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Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Despite the chilly conditions, the BK was literally swamped with country music lovers and dancers this evening and late comers (like ourselves) were frantically searching for parking places amid the snow piles and icy lot conditions.  We managed to find a spot at the back of the lot, nuzzled up against a snow bank and just as we opened the door, the band was playing the opening strains of "Gordon's Boogie," their unofficial theme song.  Tonight found the group's lead singer, Larry Dean taking a well deserved vacation and Lawrence, KS's Arnie Johnson, a long-time area musician & band leader aptly filling in.  Arnie began the evening with Hank Sr.'s "I Could Never Be Ashamed Of You," "When My Blue Moon Turns To Gold Again" and Charlie Pride's "Crystal Chandelier."  Arnie returned later with Lefty Frizzell's "I Never Go Around Mirrors," Keith Whitley's "Somewhere Between," Jimmy Rodgers' "T For Texas," Gene Watson's "Paper Rosie," "Walkin' The Dog," Merle Haggard's "Silver Wings" and an Elvis Presley classic, "That's All Right Mama." Lead guitarist Gordon Riley also chose to sing an Elvis tune, "Big Boss Man," much to the delight of the audience, then he and the rest of the band including John Malone on drums teamed up on "Wheels," "Honky Tonk" and "Back Home Again In Indiana" as the floor was literally covered with dancers.  "Mighty" Marvin Bredemeier, who plays fiddle every Saturday night at Annie's Country Jubilee in Tonganoxie, KS showed his vocals talents off as well tonight with "Rubber Dolly" and Bob Wills' "Right Or Wrong."  He was to return later with "Tennessee Waltz" and another Wills classic, "Milk Cow Blues." 

David Purcell is always a crowd favorite and tonight he put on his best Willie voice to sing "Funny How Time Slips Away,' then it was a Garry Bichelmeyer song, "Northern Star," another Willie - "Remember Me" and "I Wonder How Many There Would Be."  Art Covey and his mandolin were joined tonight by good friend Ron Fine on his guitar and together they did a beautiful job singing and playing "Falling Leaves," "Now And Then There's A Fool Such As I," "Rebel Soldier" and "Frauline."  Mary Bichelmeyer did her usual fine vocal treatment on "Your Cheating Heart" and Gordon with help from Dave sang the Waylon Jennings classic "Good Hearted Woman."  It's always great to hear Annie Little tackle a song and tonight she did a swell job with Patsy Cline's "I Love You Honey" and Anne Murray's "Could I Have This Dance?".  Art & Ron closed out this evening's festivities on a spiritual tone with "Will The Circle Be Unbroken."  Note: Due to vacations, there will be no show at the BK next Tuesday 1/19/10 and Grinter House will be held Thursday 1/28/10. (Below)  top - Arnie Johnson entertains the big BK crowd  bottom - Ron Fine (l.)  and Art Covey (r.) sing "Falling Leaves"





Posted by hawkshaw5 at 11:44 PM CST
Updated: Wednesday, 13 January 2010 12:25 AM CST
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Sunday, 10 January 2010

This bright, sunny Sunday afternoon found us traveling to the Clinton County Youth Building for the first ever Plattsburg Opry.  The building, which is located on MO Hwy. 116 between Lathrop & Plattsburg, MO is home to many county youth programs including 4H and used to feature another Sunday country show featuring the Heartland Express a few years ago.  The new Opry features the Take 5 Band which is composed of our friends, Bill (lead guitar, fiddle, steel & vocals) & Lisa (vocals) Bennett, John Lowe (guitar, vocals) plus John (bass) & Joy (drums) Bennett.  Plans are for the Opry to have shows every 2nd & 4th Sundays from 2PM to 5PM.  They feature a large dance floor and a full service snack bar with hot dogs, brats, (w/ or w/o chili), chips, popcorn, candy bars, strawberry cheesecake, coffee & soft drinks & more!  Despite the freezing temps outside, a nice-sized crowd showed up to eat, dance and listen to some good 'ol classic country music.

