2024 Festival Performers


8PM Friday June 7 in the Civic Center Theater

Band members include lead singer CJ Newsom and comedian Terry Wayne Sanders, with singer Michael Frost, guitar/vocal/band leader Josh Carroll, steel/guitar/mandolin Forrest Herzong, drummer Al Lohman, and bassist James Galloway.

CJ Newsom is an acclaimed singer and recipient of the “Female Entertainer of the Year” award, renowned for her captivating performances that pay homage to the legendary styles of Patsy Cline and Reba McEntire. Her powerful vocals and charismatic stage presence have made her a standout artist in the country music scene. CJ’s influence by these iconic singers is evident in her emotive delivery and robust vocal prowess, which she skillfully blends with her unique artistic identity. Her performances, celebrated for their emotional depth and authenticity, continue to resonate with audiences, securing her a revered spot among today’s leading country music entertainers.

Terry Wayne Sanders, 10-time winner of Comedian of the Year, is celebrating his 45th season performing in Branson Missouri as well as around the world.  He is known as the “Face of Branson”, due to the fact that he has 8 different jobs in the Branson area. 2024 marks his 8th year to perform with the one and only and award-winning Miss CJ Newsom in her own show at the Americana Theatre in Branson, Missouri. Terry has appeared in countless commercials, a few movies, & 13 episodes of TVs ‘Hee Haw’! He is originally from Mountain Grove, Missouri, and lives in Branson, Missouri with his wife Dede. You may have seen him also performing at Silver Dollar City, his 45th year with them, 22 years in the Shepherd of the Hills outdoor drama, 14 years at Big Cedar Lodge, hosting all their major events and specialty shows!

Al Lohman is a distinguished musician whose extensive career spans across various facets of the entertainment industry. Having performed with renowned artists such as Andy Williams, Johnny Mathis, the Lawrence Welk Orchestra, Bobby Vinton, Kenny Rogers, and Debby Boone, Lohman has established himself as a versatile talent. His expertise extends beyond live performances; he has also contributed to popular television shows including “Seinfeld,” “Designing Women,” and “Evening Shade.” Additionally, Lohman’s skills have been showcased in numerous commercials, TV, and movie soundtracks, highlighting his wide-ranging influence in the music and entertainment sectors.

Josh Carroll is an accomplished guitarist and songwriter recognized for his significant contributions to the country music scene. Throughout his career, Josh has played alongside notable artists such as Johnnie Lee, John Conlee, Exile, the Marshall Tucker Band, and Collin Raye. His talent as a songwriter is evident in his co-writing credits on two top 40 country hits, showcasing his versatility and creative prowess. Josh’s exceptional skills have earned him multiple awards for “Guitarist of the Year,” cementing his reputation as one of the leading guitarists in the genre.

Jim Galloway is a seasoned bassist originally from the New York metro area, whose dedication to his craft has spanned over three decades. A true student of the bass, Jim not only plays by ear but also reads music, setting him apart in a field where many are self-taught or transitioned from guitar. With extensive experience in playing, recording, and performing, Jim brings a deep understanding and a proactive, positive attitude to every project he joins. His commitment to continuous learning and his genuine enthusiasm for collaboration make him a valuable asset to any musical endeavor.

Michael Frost is a distinguished male vocalist known for his exceptional talent and deep-rooted passion for gospel music. He achieved notable success in the industry with a #1 gospel song that he penned, which has resonated with audiences nationwide due to its uplifting message and compelling composition. Michael’s powerful voice and emotive singing style have made him a beloved figure in the gospel community, where he continues to inspire and connect with listeners through his musical expressions of faith and hope. His contributions to gospel music not only showcase his skill as a songwriter but also affirm his status as a fantastic singer with a profound ability to touch hearts.

Forrest Herzog is a renowned bluegrass musician known for his exceptional abilities as a multi-instrumentalist, including mastery in guitar and self-taught steel guitar. His journey into music began with a passion for the unique sounds of bluegrass, which he has enriched by incorporating the distinctive tones of steel guitar. Recognized as a fantastic guitar player, Forrest’s versatility and technical skill shine across various stringed instruments, earning him accolades in the bluegrass community and beyond. His performances are celebrated for their precision and soulful execution, making him a respected figure among peers and a favorite among fans of the genre.




