Two internationally renowned acts of the Americana music scene will take center stage at the 18th annual Old-Time Music, Ozark Heritage Festival June 15 and 16 in downtownWest Plains,Mo.
Mollie O’Brien and Rich Moore will perform Friday, June 15, and Robin and Linda Williams and Their Fine Group will entertain audiences Saturday, June 16. Both performances start at 8 p.m. on the main stage just east of theWest Plains Civic Center,110 St. Louis St.
This husband-and-wife duo grew up with a variety of musical genres influencing their individual styles. In Wheeling, W.Va., Mollie listened to such performers as Count Basie, Dave Brubeck, Ray Charles, Joni Mitchell, Bonnie Raitt, Dinah Washington and Frank Sinatra. Meanwhile inPhiladelphia, Rich was developing his guitar skills playing along with Peter, Paul and Mary tunes and watching the Beatles on the “Ed Sullivan Show.” He also slipped into clubs to see then young-and-relatively-unknown performers like James Taylor, Emmylou Harris and Doc Watson.
After marrying, the pair performed together for a short while until their daughters were born. Rich chose to stay at home while Mollie pursued her career with her brother, Tim O’Brien, which resulted in three albums of finely-crafted Americana music. She also has released five solo CDs that showcased her ability to move seamlessly from one musical style to the next, and she shared a Grammy with a stellar bunch of bluegrass collaborators on “True Life Blues: The Songs of Bill Monroe.” In addition, Mollie has sung numerous times on the PBS radio series “A Prairie Home Companion,” joining host Garrison Keillor and Robin and Linda Williams as the Hopeful Gospel Quartet.
Moore continued to make music when he could. He cut a solo CD, “Steady State,” in 2000 that showcased his guitar skills and gift for writing instrumental hooks, and he began backing folk legend Tom Paxton in concert whenever he played inColorado.
After 30 years of making music, mostly apart, the pair have joined forces again on stage. Their collaborative energy recently extended to the studio where they cut their first CD together, “Saints and Sinners,” a collection of gems from some of today’s most gifted songwriters, including Tom Waits, Jesse Winchester, Harry Nilsson, Richard Thompson and George Harrison, as well as a few of their own pieces – Rich’s lilting instrumental “Cuba,” and Mollie’s “New Shoes” and “Mighty Close to Heaven.”
“Mollie is a wonderful ballad singer,” Sisco said. “She has a wonderful voice with a pure, simple sound, and she brings it every time she steps on the stage.”
More information available at http://mollieobrien.com/
For over three decades, the Williamses have made it their mission to perform the music they love, “a robust blend of bluegrass, folk, old-time and acoustic country that combines wryly observant lyrics with a wide-ranging melodicism.” Their stirring concerts have earned them a huge body of fans over the years, but as gifted songwriters, Robin and Linda have earned the deep respect and devotion of their musical peers. The list of artists who have covered their original songs include Emmylou Harris, Tom T. Hall, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Kathy Mattea and Mary Black.
Although children of the South, the pair’s career got its initial start in theMinneapolisfolk scene, where Robin had made many friends and connections as a solo artist. In 1975, they made their first album for a Minneapolis-based record company and performed for the first time on a little radio show just getting off the ground, “A Prairie Home Companion,” a relationship that has continued over three decades.
Over the years, they have recorded numerous albums, including a gospel album that garnered two nominations for Gospel Album of the Year; toured with Mary Chapin Carpenter; saw increased national exposure through their participation in “A Prairie Home Companion”; and made appearances on such major programs as “The Grand Ole Opry,” “Austin City Limits,” “Music City Tonight” and “Mountain Stage.” They also were prominety featured in the motion picture “A Prairie Home Companion,” written by Keillor and directed by critically-acclaimed filmmaker Robert Altman.
