WEST PLAINS, Mo. – The Old-Time Music, Ozarks Heritage Festival in downtown West Plains, Mo., will celebrate its 25th year Friday and Saturday, May 31 and June 1, with two outstanding acts as headliners on the festival stage. The two-day annual event in downtown West Plains, Mo., celebrates Ozarks music and culture. Admission to all festival events is free. This milestone year, many previous performers have been invited to the Festival stages.
The Creek Rocks will take the outside stage Friday night, and the will close the Festival Saturday night. Both performances are scheduled for 8 p.m.
Introducing our Performers:
Friday, 8PM – Outside Stage
The Creek Rocks are a folk group from the Ozarks led by banjoist Cindy Woolf and guitarist Mark Bilyeu. These longtime musical collaborators worked together on Cindy’s three CDs of original songs starting in 2005, then got married in 2013, and established The Creek Rocks in 2015. Mark is a founding member of the Ozarks family band Big Smith, who toured and recorded from 1996 to 2012, then reunited in 2016, and now play a few select shows a year.
Their debut release, “Wolf Hunter,” is an album of sixteen folk songs from the Ozarks, arranged by The Creek Rocks and gathered from the collections of folklorists Max Hunter of Springfield, Missouri (Mark’s hometown) and John Quincy Wolf of Batesville, Arkansas (Cindy’s hometown). “Wolf Hunter” has gathered critical accolades for The Creek Rocks, including the prestige of their photo gracing the cover of the September 2017 issue of Acoustic Guitar Magazine, along with a feature article. Prior to that, a profile of Bilyeu appeared in the March 2014 issue of Flatpicking Guitar Magazine.
The duo version of The Creek Rocks will headline at this year’s festival! In addition to their Wolf-Hunter material, they’ll be performing arrangements of songs from yet another treasure trove of Ozarks folkways, the Mary Celestia Parler Collection. Ms. Parler gathered and recorded while she taught Folklore and English at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, from 1949 to 1978. When it comes to folk music, she ultimately out-collected her better-known male counterparts Hunter, Wolf and even Vance Randolph, who she married in 1962. The Creek Rocks joins other enthusiasts who want to bring more attention to Mary and her accomplishments.
The Creek Rocks will take these “new old” songs into the studio as they record their second album in August of 2019.
Some testimonials about The Creek Rocks:
“Congrats you two….on a stellar performance…You made me smile for 45 straight minutes…you left me remembering what’s important – voices, songs, authenticity, great playing. – and red pants!” (Mark was wearing red pants.) ~ Bob Walkenhorst, The Rainmakers
“This is the sound of Ozark history, the soundtrack of us getting from there to here. Wolf Hunter is distinct as a concept album in that it is filled with warmth and heart. It never holds you at arm’s length, but brings you in for a bear hug, begging you and little brother to join right in.”
~ T.S. Leonard, The New Territory
“Cindy and Mark are among the Ozark Plateau’s most potent songwriters expressing themselves with a humble folk-rock sound and lyrics to touch the heart.”
~ Dave Para, Big Muddy Soundings
Saturday, 8PM – Outside Stage
Nora Jane Struthers has written “some of the most quietly powerful narratives within the new wave of Americana artists,” says Ann Powers of NPR Music. The songs that last decades and weave themselves into the fabric of listeners’ lives are usually the ones in which an artist lays her soul bare for the world to hear. Struthers has built her career on these kinds of songs. There’s an honesty and energy to Nora Jane’s stage presence; a vulnerability that is part and parcel of great artistry. In one moment, she joyfully leads the audience in a dance party … in the next, she lays her soul bare for the world to hear. A performance by Nora Jane and her band is full to the brim with stellar musicianship, unexpected arrangements that blur the lines between folk, roots, and rock, and an audible sense that everyone in the room is having a damn good time.
Born in Virginia and raised in New Jersey, Nora Jane grew up playing and singing bluegrass and country music with her banjo-playing father. After a move to Nashville, Tennessee and a brief stint fronting the band Bearfoot, in 2012 she formed her band the Party Line and started taking her songs on the road, creating a sound that blends infectious rock with her country roots. She fronts the band on acoustic and electric guitar and is joined by Joe Overton (banjo, fiddle and steel guitar), Josh Vana (electric guitar and harp), Brian Miller (bass) and Drew Lawhorn (drums). Now, after hundreds of performances at venues and festivals from coast to coast, the band is known as much for their tight, high energy live show as for Struthers’ smart and disarming lyrics.
Nora Jane Struthers is “remarkable,” says Ann Powers of NPR Music, and writes music that is “as powerful as anything Jason Isbell released this year.” The songs that last decades and weave themselves into the fabric of listeners’ lives are usually the ones in which an artist lays her soul bare for the world to hear. Struthers’ new album Champion, released at the close of 2017, is built on these kinds of songs.