Bill Bennett opened this afternoon's festivities, fiddling the "Orange Blossom Special and somewhat later, "Wheels" and "Faded Love."  Bill also showed his versatility, playing "Steel Guitar Rag" on his steel and picked and sang Brooks & Dunn's "Boot Scootin' Boogie, joined wife Lisa on George & Tammy's "Golden Rings," the Bellamy's "Margarittaville," "Keys In The Mailbox" and Dwight Yoakum's "Guitars & Cadillacs."  It was Bill starting the second half with an old fiddle tune, "Black Mountain Rag" then singing "Bubba Can Dance."  The dance floor filled up as Lisa sang Patsy Cline's "Crazy Arms" & "Pick Me Up On Your Way Down," Ray Charles' "Take These Chains," Del Reeves' "Don't Come Crying To Me," Ricky Van Shelton's "I Cried My Last Tear For You," Gretchen Wilson's "Red Neck Woman," Tanya Tucker's "Let Me Be There," Highway 101's "Walkin, Talkin, Cryin" and Janie Fricke's "I Need Someone To Hold Me."

John Lowe started his set with a great George Strait classic "The Cowboy Rides Away" followed by Hank Williams Jr.'s "Eleven Roses" and "All For The Love Of Sunshine," Hank Sr.'s "Honky Tonk Blues," Chuck Berry's "Memphis" and Billy Currington's "People Are Crazy."  Later it was George Jones' "Walk Through This World With Me," Merle Haggard's "Ramblin Fever," Gene Watson's "Got No Reason Now For Going Home" and Micky Gilley's "There's A Song On The Jukebox."  Great stuff!  Walk-ons this afternoon included Elmer Clark ("All My Ex's Live In Texas," "Your Cheatin Heart"), Larry Roberts ("Candy Kisses," "Wabash Cannonball"), Bill Boswell (his uncle Buddy Boswell used to operate the Union Mill Opry in Edgerton, MO) ("Silver Wings," "Farewell Party"), Art Damgar ("Just Walk On By", "Swinging Doors"), Jordan Wallace ("Last Kiss," "Sweet Home Alabama") and our pal Wayne Hoover, who operates the Countryside Jamboree in Cameron, MO each Friday night ("Washed My Hands In Muddy Water," "Unwound").  John Lowe closed the show with a gospel number - "I Saw The Light."  (Below) The Take 5 Band plays here at the Clinton County Youth Building the 2nd & 4th Sundays from 2-5 PM



Posted by hawkshaw5 at 8:24 PM CST
Updated: Sunday, 10 January 2010 10:21 PM CST
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Friday, 8 January 2010

We talked with Byron Jones this morning and the KCABMC meeting at 3601 Sterling which is normally held every 2nd Friday of the month has been cancelled due to these adverse weather conditions.  Next meeting is scheduled for February 12, weather permitting.

We also have received an e-mail from Terry Dunavin informing us that the show at Annie's Country Jubilee in Tonganoxie this Saturday night has been cancelled and they are attempting to reschedule Bill Jordan.  The show for January 16th is an afternoon show, starting at 1 PM with Annie & Jim doing a tribute to Conway & Loretta.

We've just received an e-mail from Dennis Dittemore and the show at Big Creek in Pleasant Hill, MO has been cancelled for this Saturday night as well.  He made a very good point that driving conditions and temperatures make it increasingly dangerous for us older folk to risk life & limb.

Billy Dean Bennett reports that the new Plattsburg Opry which is going to be held at the 4H building just east of town, is a "go" for Sunday.  The show starts at 2 PM.  The weather is supposed to improve by show time.

Posted by hawkshaw5 at 2:15 PM CST
Updated: Saturday, 9 January 2010 9:18 AM CST
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Saturday, 2 January 2010

We haven't had the opportunity to visit Dave Wooge and his Burlington Opry, which is held every 1st Saturday at the historical Music Box Theatre in Burlington, KS, for quite awhile now, so despite a rather crummy forecast, mid-afternoon found us heading south on I-35/US75, arriving well before the 7PM start time.  Dave, who is still on crutches and heavily bandaged from a recent foot operation, didn't miss a beat, emceeing the event with his usual comedic flair, doing a tremendous job behind the keyboards and displaying his vocal talents.  The Music Box band had some new faces tonight with Lane Gray of Topeka on steel guitar and Mark Paquette of Ottawa on drums.  Dave Hammersmith who hails from Lansing, KS was back on lead guitar, as was Russell Wolfe of Topeka on bass.  A neat surprise was seeing Thomas McGregor here tonight, playing fiddle.  We've known Thomas for many years and knew he had left the area at one time to pursue his musical career.  It was great seeing him again!  Dave is not the only Wooge involved in the Opry as wife Stephanie handles the box office, concessions and lots more of the business side and daughters Katie (12 years old) and Erin (6 years old) both sing with the band.