8PM Saturday June 8 in the Civic Center Theater

Big Smith is a band from Springfield, Missouri composed of five first cousins, including two pairs of brothers: Mark and Jody Bilyeu, Mike and Jay Williamson, and Rik Thomas. They assembled themselves over a series of downtown Springfield gigs in 1996 and emerged playing a patchwork of folk, hillbilly, bluegrass, honky-tonk, gospel, rock n’ roll, and Ozarks fiddle tunes, all sewn together with the unmistakable family harmony singing that is their collective birthright. Big Smith’s original songs evoke, celebrate, and ​o​occasionally lovingly eviscerate their ancestral Ozarks, songs that have endeared them to devoted fans across the region.

Their initial 16-year run saw them release seven albums, perform all over the United States, play a half-time show for 73,000 at an Arkansas-Alabama football game, break the merchandise sales record at the Country Rendezvous festival in Crappone, France, and even star as the subjects of the 2003 documentary film “Homemade Hillbilly Jam.” They hung up their work clothes in June of 2012, having played some 1,000 shows during their initial sixteen-year run.

On December 31st, 2016, they re-emerged for a pair of celebrated sold-out New Year’s Eve shows at the historic Gillioz theater in their hometown of Springfield, then imagined as a one-off. But a year later they repeated the event, did it again in 2018, and have since settled in to performing not infrequently for their appreciative following at their best-loved venues in and around the Ozarks.


Noon Friday June 7 in the Civic Center Theater, 3PM Friday on the Court Square Stage

Jack grew up singing traditional country, folk and gospel songs with the whole family, all seven piled in the car as they traveled between North Carolina and all the other different places they called home. Holidays would always be highlighted by good southern cooking and family music-making sessions with cousins, grandmaws, aunts, uncles, and anyone else who happened to drop in.

After earning a music degree from SUNY Fredonia, Jack has enjoyed busking on the streets of San Francisco, playing New York’s Folk City, West Texas dance halls, Cape Fear Riverboats in North Carolina, and “Banjo Jack” at Silver Dollar City. He has shared the stage with many artists including Loretta Lynn, Conway Twitty, Shelly West, Lucinda Williams, Butch Hancock, Joe Ely and Johnny Gimble.

For the past 25 years or more, Jack has called the Missouri Ozarks home. He taught music in Hermitage for 14 years and continues to conduct traditional music workshops for kids at festivals and schools. Jack loves to sing and play guitar, banjo and harmonica. His songs will “get your feet tapping, make you ponder the puzzles of life, and maybe raise a chuckle or two.” When he is not out “walking barefoot in the woods” he can be found these days performing solo and with his band, Kicking Jacksie at one of the many Ozarks’ live music venues and festivals. “I just want to spread the joy that music brings.”



5PM Friday June 7 on Court Square Stage

Joe Batterton and Mark Edwards have been performing together for nearly two decades in several different incarnations. Over the years they have developed their own unique style of Bluesy Americana. They both come from musical backgrounds that have been influenced by rock, blues, bluegrass, traditional country and old-time folk music. Since becoming a duo, they have opened the doors of all those influences and let that shine in their music selections as well as the original music they write and perform. Both men are vocalists and multi-instrumentalists. Mark is an accomplished banjo player and is also a guitar player that can flat pick, play country finger style, delta blues finger style as well as slide guitar. Joe has been a rock-solid bass player for several bands and also plays guitar, mandolin and harmonica but his passion is in his lyrics and vocals. This all leads up to an eclectic and fun show anytime Batterton and Edwards are playing.




Noon Saturday June 8 on the Court Square Stage, 4PM Saturday in the Civic Center Theater

Eric Bogwalker – guitar, drums, vocals, harmonica, songwriting, and Amelia LaMair – bass are Creek Stink!

Creek Stink hails from the hollers of Ozark County, MO. They play high-octane string band dance music and have been called “the Ramones of Ozark folk music.”  Eric writes the songs by the woodstove in-between chores and is joined by Amelia for performances all over the Ozarks and beyond. Creek Stink has released five records, four of them on Flotsam Farm Records, a small label Eric and Amelia run out of their home at Flotsam Farm.


Paranoid People | Creek Stink (bandcamp.com)


Noon Saturday in the Civic Center Theater, 3PM Saturday on the Court Square Stage

Both Dusty and Pearl began playing as teens in folk venues and coffee houses where they honed their instrumental skills and the art of crafting tight vocal harmonies. Each possesses in-depth knowledge of the music in their repertoire. The styles are varied and include traditional folk, roots, singer-songwriter, classic country, Americana, original songs and surprises. They invite the audience in by conveying the joy that goes with performing tunes that hold special significance for them. The duo was named a top finalist in the 2021 Great American Song Contest for the lyrics to their song, “Here You See Me Standing,” and were again awarded a top finalist in the 2023 competition (Folk/Americana Category) for the lyrics and melody of “Here You See Me Standing” with a new last verse. The Great American Song Contest is one of the biggest in the country with song writers competing from 41 countries.