Struthers wrote and recorded the album with her longtime road band the Party Line, and the chemistry between her and the other players is palpable. Champion is the follow-up to 2015’s Wake, and earned Struthers acclaim from major outlets like NPR’s Fresh Air, Rolling Stone, and Vice/Noisey, who raved that “Nora Jane Struthers and her band sound ready to take over Americana completely … bringing a fuller, harder sound to the table.”
Friday, 6PM – Outside Stage
The Ozarks” Comes Alive! – Through storytelling and music, as performed by The Shortleaf Band. The music and stories of the Scots/Irish settlers were inspired through a combination of where they came from, where they settled and how they survived. Veteran performers Michael Fraser, and Tenley Hansen return once again with music inspired by Ozark’s culture past and present. They are joined by David Wilson and Jodie Forbes, with guest performances by Marideth Sisco and Van Colbert.
This performance will be a tribute to old-time musician Cathy Barton Para, who passed away in April. Cathy Barton and Dave Para played old and new folk music thoroughly researched from Missouri and the Ozarks and toured professionally for 40 years. Cathy was described as an inspiration to so many who she knew, and she leaves behind a wonderful legacy of traditional Missouri music for generations to come.
Saturday, 6PM – Outside Stage
The Roe Family Singers (Kim Roe, Quillan Roe, Eric Paulson, and Ric Lee) are a Good-Time, Old-Time Hillbilly band led by wife & husband Kim and Quillan Roe featuring banjo, Autoharp, guitar, and Appalachian clogging. They 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.
They’ve filled Minneapolis’ 331 Club every Monday night since 2005. In 2011 they were awarded the McKnight Fellowship for Performing Musicians; they won the title of “World’s Best Jug Band” in 2010 & 2012 at the annual Battle of the Jug Bands; in 2012 won the Minnesota Duet Contest at the MN State Fair; 2018 Entertainers of the Year AND Album of the Year, BMAI; 2017 Jig-dance Competition Winner Old-Time Music & Ozark Heritage Festival, Kim Roe; and 2016 Entertainers of the Year, BMAI.
Saturday, 5PM – Outside Stage
The Bona Fide String Band, an old-time group based in Hardy, Ark., will return to the West Plains Old-Time Music Festival this year. Members Greg Cox, Lisa Culver, Jeff Kamps, and Debbie Kamps 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 has 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. Lisa has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Arkansas State University 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 and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. Soon, he was playing music and building mountain dulcimers while working as an electrician. Today, he is a retired luthier and businessman who owned and operated the Flat Creek Dulcimer Shop in Hardy from 1988-2016 building and selling a variety of traditional instruments. In fact, he built one of the banjos he regularly plays.
Debbie Kamps plays rhythm guitar and sings lead and harmony vocals 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. Debbie retired from teaching in 2015.
Friday, 5PM – Outside Stage
Willi Carlisle is a folksinger and storyteller based in Arkansas. With years of collecting folklore, calling square dances, mentoring under old masters, and tirelessly touring festivals, honky-tonks, and house-concerts, Willi Carlisle is a multi-faceted writer, performer, and instrumentalist with a big voice, a banjo, fiddle, guitar, button-box, and more.
After his all-old-time-music debut in 2015 with Allison Williams (Old Ties) and several Ozarks-focused folklore exhibitions, Willi released a debut EP of original songs, “Too Nice to Mean Much,” in June 2016. After a year of touring, Willi settled in with producer and director Joseph Fletcher to design his award-winning folk-music play, “There Ain’t No More.” In the 2017-2018 touring season, the solo storytelling/folk-music show won ten awards and was performed over 100 times at festivals, colleges, and arts centers. Willi then returned to Arkansas to record “To Tell You the Truth,” a stripped-down, live album of 12 folksongs and originals that the Arkansas Democrat Gazette says “stand on their own, lyrically and musically.” In the meantime, he’s been publishing his fieldwork and music writing in places such as The Journal of American Folklore. His last year of touring will take him from Maine to California, Texas to Manitoba, Alaska to the United Kingdom, and he’s occasionally playing on stages with Grammy-nominated acts like Dom Flemons, Mary Gauthier and Los Texmaniacs or with rockers like Cory Branan and Shawn James.
Carlisle is the raconteur and folksinger you don’t know about yet. In just two years of touring, The Washington Post has said he is “powerful” and “worth seeking out.” Twin Cities Pioneer calls him “impressive on banjo, accordion, and fiddle.” In Cincinnati, a reviewer said his songs and stories “turn the cliché of solo performance on their head.”