In 2004, Robin and Linda were signed to Grammy-winning label Red House Records, where they’ve recorded five albums, including their most recent compilation “Stonewall Country,” based on a musical about the life and times of the Civil War general Tomas “Stonewall” Jackson.”
“The Williamses are just delightful,” Sisco said. “They bring people to tears all the time with their music, and they have never failed to knock my socks off. They have their roots in old-time music, but they know how to make it their own.”
More information available at http://www.robinandlinda.com/
The Blackberry Winter Band, which will take the stage at 6 p.m. Saturday, June 16, features area musicians Marideth Sisco, Tedi May, Dennis Crider, Van Colbert, Linda Stoffel and Bo Brown, who came together to perform for the Academy Award-nominated feature film “Winter’s Bone” and became so successful they had to take their act on the road last year in the Amazing Geriatric Hillbilly U.S. World Tour. Since then, they’ve taken a well-deserved rest over the winter, but according to band member Sisco, “we are buckling down to the task of learning a new show, complete with homegrown and old favorite tunes.” The group is cutting a new CD to follow the successful “In These Ozarks Hills,” and it should be available in June, just in time for the festival.
“The band wishes everyone to know that, true to that beloved Ozarks hillbilly lifestyle, nothing will get in the way of playing music and growing gardens,” Sisco said. “It’s gonna be another good year.”
See all about Blackberry Winter Band at http://blackberrywinterband.com/
Colin Elmore and the Franz Family, who will perform at 6 p.m. Friday, June 15, both come from gospel music roots in their respective hometowns of West Plains and Branson, but they’ve fused their past with the flavor of alternative rock, jazz, blues and acoustic pop to create a unique sound that stays true to the traditional sounds of the region in which they were born and moves it forward, enticing a new and younger generation of fans to the fold.
Born into a musical family, Elmore, who now lives inCalifornia, first began writing original songs with deeply personal lyrics at the age of 16. He earned a great fan base inSpringfieldas a member of the alternative rock band Berch and has continued to build his resume performing as a solo act and with friends. He finally joined forces with the Franz Family, and together they recently finished their debut album, “This Side of the Sun,” at the legendary Ardent Studios inMemphis,Tenn.
Sisco, who heard Elmore at a “Battleof the Bands” event a couple of years ago, said “I was just really impressed with him, his musicianship and his songwriting ability. He really is exceptional, and I think everyone will be happy to hear what he’s been doing.”
More Colin Elmore information available on his Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/ColinElmoreMusic
Background information on the Franz Family: http://thefranzfamily.com/
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 16 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, N.C. 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 Branson, the Traditional Music Festival in Illinois, Fathers Day Bluegrass Festival in Grass Valley, Calif., and the Prince Edward Island Bluegrass and Old Time Music Festival in Canada. She won various contests and awards, including first place for the Old-Time String Band competition during “The Uncle Dave Macon Days” in Murfreesboro, Tenn. Her band 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. Most recently (after moving back to Missouri) she became the “Old-Time Music Champion, at the Baker Creek Garden/Seed Co. in Mansfield, where she has since been hired as a regular entertainer and promoter for the festival. Emily was delegated to shoot a 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, and can be found on Youtube. Emily had been living inNorth Carolina for five years. When she moved back to the Ozarks she did so to pursue college and other interests and be close to her relatives. After earning her Bachelor of Arts degree in creative writing-English fromMissouriStateUniversity in 2011 she chose music for her career path again. She formed a new group, the “Emily Dowden Band” and is currently in the process of recording her first solo project. In 2012, Emily joined the cast of “Kelly’s Kountry Junction” a comedy/variety/country music television show on PBS, based out ofJoplin. The “Hee-Haw” themed show has gained over a million viewers, and it is in the process of going nationwide. Emily can be seen on the show weekly.