The show started, as customary, with Katie bearing the Stars and Stripes down the main aisle to the stage and Erin leading the audience, singing "The Star Spangled Banner."  Dave and the band welcomed everyone with Porter Wagoner's "Company's Comin'."  We always enjoy hearing Russell Wolfe tackle a good country song and tonight he sounded super as he sang Merle's "Let's Chase Each Other Round The Room Tonight," Jack Greene's "Statue Of A Fool" and "Silver Wings" among others.  Drummer Mark Paquette also did a bang-up job singing Gordon Lightfoot's "Sundown," Roger Miller's "King Of The Road" and Buck Owens' "Act Naturally."  Lane Gray turned his steel guitar loose on "Bud's Bounce" and returned later to sing "Heart Over Mind" while Dave Wooge sang the Tennessee Ernie Ford classic, "Sixteen Tons" as well as the "Tennessee Waltz" and Johnny Horton's "North To Alaska."  Dave Hammersmith got an ovation as he sang Buck Owens' "Tiger By The Tail" while Thomas McGregor had his fiddle smokin' with "Ida Red," "Faded Love" and the "Orange Blossom Special."  Katie Wooge got a big hand as she sang "End Of The World" and Donna Fargo's "Happiest Girl In The Whole USA" as did sister Erin ("You Are My Sunshine").

The first of tonight's guest artists was our friend Butch Carter from Quinemo, KS, who after singing Gene Watson's "14 Carat Mind," was joined by Russell & Dave to sing "Tom Dooley," a 1958 megahit by the Kingston Trio.  Conway Twitty's "Linda On My Mind," Faron Young's "Four In The Morning," Marty Robbins' "Devil Woman," Leroy Van Dyke's "Just Walk On By" and a super duet with tonight's other guest artist Lorena Prater of Johnny Duncan's "It Couldn't Have Been Any Better" followed.  Lorena, who lives in nearby Vassar, KS, is a consumate entertainer, being able to sing a Patsy Cline song with the best of 'em and can put an audience in the aisles with a side-splitting comedy routine!  Tonight it was Hank Sr.'s "Jambalaya," Patsy's "Crazy." a great duet with Russell Wolf of the Vince Gill/Patty Loveless release, "You're My Kind Of Woman (You're My Kind Of Man) followed by another Patsy Cline number "Walking After Midnight," Tammy Wynette's "Apartment #9" and joined by Russell & Dave, the June Carter/Johnny Cash chartbuster "Jackson."  Also, dressed in her 50's bobby soxer outfit, complete with hoop skirt and saddle oxfords, she awakened a lot of memories with "Why Do Fools Fall In Love."

An extra special treat tonight was Autumn Kirchner's Star Struck program which operates from the Burlington Recreation Center.  Composed of young ladies, ages 5 through 12 who, all dressed up for the occasion sang and executed some of the cutest choreographed routines we've seen.  After Autumn sang the Dolly Parton hit "9 to 5," the 5 year olds performed "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus," the 7 year olds, "Rockin Around The Christmas Tree," the 8 year olds, "You Belong With Me" and the 10-12 year olds, "Love Story."  The big audience applauded both Ms. Kirchner and her future starlets: Gabbi Burger (8), Brooke Faimon (7), Madison Fischer (8), Jalyn Griffith (8), Kassidy Gutsch (5), Desiree Hartpense (10), Megan Hartpense (8), Makena Klubek (5), Breea McManus (7), Kylie Price (5), Delanie Sloop (12), Jara Thorp (8), Kameron Cole (8), Cassidy Birk (8) and Rachel Adkin (7).  This super show closed most appropriately with Thomas fiddling "How Great Thou Art" and the cast singing "Praise Him."  (Below) top - Russell Wolfe, Dave Wooge & guest artist Butch Carter sing "Tom Dooley"  center - Lorena Prater & Butch sing "It Couldn't Have Been Any Better"  bottom - Autumn Kirchner with members of Star Struck





