The Old-Time Music, Ozarks Heritage Festival in downtown West Plains, Mo., will celebrate its 21st year Friday and Saturday, June 19 and 20, introducing two powerful, first-time festival performers as headliners on the main stage.
The Quebe Sisters Band will take the stage Friday night, and Dr. Ralph Stanley with Family and Friends will close the Festival Saturday night. Both performances are scheduled for 8 p.m.
The two-day annual event in downtown West Plains, Mo., celebrates Ozarks music and culture. Admission to all festival events is free.
“The overall mission of the Old-Time Music, Ozark Heritage Festival is about preserving traditions, and there are few traditions as close to people’s hearts as music,” said festival committee member Emily Gibson. “Our headliner selections this year combine youth and experience in a way that we hope will bring out audiences of all ages. These headline performers truly exhibit that great music rooted in storied traditions transcends generations. We are thrilled to have two outstanding headliners this year at the festival. Each year we try to bring bigger and better and this year is no exception.”
After the headliners listings, see the full line-up on the main stage.
THE QUEBE SISTERS BAND – Friday, 8PM
When the Quebe Sisters from Texas take a stage, and the triple-threat fiddle champions start playing and singing in multi-part close harmony, audiences are usually transfixed, then blown away. It’s partly because the trio’s vocal and instrumental performances are authentic all-Americana, all the time, respectful of the artists that inspired them the most. And whether the Quebes (rhymes with “maybe”) are decked out in denims and boots or fashionably dressed to the nines in makeup, skirts and heels, the fresh-faced, clean-cut sisters, all in their 20s, look as good as they sound.
The sisters’ past is as colorful and eventful as their future is bright. Growing up in Burleson, a southern suburb of Fort Worth, TX, Hulda, Sophia and Grace were ages 7, 10 and 12 in 1998 when they attended their first local fiddle competition in nearby Denton, and decided fiddling was what they wanted to do. The girls earned solo and group accolades early on, winning state and national championships in their respective age groups in 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002.
The Quebes’ evolution from the whiz-kid Western swing fiddlers they were back then to the smokin’-hot young adult Americana band they are today is a remarkable story, by any measure. Along with headlining their own shows to ever-growing audiences, they’ve shared stages with American music legends like Willie Nelson, George Strait, Merle Haggard, Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, Ray Price, Connie Smith, Marty Stuart, Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers, Ray Benson and Asleep at the Wheel, Riders in the Sky and many others.
“Hearing the Quebe Sisters sing is nothing short of mesmerizing — perhaps because they make music that most have only experienced via grainy black-and-white TV screens or crackling vinyl. Imagine the angelic Andrews Sisters (of “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” fame) singing in top form — and then ripping into a nimble fiddle breakdown.” Chris Richards, The Washington Post
Members of the band include : Grace Quebe – Fiddle, Vocal; Sophia Quebe – Fiddle, Vocal; Hulda Quebe Stipp – Fiddle, Vocal; Simon Stipp – Guitar; and Daniel Parr – Bass.
Today, after more than a decade of travelling the U.S. and the world, and recording three acclaimed albums, Grace, Sophia and Hulda Quebe are pros in a variety of genres, and count many famous musicians among their biggest boosters. The Quebes’ unbridled passion for American music, along with their talent, skills and a lot of hard work, has taken them far beyond their wildest early aspirations.
“One thing is for sure, you don’t see a group like the Quebe Sisters come along every day,” famed Opry announcer Eddie Stubbs told listeners on his own show on Nashville’s WSM. “Give them your undivided attention, and if you’re not already, you too, will become a fan.”
For more information about the Quebe Sisters Band, check these online resources: http://www.quebesistersband.com/
DR. RALPH STANLEY WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS – Saturday, 8PM
When legends come to mind there is one star that shines above them all and that is none other than bluegrass icon Dr. Ralph Stanley. Charles and Pam Drago’s partnership with the Festival this year will enable us to bring Dr. Ralph Stanley to our stage. Along with grandson Nathan Stanley, look for some surprise guests in the “Family and Friends” who will perform with him.
Performing for over six decades Dr. Ralph Stanley has become one of the most influential artists of all time. Recognized as the leading exponent of traditional Appalachian music and a founding father of bluegrass, Stanley has spread his sound around the world during his 68 years of touring and recording.
Born in 1927 in Big Spraddle, VA, Ralph Stanley was the second child of Lucy Jane and Lee Stanley. In 1946 along with his older brother Carter Stanley they formed the legendary Stanley Brothers duo. The Stanley Brothers and the Clinch Mountain Boys became one of the most popular brother acts in Country Music history. The Stanley Brothers traveled together for 20 years recording some of the most mournful mountain songs to date.