With a style forged in the fire of Ozark old-time music and his ever-growing collection of antique music, Carlisle’s musical stories hoot, stomp, and saunter with banjo-tricks, rhythm bones, crankies, and bad jokes. Carlisle has earned accolades for his versatility with performances at The Fayetteville Roots Festival, Pickin’ On Fest, The Focal Point, The Westport Roots Festival, Thacker Mountain Radio, AmericanaFest UK, The Ozark Heritage Festival, and more.
Saturday, 1PM – Outside Stage
The D Clinton Cochran duo features veteran guitarists Donnie (D Clinton) Thompson and Michael Cochran. Friends since the ’70s, the two guitarists started working together in 2016, developing a repertoire of originals, old favorites and obscure gems. Merging Cochran’s acoustic finger-style blues and folksy vocals with Thompson’s electric flat-picked stylings, these longtime stalwarts of Missouri music employ intricate arrangements to produce a full and entertaining sound.
A professional musician since his teens, D Clinton Thompson has performed and/or recorded with a long list of notables, including Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry, Brewer and Shipley, Dave Alvin, the Ozark Mountain Daredevils, Steve Forbert, Jonathan Richman, Robbie Fulks and Syd Straw, as well as touring and performing with his own bands, the Morells and the Skeletons. An A-list session musician, Thompson has earned the respect of producers from LA to NYC.
Michael Cochran is well known to Missouri audiences through his work as a songwriter, author, solo performer, member of groups including the Dolphins, the Great Unknown, and Wild Hare, and as a principle founder of the Sound Farm, a late ’60s-early ’70s original music group that cast a wide net of influence over many musicians and groups who followed. His published books include the definitive biographies of guitar giants Chet Atkins and Les Paul, both of whom were his personal friends.
Cochran was born and raised in West Plains and graduated WPHS in 1962. He performed on occasion at KWPM starting at age 12, and later played around the area in bands involving other West Plains kids, including his dear friend Kenny Joplin. For this West Plains performance, they’ll be playing Porter Wagoner’s very first hit, “Company’s Comin’” (1953), as well as a song Cochran wrote about Porter’s West Plains roots called ‘Porter’s Tune.’
Saturday, noon – Theater Stage
Old-time music has been a family tradition for generations for Colbert Brothers Leon, 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, they could always encourage her to sing “Beautiful Brown Eyes,” “Red River Valley,” “Maple on the Hill” and “Wildwood Flower” to their accompaniment.
Friday, 4PM – Theater Stage
It’s the long-awaited return of one of this festival’s earliest old-time music groups – the Davis Creek Rounders – What’s left of us.
Over the decades a number of musicians, both local and those passing through, sat in with a core group that met every Thursday in the music room at the home of West Plains resident and MSU biology professor Rick Cochran. That core group included former Quill sports editor Dennis Crider, attorney Ken Wagoner, massage therapist Linda Stoffel, and former Quill staff writer Marideth Sisco.
Rick passed away in 2017; Linda is spending the summer traveling in the Pacific Northwest. Crider, Wagoner and Sisco are pleased to be returning to the OTMF stage to celebrate the many happy years they spent “Thursday nights at Rick’s.”
“It was a mighty good time every time, and we’re pleased to share again those happy memories.”
Friday, 3PM – Theater Stage
Rogersville, Missouri native Judy Domeny Bowen is a well-respected performer of traditional Ozark folk songs and ballads as well as contemporary farm-oriented songs and original songs based on her career as school teacher. Judy’s presentations are charmingly informal as she shares historical information about the songs she sings mixed in with personal stories of her life on the farm. The story-telling ballads in Judy’s repertoire come primarily from the Max Hunter and Vance Randolph folk song collections. Senior citizens delight in hearing ballads such as Barbara Allen and folk songs their parents and grandparents sang years ago such as Redwing, Aunt Dinah’s Quilting Party, and The Strawberry Roan. All ages enjoy the stories within Judy’s songs, the humor, and the visual images depicted in her music.
Judy’s energetic delivery, clear singing, excellent guitar playing and witty commentary will put a smile on your face and bring back happy memories of days gone by. You are sure to enjoy her performance!
Saturday, 4PM – Theater Stage
Emily Dowden Estes is a musician/singer/songwriter from the Missouri Ozarks. She and her husband, Kyle Estes, live in Springfield, with their toddler son, Isaiah Clell Estes. Emily teaches music at Palen Music Center in Springfield, where she has worked for the past decade.
Emily grew up around old-time and bluegrass music and began playing professionally with her sisters at a young age. She toured with her family band throughout her teens and early 20s, while living in Mtn. View, Arkansas (the Folk Music Capital of the world) and Asheville, NC. She later moved back to her home state of Missouri and attended Missouri State University, where she graduated with honors. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Creative Writing, English and minored in Theater. Emily loves acting and has done various work as a stage and television actress throughout the years. Most recently, she worked at the Branson Murder Mystery dinner theater in Branson, MO, for the summer 2018 season. Aside from teaching and performing music and the occasional acting gigs, Emily also enjoys literature and writing. In addition to songwriting, she has written several poems and has started penning a novel and also a children’s book.