Emily also is a music instructor at the Palen Music Center in Springfield, where she gives private clawhammer banjo lessons. She strives to keep the art and customs of traditional Ozarks music alive and well. Aside from music, Emily is using her creative writing degree in penning her first novel. She does not have an official web page yet, but does have a facebook fan page. You can “like” her at www.facebook.com/emilydowdenband
SwiftKick has been performing together since 2008, impressing audiences with hard-driving instrumentals, tight harmonies and original material. The band released its first CD, “Alive and Kicking!” in 2009 and are in the process of working on its second. Members include Junior Bunch of Twin Bridges, Steve Markley of Willow Springs, Sean McCormick of West Plains and Jon Porter of Mountain Grove.
Bunch has been a bluegrass musician for over 40 years and has played with such groups as Dry Valley Grass, New River Grass andLostRiver. He plays mandolin and fiddle and sings lead and harmony vocals.
Markley, former owner of the Little Yeoman Brewery, has played with many bands, includingLostRiverand Split Rail. He brings over 40 years of musical experience to the band. His hard-driving banjo style, as well as his lead and background vocals, is a key part of the SwiftKick sound.
McCormick has been playing bluegrass for 30 years, performing with bands inMissouri,Arkansas,Tennesseeand other states. A multi-instrumentalist, he plays guitar, banjo and mandolin, and provides lead and background vocals. An accomplished songwriter, McCormick has performed many of his original pieces with the group.
Porter has played with such bands as the Missourians and Green Side Up. He has been playing bass over 35 years and brings a rock-solid rhythm to SwifKick.
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 13) and Elijah (age 8), and daughter Carina (age 10), won the 2011 Baker Creek Band Contest in Mansfield and was slated to perform May 21 at the Bluegrass and BBQ Festival at Silver Dollar City in Branson.
Trustin’s fiddle-playing skills has earned him the titles of Missouri Junior State Champion Fiddler and Arkansas Junior State Champion Fiddler, and he placed second in the State of Tennessee. Out of 71 fiddlers in his age group, Trustin placed seventh in the nation.
Carina adds mandolin and vocals when the group plays, and her skills as an old-time jigdancer has earned her a third place finish in the old-time dance competition inTennessee.
Elijah plays upright bass and sings, and Carrie adds guitar and vocals to the group’s performances.
The Rhythmia is an acoustic string band that performs a mix of authentic ragtime – primarily written and published inKansas Citywhere the band is based – with old-time fiddle tunes andCaribbeanmusic, along with original compositions, to form a variety of old-time folk dance music.
Over 100 years ago, ragtime was America’s original popular music. While considered primarily as piano solo music today, ragtime often was played during the late 19th and early 20th centuries by string bands consisting of violins, guitars, banjos and mandolins.
The Rhythmia is keeping this ragtime string band tradition alive. They also explore the Creole and Latin music of the Caribbean andLouisianafrom the same time period because of the many similarities to ragtime.
The Rhythmia’s concerts include brief historical information on the tunes and biographical information on the composers. The individual members of the group have over 35 years of experience performing at many ragtime and folk music festivals across the country.
The band consists of guitarist Kevin Sanders, violinist Pat Ireland and Bob Ault on mandolin and banjo. Known for his research of ragtime music, Sanders has given symposiums on the genre, published articles in “Rag – Times” and “Kansas City Rag – Time Revelry,” and interviewed for several television and radio documentaries. In addition to performing, he has written several songs and instrumental pieces and is currently writing a musical titled “Armourdale,” based on a true story.
Although classically trained,Irelanddeveloped an early affinity for earthier forms of music and was a frequent competitor in old-time fiddle contests, many of which he has won. He is a music teacher and prolific composer who has written pieces for many musical genres.
A composer and arranger, Ault has entertained everywhere from Carnegie Hall toJapan. He learned his authentic 100-year-old style of banjo from Howard Weilmuenster, a student of ragtime banjo great Fred Van Eps, as well as from studying thousands of vintage recordings. For 37 years, Ault was an assistant instructor for the “History of Ragtime” course atWashingtonUniversityinSt. Louis.