Dusty James (guitar, banjo, mandolin, harmonica, vocals) started playing and singing when he was very young. His influences included Lead Belly, Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, Doc Watson, Mississippi John Hurt and Merle Travis. Over the years, he has appeared in numerous settings, both locally and nationally, including A Prairie Home Companion and CBS Radio and he has had the privilege of performing on stage with the likes of Doc Watson and Roland White, among others. Dusty was a winner in the guitar competition at the famed Walnut Valley Festival (Winfield, KS) in 1981 and was a finalist in 1977 and 1994.

Abalone Pearl (guitar, banjo, autoharp, dulcimer, washboard, vocals) started playing guitar at age 12 when she was inspired by Bob Dylan, Jean Ritchie, Mike Seeger, Memphis Minnie, The Carter Family, Robert Johnson and the folk movement of the 1960s. She became a professional musician at age 15, playing in coffee houses and other venues. Pearl has had a long and abiding interest in music history and owned a popular record/CD store for many years.



1PM Saturday June 8 in the Civic Center Theater

The “Echoes of Dogwood Mountain” is a group that formed from associations of folks in the southwest Missouri area.  The group name has evolved over the years from Ozark Mountain Dulcimers (a 5-person mountain dulcimer group) to Dogwood Mountain Dulcimers (which had hammered dulcimers as well as mountain dulcimers) to the now Echoes of Dogwood Mountain (a multi-instrument group). The Echoes of Dogwood Mountain has a unique variety of instruments:  mountain dulcimers, hammered dulcimers, bodhran, and at times even a marimbula and flute.  While the group plays mostly folk music, they also include songs from Bluegrass, Celtic, and Southern Gospel backgrounds. 

Meet the members of the Echoes of Dogwood Mountain:

On the back row far left, is Marvin Glueck, a retired delivery driver from Oran, Missouri, who plays the hammered dulcimer and bodhran. He saw his first hammered dulcimer on his honeymoon in Branson and fell in love with the music. He built his first hammered dulcimer and started out mostly self-taught with a basic music background. His philosophy is “with a desire, you can make music”.

To the right of Marvin is Julie Wilson who was introduced to the hammered dulcimer after retiring from teaching.  In January 2014 she attended a workshop given by Rick Thum where she met some new friends, and together they decided to get together once a month to play. From once a month they went to once a week and formed a group called the Front Porch Players, based in southeast Missouri.  They have played in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, school programs, heritage days, and local festivals.

On the front row left side is June Day, from Springfield, Missouri.  She was introduced to the mountain dulcimer in 2014 while on a trip to Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Although June didn’t get one at that time, she couldn’t get that instrument out of her mind, and then, a couple years later, her husband gifted her one for her birthday. With a growing passion for the mountain dulcimer, she enjoys playing with various groups and attending jams and festivals.

Next to her is Mary Ellen Lounsbery who resides in Branson, Missouri. She first picked up a dulcimer back in 1994/1995. At that time, she took a few lessons from Art Reed. There were not many mountain dulcimer players around at that time, so she lost interest and put the dulcimer away. She started playing again in 2015.  That time she totally fell in love with it and hasn’t stopped since.

On the far right of the front row is Christa Clawson, a nurse from Walnut Grove, Missouri. Her bucket list always included learning to play a stringed instrument, and empty-nesting revived that desire.  After some disappointment with other instruments, she settled on the mountain dulcimer and was given her first dulcimer for Christmas in 2019.  For Christa, the challenges of learning a new instrument, making new friends, and making music with those friends are just all around good medicine.

It’s our joy to share our music together and with others!  The members of the Echoes of Dogwood Mountain meet together to host a monthly open jam group called Dogwood Mountain Dulcimers.  This group meets every 1st Tuesday for a multi-instrument jam at a library in Springfield, MO, and we’d love for you to join us if you’re ever in the area on the day we meet.  Visit the Dogwood Mountain Dulcimers on Facebook and message us for more details!



Noon Saturday June 8 on the Court Square Stage

Anthony Garner is a Singer/Songwriter from the SEMO/NEA Area who travels and performs professionally in Missouri, Arkansas, and Tennessee.  He specializes in Alternative Country/Folk/Americana/Southern Rock/Blues with covers you’ll know and originals you’ll love.  Tapping into his life experiences, Anthony’s songs paint a picture of times past and spur on thoughts of simpler things and self-reflection.  With influence ranging from Appalachian to Cajun, Anthony is sure to strike up a tune to draw on your nostalgia and get your foot tapping.