Emily is super happy to be part of this special 25th celebration Old-Time Music, Ozark Heritage Festival, and actually performed at the very first one as a kid, with her family band. Emily has been quoted as saying that West Plains is like a home away from home to her.
Saturday, 5PM – Theater Stage
Drifters Mile is a group of guys brought together by a love for country/ bluegrass music. They might not share a bloodline but they are a family band all the same. Drifters Mile got its start under the moniker Deep Fried Squirrel, playing festivals like the Yonder Mountain String Band’s Harvest Fest (AR), John Hartford Memorial Festival (IN), River romp (MO) sharing bills with bands like Del McCoury and the Traveling McCourys, Split Lip Rayfield, and Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder. With a new brand, new ideas, and a new catalog, Drifters Mile released their first album, Road to Antioch, in the Winter/Spring of 2018. Expect the second album from the boys in Spring 2019. In concert, you can expect to see a high energy performance filled with a wide range of country music from original compositions and old timey bluegrass standards, to smile-inducing covers from the 70’s and 80’s.
Friday, 1PM – Theater Stage
Saturday, 4PM – Outside Stage
Billy Mathews and The Old Time Players (Paul and Christine Breen) are a unique group of dedicated old-time musicians, committed to the preservation of our American musical heritage. This group plays a wide variety of traditional American musical styles including hoedowns, schottische, jigs, reels, cakewalks, polkas, waltzes and ragtime pieces from the early 20th century. Billy Mathews (Carroll County) is an Arkansas State Champion, the first recipient of the J. Mulkey Kent award and has just completed the “500 Fiddle Tunes – Old-Time Archive” book transcribed by Emily Elam from Mountain View, Arkansas.
Friday, 1PM – Outside Stage
The Finley River Boys is a high-energy, acoustic bluegrass band that performs a wide variety of bluegrass, country, folk, and gospel songs. The band’s unique, rich blend of tight, four-part harmonies and intricate instrumental breaks captivate audiences everywhere.
The Finley River Boys feature Brad Reynolds (upright bass, vocals), Bill Crider (guitar, vocals), Brett Dudenhoeffer (fiddle, mandolin, vocals), and Alan Johnston (banjo, mandolin, vocals).
The band has performed in excess of a hundred shows yearly, including at venues such as Starvy Creek Bluegrass Festival, Silver Dollar City, Jerusalem Ridge Bluegrass Celebration (also featured on the Cumberland Highlanders television show), Missouri State Fair, Ozark Empire Fair, churches, county fairs, theaters, civic centers, schools, and many more events throughout the United States.
The Finley River Boys present a family-friendly show that will have your audience grinning, tapping their toes, and clapping their hands! The band’s unique, rich blend of tight, four-part harmonies and intricate instrumental breaks captivate audiences everywhere. The Finley River Boys are honored to have been inducted into the Missouri Arts Council as a Touring Performer. We were humbled to receive congratulations from Governor Mike Parsons for this elite achievement.
Brad Reynolds started his musical life as a young man with the “Lifesavers Choir” from the Assemblies of God Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Brad spent many years touring and performing with music groups from SAGU, Waxahachie, TX including the internationally renowned “Harvesters”, “Divine Touch” and “Free Spirit.” In these groups, Brad sang tenor and was the founder of “Free Spirit.” These groups toured nationally with many large concert events, including Jesus Rocky Mountain, Christ for the Nations, The Billy Graham Crusades, as well as hundreds of churches all across the country. Brad has opened for such acclaimed Christian artists as Russ Taff, Dallas Holm & Praise, Andrus Blackwood and Company, The Archers, and many, many more. Brad has also toured and sang background vocals as part of “The New Men of the West,“ for Western Music Hall of Fame Member, Rex Allen, Jr.; Johnny Western; Charlie Rich Jr., Lacy J Dalton, and Bix Crary. Brad now sings and plays upright bass for the Finley River Boys and served as member of the Board of Directors of the Greater Ozarks Bluegrass Society.
Bill Crider started playing guitar at age eight with his family’s band in Southern Illinois. While in high school, he was the guitarist and lead singer for a southern Illinois gospel quartet, “The Gospel Messengers” and spent his senior summer in the far northern reaches of Canada, providing the music for his church’s sponsored missionary. Bill then headed west to Arizona where he performed at many local country & western clubs, winning several local talent shows, and soon after joined the internationally award winning “Spirit of Phoenix Chorus”, the premier performing group of the Phoenix Chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society, competing on the international stage. During this time Bill met Western Music Hall of Fame Member, Rex Allen Jr. and became part of Rex’s backup group, “the New Men of the West”. With this group, Bill toured and sang backup vocal for Rex, as well as fellow Western Music Hall of Famer, Johnny Western, Charlie Rich Jr., Bix Crary and Lacy J. Dalton. Bill later relocated back to the Midwest, settling in the Heart of the Ozarks, Springfield, MO and currently sings and plays guitar for the Finley River Boys.