Posted by hawkshaw5 at 12:01 AM CST
Updated: Tuesday, 19 January 2010 12:41 PM CST
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Friday, 1 January 2010

It was a big crowd of revelers that braved the chilly temperatures to help bring in 2010 in the best method that we can possibly think of--- spending the evening with good friends and enjoying some of the finest classic country music around!  The Jubilee theatre was beautifully decorated and adorned with reminders of the approaching new decade, but before zero hour approached, there was a lot of top entertainment and great music to listen to.

Annie Dunavin welcomed everyone Patsy Cline style (Now, come on in, sit right down and make yourself at home!) then introduced Ronni Ward who was dressed in a beautiful floor-length velvet dress.  Ronni put her vocal talents to good use with Highway 101's "The Bed You Made For Me" and returned later with Tanya Tucker's "Someday Soon," "Kansas City" and "Angels From Montgomery."   Emcee Jim Winters who also is one of the finest male singers around these parts stepped front and center to sing Randy Travis' "Honky Tonk Moon" and George Strait's "Don't Mind If I Do," after introducing musical director and lead guitarist David George and the rest of the Annie's Country Jubilee band.  Later it was Jack Greene's 1961 megahit "Last Letter From Me" and another Strait tune, "Ace In The Hole."  Fred Uzzell did a wonderful job all evening on the steel guitar and dobro, especially his treatment of "Don't Get Around Much Anymore" as did "Mighty" Marvin Bredemeier, who got a big hand as he fiddled the "Orange Blossom Special."  Drummer Steve Straub used his tremendous vocal talents to sing Merle Haggard's "Farmer's Daughter" and Ted Ward, the group's bass player also turned in a fabulous vocal performance with "Bobby Sue."  Pretty Haylie Walter can handle a good ole country song with the best of 'em and very fittingly started with a Hank Williams' classic "You Win Again."  She was to return later with Dolly's "Here You Come Again," Tammy Wynette's "Till I Can Make It On My Own" and Martina McBride's "Broken Wing."  And speaking of great vocals, Annie herself was to return with a k d lang tune "Down To My Last Cigarette," Lynn Anderson's "If I Kiss You" and the Judd's "Love Can Build A Bridge."  Great stuff!!

Tonight's first guest artist, the classy Ken Phagley is certainly no stranger to frequent opry and country show attendees as he has been a mainstay at most of these and other venues in the area for many years now.  Dressed to the nines, as he always is, Ken interacted beautifully with the audience as he sang John Michael Montgomery's "Be My Baby Tonight," Elvis' "There Goes My Everything,"  "George Strait's "Fire Man," Charlie Rich's "Most Beautiful Girl" and the upbeat "Johnny B. Goode" and "Whole Lotta Shakin'."  It wouldn't be New Year's Eve without Beth Hunter and this crazy little lady from Albia, Iowa remains one of our favorite performers bar none.  Jimmy Dean's "Bummin' Around" was followed by Janie Fricke's "Someone To Hold Me" and the whimiscal John Hartford tune "Don't Leave Your Records In The Sun" preceeded the infamous "Washing Machine Song." 

It was just super seeing Kevin Olson was on tonight's program.  This naturally talented performer is always such a pleasure to listen to. Tonight he chose Charlie Rich's "Kiss An Angel Good Morning," a Gary Morris song, "Velvet Chains," Keith Whitley's "Don't Close Your Eyes," Doug Stone's "Fourteen Minutes Old" and the Gatlin Brothers' "Broken Lady." Kevin was to return as did many of the other artists for a final set after midnight.  At intermission, everyone was treated to a meal of BBQ beef sandwiches, dill pickles, chips, cookies, punch and an after-dinner mint and just before midnight, festive party hats and noise makers were passed out for the magic hour.  As Jim Winters saluted the upcoming New Year's arrival with Gene Watson's "I Don't Need A Thing At All" and Dave Dudley's "Six Days On The Road" Annie's alter ego, "Ruby" made her 2010 debut, actively persuing poor Jim (and anything else wearing trousers, we expect).  Some things never change!  As midnight officially arrived, Fred Uzzell led a singalong, playing "Ault Lang Syne" on his steel guitar and Beth Hunter sang "Do Lord" and it was Ken Phagely with "Down To The River" before Haylie Walter was kind enough to sing a request from us of Johnny Bush's "What A Way To Live." 