Don Graves of Lebanon in Laclede County offers a rare style of Ozark folk music that was played back in the 1800s and early 1900s. Ballads and fiddle tunes are offered with an aggressive energetic beat. He plays the dulcimer, also known as the “Indian Walking Cane.” This instrument was possibly introduced to Missouri when the Graves family’s great-grandfather, John Mohee, returned from the Civil War with the measurements to make one carved on a stick. It is played with a hardwood stick and turkey quill, zither-style. At the festival, Don hopes his 15-year-old granddaughter, Brili Graves, will join him. She is the sixth generation to learn dulcimer, he said. In the past, Don’s sisters, Daisy Dame and Vivian Owens, have attended the festival. Vivian has said she will not be here, but he is not sure about Daisy at this point. He plans several festivals this year, including one in Van Buren. Don is usually accompanied by Daisy on guitar. They and Vivian played throughout the country with their father, long-time festival favorite Bill Graves, for over 50 years, until his death in 2001. They play the dulcimer the same way it has been handed down from generation to generation in their family.
Travis Inman, Cole Camp, an 11-time Missouri state champion fiddler and three-time Midwest champion, says his roots as a fiddler run deep. “My great-aunt Kate Swearingen, a Cherokee Indian woman, was theOklahoma state champion back in the 1920’s. My dad played the fiddle, and so did my uncles, and all kinds of relatives are musicians of one kind or another.” One uncle, John “Doc” Swearingen, was Kate’s nephew, and was a particularly strong inspiration for the young Travis. “We’d all be peeling apples or peaches and someone would ask him for a tune and he’d play all those old songs you never hear any more, songs like ‘Watermelon on the Vine’ and ‘The Old Blue Mule.’ ”
As a small child, Inman wasn’t encouraged to learn the fiddle, but his father and uncles soon put him to work playing rhythm guitar for their own fiddle playing. In 1974, he got the opportunity to hear some real fiddle playing at an old-time fiddlers’ contest at Warsaw. He decided he had to get into the fiddle. Although his father owned several fiddles and did repairs on them, he didn’t react kindly to anyone else touching them. “If he caught you touching a fiddle of his, he’d thrash you. So I waited until my mom was outside hanging laundry one day and I climbed up and looked in the cabinets and found an old fiddle that he’d taken apart. It had no keys and no strings. I rummaged around in dad’s spare parts and found the keys and put strings on. But I didn’t have any idea how to tune it. I had to get dad’s fiddle out of its case to find out how to tune it. And I used his bow and started sawing. After a while I could make it bounce like you have to do, and then I went over to my uncle’s and he showed me some easy tunes.” Three months later, Travis entered the fiddling contest in the junior division. and he worked up the nerve to tell his dad what he had been up to. “He just flat out didn’t believe me. I had to get the fiddle out and play the tunes for him.” He played the same tunes at the fiddle contest and won. Today, Inman sports 11 state championships, three regional championships and over 140 trophies. He has inspired and taught many a young fiddler, was a master artist in the Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program with the Missouri Folk Arts Program and continues to play music in and around the Cole Camp-Sedalia area as often as he can.
One of the musicians involved in founding the Old-Time Music, Ozark Heritage Festival is returning to it. Multi-instrumentalist Don Buedel, joined by his wife, Lori, and fiddler Joanne Long, will perform on the main stage from 6 to 7 p.m. June 17. A singer who is equally proficient on fiddle, guitar, mandolin, and banjo, Buedel has won first place in the Apple Festival fiddle contest in Murphysboro, Ill., where he now lives. He is a member of the Smoky Hollow String Band and has played with the Wolf Creek Possum Poachers. Buedel began playing in bluegrass and old-time string bands in his hometown of Springfield, Ill. He toured Germany as a member of an Illinois string band accompanying the International Folk Dancers. While residing in the Missouri Ozarks in the 1990s, Buedel, with support from the Missouri Folk Arts Program, collected and learned tunes from longtime traditional musicians and taught this repertoire to others. He performed for National Park Service and Missouri Department of Conservation interpretive programs, festivals, square dances and other community events.