When Brett Dudenhoeffer was four years old, a “fiddle and a bow” topped his Christmas list. In the years that followed, Brett’s love for music intensified. He began making public appearances when he was six years old and he recorded his first album. At age nine Brett was featured in the March/April edition of “The Ozark Mountaineer” magazine. At age ten he won the “2010 Most Outstanding Young Fiddler” award at the American Heritage Music Festival in Grove, OK. Brett’s fiddling has been featured in numerous Missouri venues to include contests, festivals, county fairs, benefits, music shows, school functions, and church events. He has made guest appearances on the Mickey Gilley Show and the Joey Riley Show in Branson. The last two years he has played the national anthem to open MSU’s Lady Bears and men’s Bears basketball games as well as the Springfield Cardinals baseball games. This year Brett also played the national anthem for the Missouri Tigers Men’s Basketball game in Columbia MO. Brett is a regular performer at Luttrell’s Live Music Show in Springfield, and a frequent performer at Prater’s Ozark Hills Theater in Lebanon, MO. Brett is also a member of a young group of fiddlers called The Possum Holler Fiddlers, a young fiddle group from Missouri that performed at the White House in 2012 and 2014. In the last eight years Brett has recorded five full length CD’s. his latest titled “In His Element.” Brett now plays fiddle and sings with the Finley River Boys.
Alan Johnston started playing guitar at ten years old. He later switched to banjo with his family’s Bluegrass Gospel band, playing throughout the Mid-South Missouri region. After Alan graduated high school he joined the U. S. Air Force and spent 26 years active duty serving in many of the military operations over the last few decades. While in the military, he played guitar in church ministries, and started doing more tech work; organizing talent shows at military bases and grade schools. He also played with the variety group “The Beyanamme Band” in Turkey, and he has played with regional Texas bands “The Texas Outlaws” and “The Buckshot Band”. After his military service, he moved back to the Ozarks to pursue his love of Bluegrass Music. His recent projects were playing banjo and guitar with “Route 66” and “The Lost Hill Bluegrass Band”, both from Springfield Mo. He leads Bluegrass Gospel Church in Ozark and plays guitar for other services. He is a multi-instrumentalist/vocalist that has played with many local bands at venues in the area.
Friday, 3PM – Outside Stage
Steve Green grew up on a hill-country farm in the Arkansas Ozarks, a region well known for traditional music and dance. He has earliest memories of old-time American square dances alongside German Polkas and Schottisches in his grandfather’s front room. As a percussive dancer, he teaches flatfoot and buck dance, but delights in combining traditional styles in what he calls “smooth buck”. He has performed and taught by invitation at festivals in Ireland, Scotland, and England, including Whitby and Towersey, and several states. Over several decades, he has called dances for the young and gifted at the Arkansas School for Math and Sciences; contra dances for a School for the Deaf; an evening of traditional dances for a meeting of the International Society of Women Airline Pilots; workshops in Ireland, England and Scotland, a series of contra dances for synagogues; after dinner old-time dances for the Arkansas state legislature; children’s dances at an annual puppet festival; and blind and hearing impaired friendly square dances.
He lives on the family farm in the Ozarks, and has taught and performed at the Ozark Folk Center at Mountain View since the early 1980’s. In 2015 he won firsts at the National Buck Dancing Championship in Murfreesboro, the Clifftop Old-Time Music Festival, and the August Heritage Festival. He enjoys teaching dances that are fun to watch as well as fun to do. He often works with the group “The Ozark Highballers”, and calls Old-Time Square Dances several times a month in the Fayetteville, AR area. For workshop and performance videos see www.ozarkfootsong.com
Friday, 2PM – Theater Stage
Kim Lansford and Nathan McAlister bring together fiddle, banjo, guitar and vocal harmonies to tell the story of the Ozark hills through song.
McAlister resides in the small mining community of Granby Missouri and has spent the last 25 years studying traditional Ozark banjo and fiddle playing
Kim Lansford has lived in the Ozark Mountains since the 1970s. As a rock-solid back-up guitarist capable of keeping up with the breakneck speed of square dance fiddlers in the Ozarks, or a piano player well versed in the Missouri Valley fiddle tune repertoire, Kim has accompanied old-time fiddlers at dances, festivals and functions across the country. Years of perfecting her craft provided ample opportunity to play and learn from many older master musicians in the Ozarks and Missouri Valley music traditions including Art Galbraith and Gordon McCann, Bob Holt and Alvie Dooms, Fred Stoneking, and Dwight Lamb.