Their catalog of songs includes “Angel Band”, “Rank Strangers”, “Little Maggie”, and the famed “Man of Constant Sorrow”. Tragedy struck the Stanley Brothers on December 1, 1966, with the untimely passing of 41 year old Carter Stanley. Ralph was disheartened and discouraged with his brother’s death but by faith in God and support of his family, friends and fans Ralph Stanley pressed on.
Some of country and bluegrass music’s biggest stars came from Ralph Stanley’s band, including Ricky Skaggs, Larry Sparks and the late Keith Whitley. In 2002 Ralph Stanley received his first ever Grammy Award for Best Male Country Vocal Performance of the haunting rendition of “Oh Death” that was featured in the movie and soundtrack of “O Brother Where Art Thou”. In 2006 He received the Living Legend award from the Library of Congress and National Medal of Arts given by President George W. Bush.
In 2002 Ralph Stanley received his first ever Grammy Award for Best Male Country Vocal Performance of the haunting rendition of “Oh Death” that was featured in the movie and soundtrack of “O Brother Where Art Thou”. In 2006 He received the Living Legend award from the Library of Congress and National medal of arts given by President George W. Bush.
Ralph Stanley was honored Oct. 11, 2014, when he was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts, which was founded in 1780 to recognize America’s foremost “thinkers and doers.”
“There are few names as synonymous with the foundation of bluegrass as Ralph Stanley and we are proud to have him join us to close out the festival Saturday night. Whether you remember him on albums with The Clinch Mountain Boys or if you know him better for sharing a soundtrack with The Soggy Bottom Boys, his status as a music legend is unquestionable. Dr. Stanley truly is an original and will bring his signature sound to our festival stage in an unforgettable performance”, said Festival committee member Emily Gibson.
His new album, Ralph Stanley & Friends: Man of Constant Sorrow was released January 19, 2015, and he was featured in a PBS special in March.
More information about Ralph Stanley can be found at these online resources:
ALSO CONFIRMED ON THE MAIN STAGE:
RIVER GIRLS OF THE RHODES FAMILY (Friday noon – 1 p.m.)
Can YOU name a musical group who can say this?
“We’ve performed with, recorded with, or written songs for Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, Tammy Wynette, Harry Chapin, Jerry Lee Lewis, Al Green,, The Bee Gees, Reba McEntire, Ray Charles, The Oak Ridge Boys, Andy Williams, James Taylor, Neil Diamond, The Commodores, The Monkeys, Garth Brooks, Loretta Lynn, Brenda Lee, Isaac Hayes, Sam and Dave, Dolly Parton, John “Cougar” Mellencamp, Kenny Rogers, Tim McGraw, Martina McBride, KC and the Sunshine Band, Conway Twitty, Chet Atkins, Craig Morgan, Clint Black, Donny and Marie Osmond and many, many more?”
You’ve just been introduced to THE RIVER GIRLS! What might you expect at THE RIVER GIRLS show? Some of the best harmony singing you’ll hear ANYWHERE!
THE RIVER GIRLS consist of Sandra Rhodes on guitars and vocals, Donna Rhodes on vocals and percussion, (both, daughters of Dot and Dusty Rhodes), Brenda “Bear” Barnett, on bass guitar and vocals. Over 80 years have passed since the family show began, and it keeps on rollin’ with THE RIVER GIRLS!
EMILY DOWDEN BAND (Friday 1-2 p.m.)
Emily Dowden Estes is a musician-singer-songwriter of bluegrass, folk and Americana music from Springfield, MO, where she resides with her husband, Kyle Estes.
She developed her musical skills in the scenic, country setting of the Ozarks, where she was raised. Emily was born in Springfield and grew up on her father’s 1,000-acre dairy farm in Wright County, MO. It was there she began performing regionally. At age 16 she moved to Mtn. View, AR, 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 girls landed in Asheville, NC, where Emily toured for over a decade with her family band. “The Dowden Sisters” performed at music festivals and concerts across the U.S. and parts of Canada to venues that included, in part, the John C. Campbell Folk School in NC, Silverton Jubilee in CO, Jerusalem Ridge Bluegrass Celebration in Rosine, KY, Silver Dollar City in Branson, MO, the Traditional Music Festival in Il, Fathers’ Day Bluegrass Festival in Grass Valley, CA, and the Prince Edward Island Bluegrass and Old Time Music Festival in PEI, Canada.