Kevin Olson returned as well with a Ronnie Milsap hit "Daydreams About Night Things" and Randy Travis' "Three Wooden Crosses."  Ronni Ward closed this tremendous evening with Patsy Montana's "He Taught Me How To Yodel," Dolly Parton's "Jolene" and a George Gershwin classic "My Love Is Here To Stay."  Before we forget it" A VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EACH AND EVERY ONE  OF YOU OUT THERE!!  And in 2010 let's KEEP IT COUNTRY!!  (Below) top -  l. to r. Kevin Olson, Beth Hunter, Ken Phagley  middle - Jim Winters with a little more than he can handle -- the notorious "Ruby" bottom - Beth Hunter & friends perform "The Washing Machine Song"  JUST A NOTE; Next Saturday Annie will feature our friend Bill Jordan who has returned to the area after living and performing in Branson for several years.  Folks, you don't want to miss seeing Bill...make those reservations early!







Posted by hawkshaw5 at 12:38 PM CST
Updated: Saturday, 2 January 2010 10:14 AM CST
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Wednesday, 30 December 2009

We finally had the opportunity to see Hot Club Of Cowtown perform.  It always seems as if we have conflicting schedules and have missed seeing them at least twice previously.  Although this was an early show (7PM) and prevented us from interviewing or having any personal contact with the group this time around, we throughly enjoyed watching Shawnee-Mission East graduate Elana James (formerly Elana Fremerman) on vocals & violin (or fiddle, if you hang out the same places we do), Whit Smith handling the lead guitar duties as well as vocals and Jake Erwin on doghouse bass & vocals, perform. 

Their style of combining Western Swing and hot jazz is contageous, the crowd applauded every tune whether it be the Bob Wills' classic "Ida Red," George Jones' "Silver Dew On The Bluegrass Tonight" or Frank Sinatra's "Cheek To Cheek" - all infused with a dose of HCC upbeat elixer.  The formula proved just as potent with original material such as "Eva's Waltz" a tune James wrote about her dog.  Beginning their set with the "Joe-Bob Rag," it was Hank Thompson's "Oklahoma Hills," "Sleep" and a Frank Sinatra classic "Exactly Like You." 

Proving that their formula can even work with classical material, Elana and the guys did an absolutely marvelous job on "Tchanola Swing" before launching an old Ella Fitzgerald tune, "I Can't Give You Anything But Love Baby" and the Mills Brothers' "Chinatown My Chinatown."  Elana had those fiddle strings smokin' with "Orange Blossom Special," then joined Whit and Jake as they sang "Long Way Home."  The evening came to a close with Roy Rogers' "Along The Navajo Trail," "Devil's Dream" and Dean Martin's "I Can't Believe You're Still In Love With Me."  We went home with a CD and are really enjoying listening to it as we write this.  For more information on the group or to order CDs and other merchandise, try their website:  Below:  Hot Club Of Cowtown on stage at Knuckleheads 12/30/09



Posted by hawkshaw5 at 11:04 PM CST
Updated: Friday, 1 January 2010 1:58 AM CST
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Tuesday, 29 December 2009

We couldn't get away from work on time tonight and were several minutes late arriving at our normal Tuesday night haunt -- the BK Lounge.  We were greeted by a nice-sized crowd of listeners and dancers alike as we found our normal seats at the big table and although tonight's program was already in progress, we were in time to hear "Marvelous" Marvin Bredemeier (who, of course is the resident fiddler every Saturday night at Annie's Country Jubilee in Tonganoxie, KS) fiddle the Kentucky Waltz, the old fiddle tune "Back Up And Push" and later in the evening sang & fiddled Charlie Daniels "The Devil Went Down To Georgia" and was kind enough to play "Ragtime Annie" for yours truly.  Thanks, Marv!  Close on his heels, David Purcell donned his cap & pigtails and in his best Willie voice did a super job singing "On The Road Again" and "Help Me Make It Through The Night."  Dave returned after break and with help from the rest of the band including drummer John Malone, sang a couple of Garry Bichelmeyer creations, "Northern Star" and "The River Is Deep."  Mary Bichelmeyer gave the crowd a treat as she sang Kitty Wells' "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels," "Walk The Way The Wind Blows," "Don't Tell Me What To Do" and "Bill Bailey."