Kim is also an accomplished singer with rich repertoire of songs collected from mentors and Ozarks folksong collectors W.K. McNeil and Max Hunter. Music of the Carter Family, the brother duets and string bands of the twenties and thirties, and the musical memory her late husband Jim, remain as enduring sources of inspiration.
Kim and Nathan join together to offer a unique and raw approach to Ozarks and traditional southern mountain music.
Saturday, 2PM – Outside Stage
Someone once said, “If music is a place — then jazz is the city, folk is the wilderness, rock is the road, and classical is a temple.” With his small-town Missouri roots as a compass, singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Jeremy Myers artfully navigates this wilderness, stitching together his hopes, dreams, victories, and adventures in song to weave a vibrant tapestry of a distinctly American countryside that will make you feel right at home. From the small, curious child who taught himself harmonica to the dedicated adolescent who became a skilled guitarist, Jeremy has since captivated audiences with his skillful command of fiddle, mandolin, clawhammer banjo, and cello. His warm, silvery voice and expressive musicianship imbue his music with a comforting grassroots sound reminiscent of living-room jam sessions and Ozarks front porch storytelling.
Jeremy’s self-published solo debut album “Johnny in the Briar Patch” was released in 2008, offering his fans fiddle tunes, folk songs, and original compositions showcasing his authentic Ozarks style and sincere vocals that hearken to a simpler time and place. In addition to his solo performances, Jeremy has joined forces with such acts as Sunny Side Up, Hot Ash Stringband, and Peppersauce Alley, and is a veteran performer who’s enchanted large festival audiences and intimate coffee shop listeners alike. Some additional venue highlights have been Little Rock’s Arkansas Sounds Music Festival, Old-Time Music, Ozark Heritage Festival in West Plains, Mo, and Wooley Creek Bluegrass Festival, and he can be seen monthly throughout the season at the Heritage Days festivals hosted by Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company. Jeremy also enjoys performing for local micro-breweries/distilleries such as Wages Brewing Company, Rapp’s Barren Brewing Company, and Copper Run Distillery.
When he’s not playing music, Jeremy can be found honing his luthier skills crafting custom open-backed banjos for his own Snowbird Banjo Company.
Saturday, 3PM – Outside Stage
The Ozark Highballers are a string band from Fayetteville, Arkansas. Since 2014 the Ozark Highballers have brought their music to square dances, farmers markets, festivals, workshops, as well as plain old street corners and front porches. Their music reflects the spirit and drive of the rural Ozark string bands of the 1920s and ’30s. This old-fashioned ensemble features the dynamic melody duo of Roy Pilgrim on fiddle and Seth Shumate on harmonica, accompanied by the intricate string tickling of Clarke Buehling on five-string banjo, and the driving chords and bass runs of Aviva Steigmeyer on guitar. The band is often joined by Fayetteville fiddler Pete Howard. The Ozark Highballers have performed and taught at the Brooklyn Folk Festival, Stephen Foster Old-time Week, Bluff Country Gathering, St. Louis Folk & Roots, CROMA, Ozark Folk Center, and have recently received the Artist 360 grant from the Mid-America Arts Alliance.
Saturday, noon – Outside Stage
Ozark Mountain Dulcimers is a mountain dulcimer group which has been together since March 2017. Although the group usually meets in Springfield, Missouri, members live in various surrounding towns and some regularly travel from over 60 miles away. The members of Ozark Mountain Dulcimers share a passion for the mountain dulcimer and enjoy sharing their art within their families, communities, and festivals such as the Laura Ingalls Wilder Days in Mansfield, Missouri, and in the 1860’s Lifestyle Expo 2018 at the Gray-Campbell Farmstead in Nathanael Greene Park in Springfield, Missouri. Their main music genre is traditional folk music, but there are also splashes of celtic, country, bluegrass, and gospel.
The group is led by Ginny White, who has played the dulcimer since 2002. Ginny has played at church services, weddings, funerals, nursing homes, schools, and various community events including festivals at Arrow Rock, Missouri, Walk Back in Time in Mexico, Missouri, Old Glory Days in Clinton, Missouri, and at Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri.
Rhonda Jones began dulcimer lessons with Ginny, the group’s leader, in May of 2016 and has been playing the dulcimer and enthusiastically attending festivals and workshops ever since. Rhonda has also played at various community events, including festivals at Arrow Rock, Missouri, and Walk Back in Time in Mexico, Missouri.
Joyce Creed joined the group after attending some dulcimer events with her sister Rhonda. She enjoys spending time with the group and appreciates all the help as she develops this new hobby. Joyce’s biggest fans are her dogs, Jojo and Peeps, who attend every home practice session! Joyce has attended numerous workshops and festivals as well.