Buedel has opened concerts for Doc Watson, Dan Crary and Stuart Duncan and has performed with Norman Blake. He has been featured as a performer on KY3 television in Springfield, Mo., and on radio stations WSIU and WDBX in Carbondale, Ill., and KMST (formerly KUMR) in Rolla, Mo. “Some musicians play the tunes and do it well,” Buedel said. “I think it’s about the people who play the music and carry on the traditions. Without the people, there’d be no music.” Lori has been a musician for several years and plays rhythm guitar, four-string banjo and ukulele and vocals. He was active in the folk scene in her hometown of Toronto, Ontario. Joanne Long, a champion fiddler, has played and sung with old-time, bluegrass, and country bands. To date this year she has performed with the Smoky Hollow String Band, a traditional dance band from southern Illinois, and in the Roundup Girls, an acoustic trio, in addition to forming a duo with Don Buedel. Long has been the fiddle instructor for the continuing education program of John A. Logan College in Carterville, Ill., since 2006. “I help beginning and experienced fiddlers enrich their lives by learning to play old-time and bluegrass tunes and a little bit of Texas swing, Cajun, Celtic, and blues,” Long said. “Learning to play a musical instrument like the fiddle isn’t just fun. For students of all ages, it keeps the brain active, engaged, and playful.”
The Colbert Brothers
Van, Vernon and John Colbert hail from Willow Springs. Van plays a unique “two-finger” roll style that he learned from the family. “Mom and Dad instilled in us the love of their music, and to this day we play, sing and remember,” he says. Their brother, Leon Colbert of Wichita, Kan., now plays the fiddle in their group. Van says his grandfather, Hall Colbert, moved his family from the Buffalo River region of Arkansas during the Depression years. He and his wife, Ethel, and their four boys (Leon, Bob, Truett and John) and their four daughters (Geneva, Gladys, Jewell and Marge) came to the community of Amy in Howell County in a horse and wagon. Hall was a Baptist minister and a singer. All of his children sang a cappella in a deep nasal hill country style that needed no accompaniment. Memories of their voices together or solo during family reunions can still raise the hair on the back of Van’s neck. Their father, Joseph Truett Colbert, was named for a famous turn-of-the-century minister. He 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. He learned to play banjo from Homer Treat, a performer featured on volume one of the “Echos of the Ozarks” album. Mother Veronica May (Easley) Colbert also was a beautiful singer and a lady. They still get her to sing “Beautiful Brown Eyes,” “Red RiverValley,” “Maple on the Hill,” and “Wildwood Flower” to their accompaniment. She also sings many old-time gospel songs.
The Falcon Family of Springfield will present a cultural exchange of Native American song and dance representing several tribes – Navajo,Ottawa, Ojibwe, Apache, Lakota, Cherokee and Chickasaw. The family has performed at powwows throughout theUnited States, sharing their heritage and culture through traditional song and dance. Among these venues has been First Night inSpringfield, the Celebration of Nations in Rolla, the Strawberry Festival inPlant City,Fla., and the Springfield Multicultural Festival.
Singer, songwriter and traditional musician Allison Williams plays old-time clawhammer banjo in a modern context.
A native of the Arkansas Ozarks, Williams got her start as a punk rock musician before rediscovering her musical roots. Several years in the mountains ofNorth Carolinaeducated her in Southern banjo styles, 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 theBuffalo, and many other giants of the new roots music scene.
Williams’ solo CD, “Give Me the Roses,” came out in autumn 2008, featuring 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 the Wiyos, among others.
Since then, she has toured internationally, playing to a sold-out Barbican Hall inLondon, as part of the BBC’s “Folk America” special, and backing folk legend Michelle Shocked on her 2010 East Coast tour.