Larry Dean was in fine voice himself tonight, singing Delbert McClinton's "Back To Louisiana," Alan Jackson's "Designated Drinker," George Strait's "Does Ft. Worth Ever Cross Your Mind" and after Scott Gilmore sang "Boot Scootin' Boogie" for the line-dancers, it was a Frank Sinatra tune, "The Summer Wind."  The group's great lead guitarist, Gordon Riley and the rest of the band played an original tune of his we all call "Gordon's Boogie," then it was "Sweet Georgia Brown" Merle Travis style and "9 Lb. Hammer," on which he did a excellent job, both singing and picking.  Garry Bichelmeyer got a big hand as he sang Charlie Pride's "Is Anybody Goin To San Antone," "Kansas City" and Billy Currington's "People Are Crazy."  Marvin led the band playing "Ault Lang Syne" and wished everyone a Happy and Safe New Year!!  (Below)  top -  Gordon Riley plalys "Sweet Georgia Brown" Merle Travis style  bottom - Marvin Bredemeier dons his "Charlie Daniels" hat.





Posted by hawkshaw5 at 12:01 AM CST
Updated: Wednesday, 30 December 2009 5:23 PM CST
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Tuesday, 22 December 2009

A near capaciity crowd filled the BK tonight in anticipation of a great Christmas program and after Gordon Riley and the rest of the band including John Malone on drums, opened tonight's get-together with "Gordon's Boogie #1,"  Larry Dean got the holiday cheer started with George Strait's "Christmas Cookies' and Elvis' "Santa Claus Is Back In Town."  Larry returned later with John Denver's "Grandma's Feather Bed" and Merle Haggard's "If We Make It Through December."  Garry Bichelmeyer also chose an Elvis song, "Blue Christmas" to start off with, then it was Waylon's "Wurlitzer Prize" and somewhat later Billy Currington's "People Are Crazy."  "Magnanimous" Marvin Bredemeier was up next (magnanimous means having a dignified and generous nature, which fits our friend Marvin to a "T") and putting bow to fiddle did a beautiful job playing "Goodnight My Love," played & sang "Here Come Santa Claus" and "Winter Wonderland."  Marvin, of course plays fiddle every Saturday night at Annie's Country Jubilee in Tonganoxie, KS. 

Mary Bichelmeyer, Garry's wife and the group's bass player, used her soft, mellow voice tonight to sing Patsy's "Crazy Arms," "Bill Bailey," "I'll Be Home For Christmas" and "I Can't Help It If I'm Still In Love With You," and Gordon and the gang returned with a great instrumental of "Silver Bells" a super vocal by Gordon of Buck Owens' "Santa Looked A Lot Like Daddy" then it was the "Panhandle Rag" and "Honky Tonk." We always enjoy seeing our friend David Purcell perform and tonight he sang a Garry Bichelmeyer song "Northern Star," "Help Me Make It Through The Night" (we saw Kris Krisofferson & Rita Cooledge perform this at a concert here in KC) and later it was Merle's "It's Not Love But It's Not Bad" and in his best "Willie voice," "Remember Me."  Thanks David!  Art Covey made some beautiful sounds himself here tonight as he sang & picked his mandolin to "Deep Water" and the "Kentucky Waltz."