From the Springfield area is June Day. June was introduced to the mountain dulcimer at a luthier shop near Gatlinburg, Tennessee, in 2014 and was very intrigued with this unique instrument. A couple years later for her birthday, her husband gave her a dulcimer, and now it is her passion and she plays every opportunity she gets.
Becky Marsolf began playing the dulcimer in September of 2017. She loves getting to be a part of this group and learning from talented musicians. A native of Springfield, Missouri, Becky lives in the Fair Grove, Missouri area on Marsolf Mountain, a favorite jamming location for the Ozark Mountain Dulcimers.
Friday, 2PM – Outside Stage
After twenty plus years of playing traditional music together Patt Plunkett and Charlie Walden (aka Patt & Possum) have learned a thing or two about getting along musically. While some couples might bicker about the bills or where to go out to eat, these two battle over chord progression and set lists.
Charlie and Patt both grew up listening to and playing traditional mid-western fiddle music. Charlie learned as a teenager at the feet of some of Missouri’s finest old-time fiddlers, including Pete McMahan, Taylor McBaine and Cyril Stinnett and was encouraged by countless others. Along the way he developed an interested in Canadian fiddle tunes as the fiddling in the Ottawa Valley is similar in style and shares some common repertoire with Missouri. As such, other important influences through recordings were Graham Townsend, Don Messer and Ned Landry. He is also a big fan of Kenny Baker, Chubby Wise and Joe Meadows where Bluegrass is concerned.
Patt started out by playing piano for her grandfather, Carl Voorhees, who was a seasoned Illinois square dance fiddler. She went on to play Irish-style piano accompaniment and formed a ceili band in Chicago, which won the local Fleah Ceol twice. She is also a professional music educator and trained singer. Patt’s love of music and natural ability as a dancer led her to take an interest in square and contra dance calling and instruction along with individual clogging and step dance performance. Charlie and Patt are active contra and square dance musicians, performing for numerous such events each year. They serve as instructors at several music camps, giving instruction on fiddle, piano styles, traditional dance and vocal music. Patt and Possum completed their third tour of Australia in November 2013.
Saturday, 1PM – Theater Stage
Duane Porterfield is an award-winning multi-instrumentalist or as he is often referred to, “That dulcimer player that always wears those overalls.” As a boy in the fifth grade, his parents bought him a K-Mart guitar promising that, “If you stick with it, we’ll get you a better one”. He stuck with it, (developing some quite nice calluses) and a few months later, was presented with his first “real” guitar. Playing along with cassette tapes of The Eagles, John Denver and The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, among others, he soon discovered a love for the sound of acoustic stringed instruments. Eventually he would form a string band, Hardtack, with his older brother Dennis and Les Crider, the man who first taught him to play Wildwood Flower on the guitar. For several years they played fairs and festivals in the area.
In 1997 he entered the Mountain Music Shop in Shawnee, Kansas and was introduced to the mountain dulcimer. He recalled as a young child watching his great grandfather strumming on a similar stringed box with a stick and feather. Duane left the music shop that day with his first mountain dulcimer failing to realize the impact this instrument would have on his life. “The mountain dulcimer has been the medicine that relieves my headache, has taken me back to a simpler time, and has introduced me to some of my closest friends,” he says.
Duane was born in Kansas City, Missouri to parents who left their Arkansas Ozarks roots to find work and a living. He was raised in Kansas City, Kansas where upon graduating from high school, he was accepted in the KCK Police Cadet program. On his twenty-first birthday he was sworn in as a police officer beginning his thirty two year career in law enforcement. He and his wife, Cindi, were married on April Fool’s day, 1995 and with their combined families resided with their five children on a farm in western Wyandotte/Kansas City, Ks.
With kids grown and moved away and retirement in sight, Cindi and Duane began looking for a place to retire. Eventually their search led them to a place they often visited and in 2005 they purchased a cottage in the wooded hills just outside of the small Ozark town of Mountain View, Arkansas. They would travel to and from Mountain View becoming involved with the proclaimed “Folk Music Capital”, its festivals and its people.
Retiring in 2013, Cindi and Duane moved to their Arkansas home where they volunteer at the many various festivals in the region and at The Ozark Folk Center State Park. Duane now spends much of his time as a regular performer and emcee at the Folk Center’s live shows. He also assists with sales, promotions and the creation of McSpadden Dulcimers in Mountain View.