After living on the east coast for five years, Emily moved back to her native Missouri Ozarks to pursue college and other interests, and to be near her relatives. After earning her Bachelor of Arts degree in creative writing-English from Missouri State University, she chose music for her career path once again. She formed a new group, the “Emily Dowden Band” and released her first solo project in 2014. She is very excited to entertain for this 21st festival. She was around for the very first one, as a kid, so the festival is special to her, as a native Ozarks’ musician and loyal festival participant.
Aside from being a performer, 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 passing it down to younger generations, just as it was passed down to her by the late great Karen Kraft and other traditional folk artists from southern MO and northern AR. Emily minored in Theater at MSU and has employed her acting skills by participating in a local TV show, “Kelly’s Kountry Junction” shown on PBS weekly. Emily is also a “professional princess” playing the roles of “Belle” from “Beauty and the Beast” and “Ariel” from “The Little Mermaid” for “As You Wish Princess Parties” out of Branson, MO. In addition to acting and music, she is also an independent consultant for Arbonne, a health and wellness/cosmetics company. An official web page is in the works; in the meantime you can like her Facebook fan page, at https://www.facebook.com/emily.dowden.band
MATT MEACHAM AND FRIENDS (Friday 2-3 p.m.)
Matt Meacham started trying to play the guitar thirty years ago, at age seven, and is still trying today. He says that he’ll leave it to this year’s Old-Time Music, Ozark Heritage Festival audience to decide whether he’s succeeding when he appears on the main stage on Friday, June 19, at 2 PM.
From 2007 through 2011, Matt lived in West Plains, where he worked as a folklorist with the West Plains Council on the Arts and taught classes at Missouri State University-West Plains. Now a program coordinator with the Illinois Humanities Council in Chicago, Matt eagerly looks forward to returning to the Ozarks for the festival. “It’s always a joy to visit West Plains and see so many good friends who’ve taught me a lot,” Matt remarked.
Matt’s early musical influences include relatives on his father’s side of the family, the Juhls, from whom he began learning bluegrass and traditional country music in rural southern Illinois. The Juhls performed at last year’s Old-Time Music, Ozark Heritage Festival. One of their original songs, “Memories of the Ozarks,” appears as “Ozark Mountains” on Still Standing, the most recent album by Missouri Ozarks-based Blackberry Winter.
Roberta and Gary Gordon of Sparta, Illinois, who appeared at the 2010 festival, were also among Matt’s early musical mentors. Matt also has a longstanding interest in church music traditions of the rural Midwest and South, including the German Lutheran chorale tradition and the shape-note singing of Primitive Baptists.
A graduate of Centre College in Kentucky, Matt studied musicology and folklore at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Before coming to West Plains, he conducted a study of traditional musical activity in southern West Virginia for the West Virginia Humanities Council.
While living in the Missouri Ozarks, Matt played and sang with many of the traditional musicians in and around West Plains. “It was a real honor and a pleasure to learn from so many talented, knowledgeable, and enthusiastic musicians,” he commented. “This region has a wealth of thriving cultural traditions.”
Matt says that work obligations have prevented him from making as much music as he’d like since he began his current job. “Our organization has been in a time of rapid change, so it’s been a busy two years,” he explained. He has been doing some songwriting, however. Several of his original compositions refer to places in or near the Ozarks. “I might sing some of them if the members of the audience will promise not to throw any rotten tomatoes,” said Matt.
Although Matt has not yet made any commercial recordings, he and his friend and fellow musician Travis Stimeling made an album of informal “demo” recordings entitled Mountain Clay & Prairie Sod in 2011. Festival attendees will be able to obtain copies of Mountain Clay & Prairie Sod in exchange for donations of $15 or more to the West Plains Council on the Arts.
Matt’s Facebook link is https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=2714253
ROE FAMILY SINGERS (Friday 3-4 p.m. and Saturday 4-5 p.m.)
The Roe Family Singers are a Good-Time, Old-Time Hillbilly band from the tiny community of Kirkwood Hollow, MN. Led by wife & husband Kim Roe (Best Female Vocalist, City Pages/Village Voice) and Quillan Roe (Accident Clearinghouse), the band marries old-time sounds from barn-dances, fiddle pulls, and county fairs with the rock & roll passion of youth.
Featuring banjo, autoharp, guitar, and Appalachian clogging, the band and family of fans have been regularly filling Minneapolis’ 331 Club every Monday night since 2005. They’ve shared the stage with Doc Watson, Ralph Stanley, Mike Seeger, Del McCoury, the Grascals, and Jim Kweskin & Geoff Muldaur. In 2011 the band was awarded the prestigious McKnight Fellowship for Performing Musicians; they won the title of “World’s Best Jug Band” twice, in 2010 & 2012 at the annual Battle of the Jug Bands; and, in 2012, won the Minnesota Duet Contest at the MN State Fair.