It's been quite a spell since we've seen Rick Mullen and didn't hardly recognize him behind that full beard, but it was great to have him drop in and perform "Singing The Blues."  Rick and his wife Leta have the Glory Barn at 34th & Woodend in KCKS, which has a show every Saturday night.  Ron Fine, also a fine singer dropped in this evening as well and did a marvelous job singing the Waylon/Jessie standard, "Storms Never Last."  This was the first opportunity we've had to meet Jerome Oberle and hear him play his all-button accordian or as they are sometimes referred to: "squeezebox."  Whatever you call them, Jerome got some great sounds from it as he played "Pennsylvania Polka," "White Christmas" and closed the festivities this evening with the "Blue Skirt Waltz" and "Silent Night."  (Below) Jerome Oberle plays "White Christmas" on his accordian



Posted by hawkshaw5 at 12:01 AM CST
Updated: Thursday, 24 December 2009 12:33 PM CST
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Saturday, 19 December 2009

As master-fiddler Larry Ellis and the rest of the Big Creek band, including Kevin Hoff on drums, Ted Cline on bass and Mike Campbell on banjo/guitar opened the show with "The Rocker Arm Reel," Big Creek's owner, operator & emcee Dennis Dittemore welcomed everyone to tonight's gala event with "The Christmas Polka."  Debbie Martin (or Debbie Erikson if you're a KFKF listener) continued the holiday theme, singing "Winter Wonderland" and "Do You See What I See," beautifully while maestro Phil HIlton did an incredible job with "Jingle Bells" and "Chariots Of Fire."  Cindy Dittemore did a spectactular job herself here tonight as she sang "All I Want For Christmas Is You," joined Debbie on "Jingle Bell Rock" then returned later with Amy Grant's "Tennessee Christmas."  It's always a gas to see and hear Mike Campbell play banjo (and guitar) and tonight he got the feet shufflin' with "Raw Hide," "Dear Old Dixie" and "Hee Haw Junction" with Larry Ellis and the band.  Jim Lower is one of the finest lead guitar players we've heard and tonight he treated the crowd to some great instrumental work as he played "Faded Love" and "Frankie & Johnnie."  Santa himself made a personal appearance here tonight, conveniently arriving right at intermission with sacks of candy and goodies for all the "children" in the audience!

We always enjoy hearing Kevin & Ted Cline sing that good 'ol classic country music and tonight they began with a Buck Owens' tribute with Kevin singing "Love's Gonna Live Here Again" and "Santa Looked A Lot Like Daddy" and Ted, "I'll Go To Church Again With Momma."  Returing later Ted was to sing Mel Street's "Big Diamonds" and Johnny Rodriquez's "Love Put A Song In My Heart"  while Kevin sang Willie Nelson's "Pretty Paper" (Ray Benson told us once that Willie saw a man with no legs on a skateboard in San Antonio selling pencils, envelopes & paper and it inspired this song) and Ronnie Milsap's "Back On My Mind Again."  This is the second time we have seen Tracy Allison from Freeman, MO perform and again we are very impressed with this young lady's natural abilities and presence.  Among her selections tonight were Suzy Bogguss' "Two Step Around The Christmas Tree," Johnny Cash's "I Still Miss Someone," "Someday Soon" (we saw Ann-Margaret do this at Andy Williams' theatre in Branson years ago) and Alan Jackson's "The Angels Cried."

Our pal Larry Smith is always a big hit here at Big Creek whenever he performs and tonight he certainly showed why as he started things off with a Moe Bandy hit "Too Old To Die Young" followed by Merle Haggard's "If We Make It Through December" and a seasonal tune written by Larry himself entitled "Put Christ Back In Christmas."  Larry returned the second half with the Johnny Russell written, Gene Watson performed "Got No Reason Now For Going Home," a request for a just-retired friend, Johnny Paycheck's "Take This Job And Shove It," George Jones' "She Thinks I Still Care" and the moving "I Was There."  Dennis closed the evening, reminding everyone what Christmas is truly about with "Oh, Holy Night" and Larry Ellis and the band played "2 O'Clock In The Morning" as the curtain closed.  (Below)  top - Cindy & Dennis visit Santa  middle - Debbie gives Santa her wish list (and a hug!)  bottom - Wonder what Larry Smith's gonna get from Santa?





