songs, and originals,” she said.
Although singing is her first love, she plays guitar, piano, fiddle, mandolin and upright bass. She also provides piano accompaniment and writes background tracks for covers and original music.
“I look forward to sharing with you what the Lord has invested in me and taught me through the years, but also how He’s shown me that every person is valuable to Him, and how music touches the soul, so I pray that you will be encouraged through my music,” she said.
In addition to performing on the 2nd Stage at 2 p.m. June 14, she will join the Sunnyside Up Band on the main stage at noon that same day.
The Xane Bateman Band
Based in West Plains, the Xane Bateman Band consists of Stephen Manley playing acoustic guitar, trombone and providing vocals; JoHanna Bateman playing guitar and providing vocals; and Josiah Tombley playing the mandolin.
The group performs foot-stomping renditions of church music and modern songs and offers new twists on old hymns.
The three band members have been friends for some time, and all have been involved in the music ministries at their respective churches. “Our main goal is not for people to watch us up on a stage, but instead hear praises to God and give them back to Him, the one who set us free,” they said.
The Xane Bateman Band will perform at 2 p.m. June 15.
The Grove Worship Band
The Grove Worship Band from First Baptist Church in West Plains is singing hymns, contemporary worship tunes in traditional style and original pieces at 1 p.m. June 15. Band members include Joe Hamby, drums; Doug Vargas, bass; Philip Vargas, guitar; Audrey Russell, vocals; Stephen Manley, mandolin; and Mat Crouse, guitar.
Ozarks Medical Center in West Plains is a sponsor of 2nd Stage, organizers said, adding they would like to thank hospital officials for their support.
Hand-crafted guitar to be given away at Old-Time Music, Ozark Heritage Festival
A guitar hand crafted in the Ozarks once again will be given away on the 2nd Stage at the 19th annual Old-Time Music, Ozark Heritage Festival, set for June 14 and 15 in and around the West Plains Civic Center, 110 St. Louis St., in downtown West Plains, Mo.
In 2012, 2nd Stage organizers gave two guitars away, one to an active military service member and another to a veteran of the armed services, as part of the performance and ministry of featured performer Wichita Sam. This year, in recognition of the role youth play in preserving the Ozark spirit and heritage, the guitar will be given away to an aspiring musician between the ages of 12 and 22, organizers said.
The giveaway will take place at 7 p.m. June 15 at the 2nd Stage, which will be at the west end of East Main Street near Court Square. Entry forms will be available at the 2nd Stage venue each day of the festival. Only youths age 12 to 22 are eligible to enter, and the winner must be present to win, organizers said.
The story of the guitar to be given away mirrors the Ozarks experience, organizers said. “The materials that make up this guitar represent deep roots, hard choices, heartbreak and second chances. The core of the body is made from wild cherry grown, harvested and kiln dried in the Missouri Ozarks. The body is capped with locally grown walnut and nicely figured quilted big leaf maple,” organizers explained.
“The walnut was initially intended to be a finger board, but was flawed in the fret sawing process, and in true Ozarks tradition was saved and re-purposed as part of the top,” they continued. “The maple was provided by renowned Ozarks author Ron Marr. He gave away this piece of lumber when he was preparing to leave the hills for a lady in New Jersey. In the end, Ron was forced to choose between this lady and his dogs.” (Organizers said this story can be found in Missouri Life magazine at http://www.missourilife.com/
“The neck came from a boutique luthier and bears the rare ‘Williecaster’ logo,” organizers said. “It was destined to be part of a guitar for a local musician but was rejected due to a split in the fret board and a rounded heel that would not solidly mate with the body. The splits in the neck have been repaired, the heel flattened, and a piece of locally grown hardwood of unknown species grafted on in order to provide enough meat to make a rock solid joint.”
The guitar also includes a small circle of red chalk rock just below the bridge. “Most of the chalk in the world is white, but chalk in the Ozarks is red due to the presence of iron,” organizers said. “This specimen of chalk was collected from the headwaters of Tabor Creek, a losing stream that is typical of many of the Ozarks dry creeks.”
The instrument’s hardware consists of a set of locking Grover-style tuners, roller string trees, a graphite nut, a pair of humbuckers, a wrap-around bridge, selector and tone switches, and amber knobs. It will be finished with a spirit-based aniline dye and 100 percent tung oil. “This tough finish can be repaired, if scratched,” organizers said.