Now based in Tennessee, Williams, when not on the road, does live and studio sound, works with Southern folklore, and plays with the Jake Leg Stompers Jug Band.
Jim and Kim Lansford are rare gems in the world of traditional music.� Not only are they two very gifted instrumentalists, they are among the finest practitioners of the old-time style of duo singing to be found. Their performances feature an abundance of primal and powerful early country duet singing, including songs from the Stanleys, Delmores, Monroes, Carters and others. The Lansfords live on a small farm near Galena in Stone County. Since 1980, they have performed together at festivals, concerts, workshops and dances across the country. Their love for what they do is evident at every turn. They combine taste, ability and passion to make music worth remembering. Jim and Kim’s performances feature an abundance of vintage instruments, powerful early country duet singing, and a consistent quality in playing and repertoire that reflects authenticity and good taste. Jim’s prowess on the fiddle, guitar, banjo and mandolin is superbly complimented by Kim’s innovative and meaty guitar playing, and when they sing, their voices blend together to provide a feast for the ear, as well as the heart. The Lansfords also have been long devoted to the continual pursuit of expanding their repertoire of little-known songs and fiddle tunes gathered both from published and unpublished collections and recordings of traditional music from the Ozarks, Midwest and South. Among the many strengths of traditional music is its capacity to evoke a sense of place, culture or particular time. The Lansfords view the American rural musical tradition not merely as a collection of antique voices who have had their say, but rather as living voices that continue to speak – with an abiding and often peculiar kind of power. Jim has played across the country for more than three decades in various old-time and traditional bluegrass contexts and venues. He is an accomplished fiddler with southern and mid-western influences. He has acquired a large repertoire of tunes from printed, recorded and living sources. His skills as a musician are evident in his tasteful and thoughtfully rendered accompaniments on finger-style and flat-picked guitar, mandolin and banjo. Jim’s high tenor singing intensifies the powerful voice of Kim, on the close harmony duets that highlight their performances. Kim plays guitar, piano and vocals. For more than 30 years, she has artfully chosen and compellingly interpreted traditional songs. Kim’s research into American primitive music has uncovered a trove of old songs for which new harmonies and new instrumentation bring about a new appreciation of the message. Her voice is said to perfectly suit the commanding primitive bluegrass songs and the old-time country duets for which she and Jim are well-known.
The Lansfords have self-produced four recordings with two more in the works and have performed at music and folk festivals.�
Bona Fide String Band
The Bona Fide String Band, an old-time group based in Hardy, Ark., will return to the main-stage. Members Greg Cox, Lisa Culver, Jeff Kamps, Debbie Kamps and Ruth Rogers turn back the clock for some old-time string band music and vocals. Lisa Culver plays the fiddle and hammered dulcimer and contributes lead and harmony vocals. Her family moved to the Hardy area from Blytheville, and she’s had a deep love for all things musical throughout her life. As a teen she learned to play the fiddle from local fiddle legend, Ralph DePriest. Today she plays a Russian-made fiddle that belonged to her great-grandfather, who played it as an entertainer on Mississippi River boats. Lisa has a bachelor of fine arts degree and has been recognized as a master gardener. Greg Cox is regarded regionally as a gifted musician and songwriter who continues the tradition of passing along music. His musical roots are deep and began with his family in southern Indiana, so much so, that he isn’t quite sure when he started playing music. Greg adds to the group’s traditional vocals in both lead and harmony and plays the mandolin and fiddle. Greg, a retired electrician, also enjoys gardening, cooking and “making music” with his neighbors and friends. Jeff Kamps brings an old-time sound to Bona Fide with the clawhammer banjo. His introduction to traditional music came in the 1970s when he first encountered the music of Doc Watson. Soon, he was playing music and building mountain dulcimers. Today, he is a luthier who owns the Flat Creek Dulcimer Shop in Hardy, where he has been building and selling instruments since 1988. He built one of the banjos he plays. Debbie Kamps plays rhythm guitar and sings lead and harmony parts in her warm soprano voice. After seeing Jean Ritchie in a live performance, Debbie developed a love for ballad singing and the mountain dulcimer. Husband Jeff built his first mountain dulcimer for her, and she was soon on the road to many years of singing and performing. She added rhythm guitar when she began playing in groups. Debbie teaches English and Social Studies for the Highland School District. Ruth Rogers, the newest member of the Bona Fide String Band, springs from a true traditional music background. Growing up in family that still sings and plays together, Ruth was immersed in the beauty and richness of gospel harmony singing. She adds her rich alto voice and solid bass playing to round-out the sounds of the group. Ruth is the travel director of the First National Banking Company’s Passport Club.