The Roe Family Singers mix original music and contemporary takes on old-time, traditional, and gospel tunes into one roiling & rollicking river of fresh yet familiar American music. Every performance raises a ruckus.
Honors include: 2012 MBOTMA Duet Competition Winners; 2012 Old-Time CD of the Year, Rural Roots Music Commission; 2011-12 McKnight Artist Fellowship for Performing Musicians; 2012 & 2010 World’s Best Jug Band, Battle of the Jugbands; 2006 Best Female Vocalist Kim Roe, City Pages
THE OZARK HIGHBALLERS (Friday 4-5 p.m. and Saturday 5-6 p.m.)
The Ozark Highballers are a four piece string band from Fayetteville, Arkansas. This old-fashioned ensemble features the rolling chords and bass runs of Aviva Steigmeyer on guitar, the rhythmically intricate string tickling of Clarke Buehling on finger-style banjo, and the dynamic melody duo of Seth Shumate on harmonica and Roy Pilgrim on the fiddle. Their music reflects the spirit and drive of the rural string bands of the 1920s and ’30s, particularly those of the Arkansas Ozarks.
The Ozark Highballers strut a tradition of old-time music best described as “square valley”, and provide music for square dances, farmers markets, public and private parties, as well as playing music on plain old street corners and front porches.
SHORTLEAF (Friday 4-6 p.m.)
Shortleaf is a music duo (Michael Fraser and Tenley Hansen) from Missouri with strong ties to the traditions of the Ozarks. Founded by Ozark fiddler Michael Fraser, this duet specializes in high-energy music rooted in celtic and old time traditions. Haunting ballads, rip roaring fiddle tunes with a dose of southern rock will provide an evening of what one may describe as “the real Mountain Music”!
RHODES FAMILY REUNION (Friday 6-7 p.m.)
During The Great Depression, James K. Polk Rhodes began the task of crafting musical instruments for his children. He made an acoustic guitar, 2 upright basses, a banjo and a handful of fiddles. He called his young children in and led them to the back room where he had carefully laid all the instruments on the bed. Once assembled, he simply told them to choose an instrument and that if they learned to play it, it was theirs. Slim chose the guitar, Dusty and Beatrice, the fiddles, and Speck grabbed the banjo. The RHODES SHOW was born.
During the 1930’s and 1940’s, they traveled the country playing for tips on street corners and anywhere else that would have them. As their popularity grew, they made regular guest appearances on The Louisiana Hayride, The WLS Barn Dance and The Grand Ole Opry. They had weekly TV shows on KATV in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, KAIT in Jonesboro, Arkansas, (The Hillbilly Hootenanny) and Cape Girardeau, Missouri’s KFVS. For 25 years, they starred in a weekly television show on Memphis station, WMCT-TV. Guests on their Memphis TV show included, Loretta Lynn, Leona Williams, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Conway Twitty, Carl Perkins, Charlie Rich, The Wilburn Brothers, and Rufus Thomas.
The older members of the family talk about a well-mannered young man with greasy hair who followed them around in the 1950’s trying to get them to let him sing. They finally agreed and he did several personal appearances with The Rhodes Show. His name…ELVIS PRESLEY!
In 1956 at Sun Records, Dot and Dusty wrote and recorded the song, ROMP AND STOMP under the name Slim Rhodes (that’s how they did it back then). ROMP AND STOMP is credited by many music historians as being one of the earliest ROCKABILLY records, making the Rhodes family a pioneer in the rockabilly genre. Speck went on to national fame as the comedian on the Porter Wagoner Show.
The Rhodes family history is woven into the fabric of country, bluegrass, rockabilly and R & B music and the lives of generations nationwide. Festival weekend will see a Rhodes Family Reunion including Sandra and Donna Rhodes’ brother, Gordon, and Speck Rhodes’ daughter, Bonya; along with Craig Morris with his and Donna’s kids, Savannah and Sam.
DUANE PORTERFIELD (Saturday 11a.m. – noon)
Duane Porterfield is the current national mountain dulcimer champion, a title he won at the 2014 Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, Kansas.
He is a former Southern Regionals mountain dulcimer champion as well as former Kansas state champion on the mountain dulcimer and banjo.
Duane retired from the Kansas City, Kansas Police Department two years ago where he served as bagpiper with the department’s honor guard. Since retiring, Duane is a regular performer at the Ozark Folk Center State Park in Mtn. View, Arkansas and assists with the Music Roots Program in the Mtn. View School District.
He and his wife, Cindi, reside just outside Mtn. View
COLBERT BROTHERS (Saturday noon-1 p.m.)
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.