Because he plays by ear, Duane was rather reluctant to conduct workshops. It was the spring of 2015 that his longtime friend, mentor and fellow musician, Judy Klinkhammer, upon revealing that she had terminal cancer, asked him to continue on with her workshops. “Just share your music”, she said. He agreed and although nervous and a bit intimidated at his lack of music terminology, he discovered that he and his students were equally blessed with a great experience. “I want those attending my workshops to be able to take only what they need from my classes and combine it with what they can use from other instructors and/or resources to develop their own style and uniqueness with the mountain dulcimer. Then share your music. There’s room for us all.” Duane Porterfield
Awards include 2000 Kansas State Mountain Dulcimer Champion, 2003 Southern Regional Mountain Dulcimer Champion, 2005 National Mountain Dulcimer Competition 2nd Place, 2006 National Mountain Dulcimer Competition Finalist, 2009 National Mountain Dulcimer Competition Finalist, and 2014 National Mountain Dulcimer Competition Champion.
Friday, noon – Theater Stage
The Ozarks” Comes Alive! – Through storytelling, and music, as performed by The Shortleaf Band. Veteran performers Michael Fraser, and Tenley Hansen return once again with music inspired by Ozark’s culture past and present. The music and stories of the Scots/Irish settlers were inspired through a combination of where they came from, where they settled and how they survived.
Michael began his careers in education and music in the Ozarks, while teaching at Lebanon High School. He worked closely with the high school English teacher, Helen Grey Massey, who published the “Bittersweet” magazine about the past traditions and lifestyles in the Ozark’s, while teaching “old time square dancing” in his co-ed physical education classes.
He began his music career learning fiddle from local fiddlers, and while working for Missouri Department of Conservation as an education consultant, he developed, and presented conservation/music related programs that were presented to schools and other venues throughout the state. Music and stories both related to conservation, thus bridging a gap between art and science. Most notable is the “Fiddles and Forests” program that he developed and is now available on CD.
Michael started the “Shortleaf Band” along with West Plains resident Bob Cunningham, in the early 1990’s and developed a good following regionally. Bob and Michael both served on the initial board of directors to develop the “Ozarks Heritage Festival” in West Plains. The band also performed at several of those first festivals, and although it has gone through numerous members, the band still survives as a duet.
Michael was chosen by the late Bob Holt to be his apprentice, and served two years learning
the fiddle style of Ozark Square Dance Fiddling, which was approved and funded by the Missouri Arts Council.
Tenley Hansen has graced stages beginning in high school as she developed a love for acting, especially in musicals. Her alto voice developed in that realm throughout high school and college. She developed a love for traditional music and became a member of the Shortleaf Band thirteen years ago. Tenley plays a host of instruments including piano, guitar, fiddle, mandolin and mountain dulcimer.
Friday, 4PM – Outside Stage
The songs Lyal Strickland writes are like the world he lives in: A little tough sometimes, doggedly inspiring at others, but always absolutely real. Strickland doubles as a working farmer so when he writes about surviving in modern-day America, he’s speaking from experience. As a proud 7th generation resident of Buffalo, MO, Strickland doesn’t have to look far to find material. Strickland’s natural territory remains the real-life working world, balancing his farming duties to spend more time on the road. According to Strickland, those two pursuits aren’t that different; you have to give them both all the passion you’ve got.
Saturday, 3PM – Theater Stage
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 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. 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.
As one of the most well-known Celtic harpers in the Upper Midwest/Great Lakes Region, Turner Collins plays music from the traditions of Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Brittany, Cornwall, Isle of Man and Galicia.
Growing up in the Missouri Ozarks, mountain music drew him in, much of it from Scotland and Ireland. Following the old way, Turner learned by ear, first ballads and traditional songs, and later he taught himself several instruments. In addition to the Irish harp, he also performs on button accordion, the bodhran, bombarde, bouzouki, and the tin whistle. He learned these instruments and styles of playing from elders and peers, from the famous and the obscure. He passes on his knowledge of historical and present day Celtic culture to others through university and public school classes and presentations. He describes his approach to music as “old school,” or perhaps “old sod.”
Lonnie Jones on bass – “I was born a coal miner’s daughter – no wait: Started playing guitar at early age. Have played many kinds of music including pop, folk, bluegrass and now Irish. Started playing bass because not many other people did.”
Friday, noon – Outside Stage
Fiddlers from the Southern Ozarks Youth Orchestra will showcase their old-time music skills. Simple gifts, Ashoken Farewell, Peekaboo Waltz, and Arkansas Traveler will be among their offerings. Begun in 2013, Director Danyal Sallee says, “I started the orchestra so my students would have a place to play different types of music and learn to work together as a group. The Southern Ozarks Youth Orchestra has two concerts every year; one in the fall and one in the spring. The kids do orchestral works and perform in chamber music settings doing duets, trios, and quartets. I teach some fiddle tunes so the students can be exposed to all types of music and continue the heritage of the Ozarks. In our May 2018 concert SOYO debuted the world premiere of “Beyond Time,” a piece that was written specifically for the Southern Ozarks Youth Orchestra by composer Ryan Cockerham.”