5PM Saturday June 8 on the Court Square Stage

The Ozark Hellbenders band consists of Gordon Johnston, Randy Aufdembrinke, and CD Scott. The band has gone through many transitions in name and members throughout the years. We are a very eclectic band playing older rock and roll, country, bluegrass, Celtic music, and gospel music. Gordon plays a very soulful piano and sings, Randy plays rhythm guitar and sings, CD plays guitar, mandolin, and sings. The current members have also penned many songs.


5PM Saturday June 8 in the Civic Center Theater

Julie Henigan grew up in Springfield, Mo., with old-time music virtually on her doorstep.  Famed fiddler Art Galbraith lived a block away from where she grew up, the Max Hunter Song collection was available from the nearby library, and music parties were just a short drive Away.  Other musical influences from the Ozarks include Almeda Riddle, Glenn Ohrlin, and Bob Holt. Julie also gained musical inspiration from Appalachian singers and musicians like Jean Ritchie, Lily May Ledford, and Virginia ballad singer Eunice Yeatts MacAlexander, as well as from folk revival musicians like Tom Paley and Peggy Seeger. Known for her unerring command of the distinct, but related, idioms of Southern American and traditional Irish music, Julie sings and plays finger-style guitar, clawhammer banjo, mountain dulcimer, and fiddle – instruments she uses for both song accompaniments and solo pieces.

Julie’s performances have been characterized as “mesmerizing,” her vocals “stunning” and her instrumental work as “absolutely superior.”  She has performed solo in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom and Ireland, and as a member of a number of Irish and old-time bands, including Missouri Girls with Barbara Weathers and Kim Lansford.  She has shared the stage with a variety of singers and musicians, including Tom Paley, Chirps Smith, and Sara Grey, as well as with Irish super-group Altan. Author of two Mel Bay books on open-tuned finger-style guitar, Julie has a highly lauded CD on the Waterbug label entitled American Stranger



2PM Friday June 7 in the Civic Center Theater

Hogmolly is an acoustic trio based in Springfield, MO, featuring Bo Brown, (Guitar), Matt Calton, (Mandolin) and Jeff Sowards. (Bass) Their music is an eclectic mix of fun, thoughtful originals and reimagined covers, overlain with tight vocal harmonies and lots of instrumental interplay. The band originally formed in the late ’90s playing clubs and concerts, including a long stint of opening for Springfield area musical giants Big Smith.

Bo has been active in the Springfield area music scene for over 50 years, and still performs in several bands including Blackberry Winter Band with Marideth Sisco, and legendary ’80s prog-grass touring band The Undergrass Boys. Matt had a solid upbringing in bluegrass; his parents Charles and Inez Calton and their three beautiful daughters played festivals regionally as the Calton Family band, eventually opening their own show in Branson. Jeff also played from an early age, and performed in the band Fly By Night with the Wynn Brothers and others.



2PM Saturday June 8 on the Court Square Stage

“Southern Missouri multi-instrumental folk musicians, Robert Adkison, Alisha Thomas, and Jeremy Myers are no strangers to the Ozarks’ music scene. Having performed all over the Ozarks throughout the years, they’ve crafted their driving style of fiddle, banjo, guitar, and cello into an unusual sound bordering on a new music genre. Some call it folk. Some call it Americana. We call it Ozarkana.”



1PM Friday June 7 on the Court Square Stage,

3PM Friday in the Civic Center Theater

Duane Porterfield is a musician with a passion for old time folk instruments and music. He is the current Arkansas State Old Time Banjo Campion, (senior division) a former National Mountain Dulcimer Champion as well as several other awards and acknowledgements.

Duane Porterfield is an award-winning multi-instrumentalist. 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, 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.  He sums it up with these words, “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”.

Living in Mountain View, AR. since 2013, he remains involved in its rich music heritage. When not performing, or instructing workshops, you may find him at the Dulcimer Shoppe helping to create the McSpadden Mountain Dulcimer.



5PM Friday June 7 in the Civic Center Theater,

6PM Saturday on the Court Square Stage

The Shortleaf Band is a duet based in the Southern Missouri Ozark’s. Michael and Tenley Fraser have immersed themselves into the culture, and traditional music of the “Scots Irish” who became the first to settle the region.