A native of Buffalo,Mo., Lyal Strickland has been writing and performing since he was 13, using what he knows as a farmer with a film degree to develop songs about small town life, big city adventure and the road in between.
Since setting out on the road, Strickland has developed a strong regional following from his performances inFayetteville,Ark.,Springfield,KansasCity,St. LouisandColumbia.
When he’s not racking up miles with his guitar, Strickland raises grass-fed beef, which come from a line of cattle that arrived on his family farm four generations and over 90 years ago.
His latest CD, “So Many Incidents,” features a wealth of long-respected Ozarks talent. It was produced by Larry Lee, founding member of the legendary Ozark Mountain Daredevils, and features Dave Painter, Ned “The Band” Wilkinson, Dave Wilson, Kelly Brown, Randle Chowning and Kristin Carroll.
hails from Rogersville,MO and performs a variety of story-telling songs including traditional Ozark ballads and folksongs, contemporary folk and farm songs, and original songs written especially for teachers.
Judy grew up on a farm nearRogersville,Missouri. The fourth of five children, Judy learned early how to weed gardens, pick up rocks from the fields, stack wood, and haul hay. To entertain herself while she worked, she sang folk songs. She sang of broken hearted Barbara Allen, English kings and queens, cowboys and Indians. She sang of Civil War battles, sailing ships, train wrecks, and murders. She sang to her pony on long trail rides and to the cows as she helped pen them. Fascinated by the stories within the songs, she developed a repertoire of hundreds of Ozark folk songs.
The majority of Judy’s traditional folksong repertoire comes from the Ozark song collections of Max Hunter and Vance Randolph. Some of the songs date back to fourteenth centuryEngland, but most of her selections date from the early 1800s to the early 1900s.
More recently, Judy has been writing and performing songs about life as a schoolteacher. Judy teaches elementary art part-time atLogan-RogersvillePrimary SchoolnearRogersville,Missouri. Having taught for over 20 years, Judy knows first-hand the importance of teachers in children’s lives. She knows well the pressures teachers face daily. Judy’s songs of happy snow days, dreaded faculty meetings, first day of school jitters, and the hope that springs eternal in the heart of every educator are honest, entertaining, funny, and motivational. Her Teacher Therapy presentations have been phenomenally well received at educational conferences and K-12 teacher in-services.
Judy also enjoys performing songs about life on her rocky Ozark farm. When presenting her farm programs, audience members are privy to hearing stories of Judy’s beloved goats, horses, border collie dogs, and other farm animals. Judy’s songs and stories about gardening, cutting wood, auctions, milking cows, and buying expensive equipment strike a chord with anyone who has ever experienced rural living. A professional auctioneer who has sold a lot of farm sales, Judy shares special insight into that fascinating profession.
Judy and her husband, David, still live on the Domeny family farm. Judy continues to sing while doing her chores!
A new venue at the 18th 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 base of this annual event in downtownWest Plains,Mo.
Organizers said the new 2nd Stage venue 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 stage at 2nd Stage during the festival.
On Friday performers include:
– Chips & Salsa, a group based inRogers,Ark., singing old-time church songs at 1 p.m.