Posted by hawkshaw5 at 12:01 AM CST
Updated: Tuesday, 22 December 2009 12:00 AM CST
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Friday, 18 December 2009

A big crowd of bluegrass watchers and jammers decended on the Northcross United Methodist Church tonight for the monthly club meeting and stage show of the Heart Of American Bluegrass & Oldtime Music group or H.A.B.O.T. as it is commonly called.  President Mary Eddings welcomed everyone to tonight's show and introduced Ruth Graham & June Smitha who opened tonight's show with "Jesus & Me" and Christmas.  What a pleasant surprise to see our friend John Lowe from Cameron, MO drop in tonight and sing "Don't Be Angry" and Hank Jr.'s "'Leven Roses" for the appreciative audience.  John's Take Five Band will be performing every 2nd & 4th Sundays from 2-5 PM at the Plattsburg 4H building (we plan on being there January 10th).  Mattie Radabaugh did a swell job singing Loretta's "Coal Miner's Daughter" and "Walking My Lord Up Calvery Hill" and Jean Bartee got a big hand as she sang "Johnny & Sally" and "Baby Girl."  The "house band" which accompanied these artist was composed of Cotton Sanders on fiddle (he made it sing like a bird as he played 'Listen To The Mockingbird), Irvin Martin on guitar ("Too Old To Die Young") and Walt Weigand, also on guitar ("Silent Night").

Tonight's first group, Liberty Highway are certainly no strangers to us, either individually or collectively as they have played together for the past 4 years and have been part of HABOT as individuals since we began attending meetings here.  Composed of Chris Adkins on banjo, Ted Huff on guitar, Lynn Peeples on bass, the newest addition to the group, Billy Sprouse and of course the incomparable Jim Downs on mandolin, the band kicked off tonights set with Jim singing "Nine Pound Hammer" followed by "Hills Of West Virginia," "Old Ship Of Zion," "Trains Are The Only Way To Fly," "Tune Of A Twenty Dollar Bill," "Black Diamond Coal," Hallelujah I'm Ready" and an instrumental, "Doc's Breakdown."  Jim and the boys continued with "Waiting At The Gate," a song about the late Bill Monroe, Del McCoury's "Vincent Black Lightning 1952," "Three Men On A Mountain" and one of our favorite bluegrass tunes, Jimmy Martin's "Sunny Side Of The Mountain."

We saw this next group of young musicians who call themselves Copper Creek perform last month at KCABMC and were quite impressed.  If this is the future of bluegrass music then rest assured it will be in good hands.  With Josh Musik on guitar, Nathan Hawkins on banjo, Bethany Musik on mandolin, Rachael Musik on rhythm guitar, Ellie Asher on fiddle, Lea Asher, bass, Daniel Hawkins on mandolin and Sara Musik on fiddle, they played some old-time favorites with some clever improvisations on their part.  Beginning with "Cotton Eyed Joe," it was "Red Wing," "Black Eyed Susie," "Old Time Religion," "Temperance Reel," "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" and "Faded Love."  "Are You Washed In The Blood," was followed by "Y'all Come," "Old Joe Clark," "Down Yonder," "There Is A Time," "The Banjo And The Holler," a medley of "Will The Circle Be Unbroken/I'll Fly Away," "Orange Blossom Special" and "Go Tell It On The Mountain."  Closing the set, all the ladies blended their voices beautifully on "Winter Wonderland." 

It's always such a privledge and a pleasure to see and listen to tonight's third group -- the Hootin' Annies perform.  With Karla Campbell on bass, Patti Nance on dobro, Stephanie Hope on Fiddle, Mary Bliefnick on banjo and Cynthia McKechnie on guitar, this group has won almost every prestigious bluegrass group award they have set out to conquor.  Patti began tonight's set with "Preachin'-Prayin'" and later it was Buck Owens' "Santa Looks A Lot Like Daddy" while Mary got a big hand for "Paint The Town" and "Banjo Pickin' Girl."  Stephanie led the group with voice and fiddle on "Down The Old Plank Road" and "Jingle Bells" while Cynthia (or Blondie, if you prefer) did a marvelous job with "Winter's Come And Gone."  Karla told the musical story of "He Goes To Church On Sundays Now" followed by "Ain't Takin You Back," "Santa Baby," "Oh Christmas Tree" and by request the ever popular "Automobile Song" or "MMMMMotor Vehicle."

Mary Eddings wished everyone Happy Holidays and invited one and all to return in January.  HABOT meets the third Friday of each month September thru April. MAKE HABOT A HABIT!!  (Below) top - The Hootin Annies  middle - Copper Creek  bottom - Liberty Highway







Posted by hawkshaw5 at 12:01 AM CST
Updated: Saturday, 19 December 2009 1:13 PM CST
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