Michael, an original member of the Shortleaf Band was instrumental in the founding of the “Old-Time Music, Ozark Heritage Festival.” He served as an apprentice to the late Bob Holt of Ava learning how to

perform Ozark Square Dance Music on the fiddle. He is also the author of the CD titled “Fiddles and Forests” that was produced by the Missouri Department of Conservation, as well as musical director on the CD “Voices of the Hills” also produced by MDC.

Tenley is a former musical stage performer who has moved into the folk music genre. She lived in Kansas City most of her life and has been performing for The Shortleaf Band since 2005. A singer/songwriter with a folksy alto voice; she plays keyboards, guitar, fiddle, and mandolin.

They will be joined by bassist Lonnie Jones and will be performing on a variety of stringed instruments including fiddle, guitar, mandolin, and others as they weave a musical tapestry showcasing traditional and contemporary music from the Ozarks.




2PM Friday June 7 on the Court Square Stage,

4PM Friday in the Civic Center Theater,

4PM Saturday on the Court Square Stage

Seth Shumate is an old-time harmonica player with a particular passion for playing fiddle tunes and pre-war solo harmonica masterpieces.  He will be joined by Messrs. Clarke Buehling on banjo and Andrew Larson on guitar and harmonica.  Buehling is a renowned 19th-century style banjo player from Arkansas. He has performed and recorded extensively, both solo and with bands, and is also a banjo historian and educator.  Larson is the proud son of Swedish immigrants and a highly accomplished harmonica player.  The show will feature a variety of group and solo performances interspersed with comic relief.  Persons whose curiosities abound may find the aforementioned gentlemen at their respective harmonica and banjo workshops.



1PM Friday June 7 in the Civic Center Theater,

4PM Friday on the Court Square Stage

Missouri Ozarks songwriter Lyal Strickland writes about the world he lives in: A little tough sometimes, doggedly inspiring at others, but absolutely real. Strickland doubles as a working farmer so there’s no shortage of inspiration in the delicate balance of legacy, pride, and struggle defining his hometown of Buffalo, Missouri.




3PM Saturday June 8 in the Civic Center Theater

Stringfield is a truly unique band with many variations, their repertoire includes old-time, Celtic, contemporary, Christmas, and original. They have played festivals, concerts, local events, and weddings.

Victoria Johnson hails from Springfield, MO. Besides the hammered dulcimer, she plays the guitar, Celtic fiddle and her newest instrument the Swedish nyckelharpa. She has won the SW regional competition, Oklahoma State on the dulcimer, and has traveled to Japan in 2003 to play at the Isaseki Bon Festival.

Gail Morissey is from Hollister, MO. She plays hammered dulcimer and the concertina. She won the SW regional competition and an honorable mention at the National competition. Gail also traveled to Japan to play at the Isaseki Bon Festival.

Lynn Scott is from Springfield, MO. She has recently joined us in getting ready for the Festival.  She and her husband Steve play for the local dances and are active in the old-time community. Her instrument is the tenor guitar.



6PM Friday June 7 on the Court Square Stage,

1PM Saturday on the Court Square 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 albums of original songs starting in 2005, they married in 2013, then established The Creek Rocks in 2015. Mark is a founding member of Ozarks family band Big Smith, with whom he toured and recorded for sixteen years. Their debut release, “Wolf Hunter,” is a collection of sixteen folk songs from the Ozarks, drawn from the collections of folklorists Max Hunter of Springfield, Missouri, Mark’s hometown; and John Quincy Wolf of Batesville, Arkansas, where Cindy grew up.

Woolf is well-known for her singular singing voice and enchanting performances of her original songs, Bilyeu for his distinct guitar sound and clever turn of phrase. Together they perform a mix of Ozark-inspired original songs and truly unique arrangements of traditional Ozark folksongs, from the fun and frivolous anthems of the hills to the hair-raising and harrowing ballads of the dark holler.




Noon Friday in the Civic Center Theater,

5PM Friday on the Court Square Stage,

3PM Saturday on the Court Square Stage

Noon Friday in the Civic Center Theater, 5PM Friday on the Court Square Stage, 3PM Saturday on the Court Square Stage

We are a Karaoke Group of Veterans who really excel at this one song.

Mark Adkerson Major of the US Army Lead vocalist

William Hatcher Sergeant of the US Army

Jayman Palmer of the US Marines

Dennis Cozort Staff Sergeant of the US Army

Randy Morgan Sergeant First Class of the US Army

Michael Gelsinger Petty Officer 1st Class of the US Navy


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