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. Mother Vernieca May (Easley) Colbert also was a beautiful singer and lady, Van said, and before she passed away last 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.
Van’s Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/van.colbert
STRINGFIELD (Saturday 1-2 p.m.)
Stringfield is a truly unique band; it comes in many different variations but always includes the unique sound of the Hammer Dulcimer. The sound is like a good stew; it depends on the ingredients. The flavor of old time comes through when you hear the fiddle paired with the Celtic strains of the dulcimer. The members have played with various bands, numerous events and some have even traveled to distance lands to bring their sound to new places.
Victoria Johnson has been playing music most of her life but one beautiful day in summer she heard her first hammer dulcimer and it was love at first listen. She also plays the guitar and fiddle in addition to the Hammered Dulcimer. Over the course of time she has had the privilege of playing with a number of great musicians at festivals, workshops and concerts. She was the 2002 Southern Regional Hammered Dulcimer Champion, 2002 Southern Regional Ensemble – Second place and the 2004 Oklahoma State Champion. In 2003 she traveled to the Isaseki Bon Festival in Isaseki Japan representing Springfield along with the Hammer & Strings Dulcimer group. Victoria also holds an MFA in Drawing from Southern Illinois University.
Gail Morrissey started playing music in the Springfield public school system as a percussionists. She went on to perform with the Springfield Youth Symphony, and was Drum Captain of the Central High School Kilties. She has sang and played and performed with many folk and gospel groups in the surrounding area. She and Victoria have played folk music together now for more than 18 years, eventually forming the group Stringfield. 2006 Gail won the Southwest Regional Hammered Dulcimer contest in Mountain View, Arkansas held at the Ozark Mountain Folk Center. She won honorable mention at the National completion held in Winfield, KS. When she is not playing music she is working for her church and spending time with family.
Steve Scott was born & raised in Stone County, Missouri and currently living in Springfield.
He has been singing and playing musical instruments since he was 10 years old; plays guitar, mandolin, and fiddle. Steve has played in various bands — Bob Walsh, David Moran, Stringfield, bluegrass & old time groups, and for Winfield contestants. He is interested in everything – reading, fishing, photography, landscaping, recording and mastering, old time fiddle, and Scottish ancestry. Steve holds a BSME from the University of Missouri-Rolla and is a Licensed Professional Engineer.
CAROLYN DEMENT (Saturday 2-3 p.m.)
Carolyn DeMent hails from Centerville, Missouri, and is a singer/songwriter. DeMent was an AMG 2014 Female Vocalist Nominee, and is co-host of “From The Heart” with Pastor Richie DeMent. The show is seen at 9:30 p.m. Thursdays on Channel 38 and at LTM38.com
~SOUTHWYNNS~ (Saturday 3-4 p.m.)
~SouthWynns~ is a Bluegrass/Country Band, with members (l-r) Amanda (Wynn) Marlow, Casey Freeland, Berry Wynn and Betty Wynn.
~SouthWynns~ was founded 17 years ago, by the late, great John Wynn, Master Mandolin & Banjo Builder. Berry Wynn says “I made my Dad a promise, before his passing, to keep the family band going, and that’s what I’ve done.”
~SouthWynns~ are a regular on the TV show Kellys Kountry Junction and they also play at Dickeys BBQ Pit in Nixa, MO every second & fourth Saturday of each month.
SNORTY HORSE (Saturday 6-7 p.m.)
Snorty Horse…….authentic and driving Ozark Music from folkmasters Cathy Barton, Dave Para, Michael Fraser and Tenley Hansen best describes this quartet appearing to create a show that will make you proud to be an “Ozarker”, even if you’re not. The music is masterfully delivered whether it be a driving square dance tune, or a soulful ballad learned in the Ozark Mountains, and re-created using authentic Ozark instruments. Flatpicking, frailing, sawing and singing on guitar, banjo, fiddle, mandolin, and piano with tight vocal harmonies are all packed into the performance.
This is the real “Mountain Music.”
Photo Caption: Snorty Horse members (l-r) Cathy Barton, Dave Para, Tenley Hansen and Michael Fraser
The Old-Time Music, Ozark Heritage Festival is the signature event for West Plains. The two-day festival seeks to celebrate, preserve, pass on and nurture an appreciation of the old-time music and folk life traditions distinctive to the Ozark Highlands.
2015 Festival partners include the West Plains Council on the Arts, the City of West Plains, the Ozark Heritage Welcome Center, West Plains Civic Center, Charles and Pam Drago, and Missouri State University-West Plains. Partial funding for this event was provided by the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency.
For more information on the festival e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or “like” the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Old.Time.Music.Festival