– Here I Am, a Christian group from West Plains at 1:45 p.m.
– James Davis singing rock covers in traditional style at 2:30 p.m.
– Mikaela Deeds at 3:15 p.m.
– Vinny Ray at 3:25 p.m.
– Amber Adamson, West Plains, singing hymns and contemporary worship songs in traditional style at 4 p.m.
– Collide singing praise and worship songs at 4:45 p.m.
– JT Chinn and Gregg Moss singing original pieces and covers at 5:30 p.m.
– Brian Moore and Friends at 7 p.m.
Saturday’s lineup includes:
– James Davis at 10 a.m.
– Here I Am at 10:45 a.m.
– JT Chinn and Gregg Moss at 11:30 a.m.
– Chips & Salsa at 12:15 p.m.
– Mikaela Deeds at 1 p.m.
– Vinny Ray at 1:20 p.m.
– Collide at 1:45 p.m.
– Nick Wiggs at 2:30 p.m.
– Wichita Sam singing church music at 3:15 p.m.
– The First Baptist Church ensemble from West Plains singing hymns and contemporary worship songs in traditional style at 4 p.m.
– The Skinnys, West Plains, singing Christian music at 4:45 p.m.
– The Grove Worship Band fromFirst Baptist Church in West Plains singing hymns, contemporary worship tunes in traditional style and original pieces at 5:30 p.m.
– Lloyd Moore at 7:00 p.m.
Ozarks Medical Center in West Plains is sponsor of 2nd Stage, organizers said, adding they would like to thank hospital officials for their support.
SPECIAL GIVEAWAY PLANNED FOR A SERVICE MEMBER AT OLD TIME MUSIC FESTIVAL
The 2nd Stage at the Old Time Music Festival will feature many artists. One with a special gift to present is Wichita Sam, who will be performing from 3:15 to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 16.
Wichita Sam is the stage name for Sam Wood a retired Methodist minister. He got into the craft of building CBGs (cigar box guitars) five years ago out of boredom and the hope that some of his father’s gift with woodcraft remained alive in him. After a few failed, frustrating attempts, the spark caught fire and he has been building and playing ever since.
Sam says, “Part of the magic of CBGs is the fact that almost anyone, with basic tools and a little time on their hands can build a playable instrument with ‘a box, a stick and some strings.’ But more than this, comes the magic of surprising people with how good these little creations can sound.” In his CBG career, Wichita Sam has played for small and large groups. He loves a variety of music including, blues, gospel, folk and vintage rock.
Wichita Sam also loves to “give back.” Early on when he didn’t know what he was doing, a lot of folks helped him out. Over the years, he has tried to give back. He has done workshops for kids and adults. He has offered up parts of his collection for museum shows. He has played for anyone who would ask him. He has given tips to new builders.
One of the ways that Wichita Sam has given back is his interest in supplying CBGs to troops serving abroad. To date he has sent over 25 CBGs to soldiers, sailors and airmen in Iraq, Afghanistanand Africa. One of the best ways to do this is to connect with the “CBGs for Service Members” group on the CigarBoxNation.com website http://www.cigarboxnation.com/group/cbgsforsoldiers
A local anonymous craftsman, one of Sam’s local fans, has built a six string electric guitar as a gift for a returning or departing service member. This handmade guitar will be given away at the end of Wichita Sam’s set on the 2nd Stage at the Old Time Music Festival. All eligible service members are encouraged to sign up at the 2nd Stage location onEast Main beginning at 1:00 p.m. on Friday, June 15, through the end of Wichita Sam’s set at 4:00 p.m. Saturday.
Wichita Sam says, “The most important thing about CBGs is that they make you smile. Whether you build them, play them or simply listen to them…. you smile. Heck, who doesn’t need a little wholesome fun in their lives?”
You can learn more about Wichita Sam on his CBNation home page at: