Southwind Rained Out – May 16, 2015

Unfortunately, Southwind has been rained out tonight, May 16, 2015.

Unfortunately, Southwind has been rained out tonight, May 16, 2015.

Very disappointing, but for the second week in a row, the Front Porch Stage is being rained out! We were all looking forward to enjoying the music of Southwind for their first-ever performance here, but it was not to be. Too much rain has left the Courthouse grounds very soggy, and the predictions for this evening are not encouraging.

For those of you who were looking forward to hearing Dewayne Hodges last weekend, however, you’re in luck. Jerry Babbitt reports that Dewayne will be performing a benefit this evening at the Mount Ida Senior Center at 6 pm. There is a suggested donation at the door of $5 supporting a great cause.  Come out and enjoy the music INDOORS!

Hope to see you next weekend for Mount Ida’s Good Ol’ Gospel show featuring Level Ground on Friday, and Mike Mayberry and the Slowhands are featured on the Front Porch Stage Saturday. Both are performing for the first time on the ‘Stage. See our Calendar of Events for more details.

Dewayne Hodges Rained Out – May 9, 2015

It has been a very wet spring in Montgomery County, and, unfortunately, Mother Nature selected May 9 to bring another dousing, disappointing us at not being able to enjoy the music of Dewayne Hodges.  However, Dewayne is scheduled for another appearance September 16, 2015, so we hope you will all be able to join us then.

Come join us September 16, 2015, when Dewayne Hodges will again visit the Front Porch Stage.

Come join us September 16, 2015, when Dewayne Hodges will again visit the Front Porch Stage.

The Prairie Grove Band – Season Opener – May 2, 2015

What a great night we had for opening the season!

A large crowd attended our first show, and the Prairie Grove Band did an excellent job as usual.  There’s a reason this Band is a favorite on our stage!

A great crowd on hand for the music of The Prairie Grove Band

A great crowd on hand for the music of The Prairie Grove Band
(Click on this image to view more photos from May 2, 2015)

During the spring, the Board and Officers of The Montgomery County Front Porch Stage, Inc., found a way to upgrade the sound gear, including the addition of a new mixing board and burying a new “snake” attaching the equipment on stage with the sound booth, and it really made a difference!

And, the weather this evening just could not have been better. Thank you all for coming out and enjoying the music.

The Frontporch Stage is a wonderful addition to all the good things happening in Montgomery County.

A Little Front Porch Stage History

Front Porch Stage Technical Director Jerry Babbitt has gone through some of the archives, guest books, and so forth, and has come up with the following.  Thanks, Jerry!

A little history about our Front Porch Stage

We have been around for 13 years and have had 330 shows, all free to more than 35,000 visitors in those 13 years!

There are some visitors that stand out, like the fellow who showed up from Uzbekistan. Uzbekistan is as far west as it is east; that fellow owns the distance record. It so happens that his “mom” grew up here and still lives on Liberty Road. He really had a good time while he was here.

We have had visitors from 49 of the 50 states, North Dakota being the missing state.

Most of the international visitors were here for crystal digging, but a few were just tourists checking out the United States. We’ve had folks here from England, Ireland, Wales and Scotland, from France, Belgium, Germany, Denmark, Norway, and, yes, even Russia. We’ve had folks from Spain and Italy and Israel and South Africa. We’ve had folks visiting from China, Taiwan, Japan, Vietnam, and the Philippines. We’ve had had folks from Canada, Mexico, Costa Rico, and Panama. We’ve had folks from Brazil, Venezuela, Peru, Chili, Bolivia and Columbia. We don’t know about more, because a lot of visitors just didn’t sign our book.

Not too shabby for a little country town stage …

As we embark on our 14th season, we hope to have many of our visitors return to Hang Around With Us … Y’all Come, and bring your chairs!

(For more about the history of the Front Porch Stage, visit Our History page.)

A Veterans’ Event Scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 1, 2014

Mark your calendars!

Saturday, November 1st, at 11:30am until 2pm, and weather permitting, there will be A Veteran’s Event on the Courthouse lawn in Mt Ida, Arkansas.

Everyone is invited to Join in and help out with a special presentation from “Quilts of Valor” to eight more Montgomery County Veterans.

Also, there will be a special presentation to the Family of Fallen Hero Justin “Dutch” Estes who was killed in Iraq.

The event will feature a free lunch and music from Mountain Springs (featuring our own Mike Adams), in addition to the presentation of these most special awards.

This program being put together by The American Legion, Quilts of Valor of Montgomery County, and The Montgomery County Front Porch Stage.


Shady Grove Rained Out – October 11, 2014

Unfortunately, the weather didn’t cooperate this weekend, and we had to cancel the Front Porch Stage Season Finale with Shady Grove.  We will look forward to being able to have them visit us in the 2015 season.

We will welcome Shady Grove to the Front Porch Stage for our final show of the 2014 season, October 11.

Shady Grove – So sorry we missed you!

As promised, however, we did hold a drawing for the two Daisy BB Guns for which we’ve been selling raffle tickets through the summer.  Sure wish we could have held the drawing during the Shady Grove show, but it wasn’t to be.  The winners are …

  • Emile Kinney, our friend who helps run the Heritage House Museum in town, won the Front Porch Stage Special “Pink” Ladies Red Ryder BB Gun.
Emile Kinney with her new Pink Red Ryder BB Gun

Emile Kinney with her new Pink Red Ryder BB Gun

  • Fern Irons from Oden was the winner of the Front Porch Page Special Red Ryder BB Gun.
Fern Irons sights in her new Daisy Red Ryder BB Gun

Fern Irons sights in her new Daisy Red Ryder BB Gun

Congratulations to both of these winners, and many, many thanks to all of you who purchased chances to win.  The proceeds will help your Montgomery County Front Porch Stage continue to bring you quality music and great evenings in Mount Ida!

These two Front Porch Stage Special Daisy BB Guns are being raffled off. The drawing will be held Oct. 11 at our last show of the 2014 season.

Congratulations to our winners!.

Interstate Thirty – September 27, 2014

Saturday night, Beautiful weather and great bluegrass music from Interstate Thirty! At first, our Front Porch Stage show with Interstate Thirty looked like it was going to be a tiny crowd, but the crowd arrived and kept arriving! A beautiful evening made it all the better with the great music from Interstate Thirty.

Interstate Thirty put on a rousing show of great bluegrass!  Thank y'all for coming to Mount Ida.

Interstate Thirty put on a rousing show of great bluegrass! Thank y’all for coming to Mount Ida.
(Click on this image to view more photos from Sept. 27, 2014)

The band kicked off with a couple of warm-up instrumentals and showed their arranging skills with a wonderful bluegrass version of “House of the Rising Sun”, not your typical tune. They then presented a more traditional “My Little Georgia Rose”.  The crowd really enjoyed a totally radical bluegrass “Midnight Rider” and a wonderful arrangement of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”, which the crowd loved. The band then did a moving, soulful version of a gospel favorite, “Wayfaring Stranger”. They went to break with a great version of “Georgia on the Fast Train”, a bluegrass standard.

Chris Smith on the upright bass, and Ben Cardin on banjo.

Chris Smith on the upright bass, and Ben Cardin on banjo.

Interstate 30 got its name from the location of all the members’ geographic locations all up and down I-30. Derrick Ball, no stranger to the porch, having played here with Phillip James, is from Benton and leads the band on vocals and guitar. Peyton Murphy, originally from Imboden, AR, now resides in Benton and plays the mandolin, provides great vocal harmonies, and occasionally takes a lead vocal. Paul DeWeber moved to Arkansas from Washington and now lives in Hot Springs. Paul has a lot of history here, as he was in the Ouachita Mountain Boys years ago. Paul plays a mean fiddle, sings great vocal harmonies, and he too takes a turn on lead vocals. Ben Cardin is no stranger to our stage, having played with several bands before making Interstate 30 his musical home. Ben lives down on I-30 somewhere in the Caney Creek area. Ben plays the banjo and provides a lot of humor at his own expense. Last but not least Chris Smith on the upright bass; Chris also occasionally sticks his head in there for a lead vocal.

Paul DeWeber - fiddle; Peyton Murphy - mandolin; Derrick Ball - guitar.

Paul DeWeber – fiddle; Peyton Murphy – mandolin; Derrick Ball – guitar.

The second set was just as fabulous as the first set, as they opened with a great gospel instrumental “Jerusalem Ridge” followed by “Live By the Side of the Road”, where Paul took a turn on lead vocals. Chris finally got in on the mic with a great version of “Going Down the Road”. They performed a song off their current CD, “Coal Mining Man”, bluegrass at it’s very best.

They played a request from some folks from Montgomery County … Texas – “Redwing” – which got a great response from our Montgomery County, AR, crowd too! Chris got back into the vocal spotlight with a great rendition of a real crowd-pleaser – “Wagonwheel”.

Bluegrass wouldn’t be bluegrass with out the greatest tunes like “Sled Ride” and “Fox on the Run”; Interstate Thirty has mastered really great versions of both.

We insisted on an encore and they obliged with one of the best versions of “The Orange Blossom Special” we’ve heard, with Paul tearing it up on the fiddle.

We wish to thank Interstate 30 for coming to Mt Ida to our front Porch. We will be looking at a couple of dates for them next season!!! Thanks Derrick Ball, Chris Smith, Ben Cardin, Paul DeWeber and Peyton Murphy for the wonderful evening of bluegrass!

[Find Interstate Thirty on the web at and on Facebook.]

The Old Dawgs – September 20, 2014

They call themselves the “Old Dawgs”, but they’re far from dogs when they perform. This great group comes from all over, and as John said, “from parts unknown”. We’re really glad they came together for their “live practice session”!

The Old Dawgs entertain Mount Ida on the Front Porch Stage

The Old Dawgs entertain Mount Ida on the Front Porch Stage
(Click on this image to view more photos from The Old Dawgs)

They kicked off their show with “Bo Jangles”, and seven voices warmed up quickly as they followed with “California Dreaming”. It didn’t take long for our crowd long to realize they had come to something special.

Walter and Mindy Hudson

Walter and Mindy Hudson

The Old Dawgs have been around for many years going back to their college days back in the ’70s. They reached way back when they did a rousing version of Hank’s “Hey Good Lookin'”. Country music was well represented with the likes of Merle Haggard’s “Silver Wings”, which the crowd loved. Folk music doesn’t get left out either as they hit on John Prine’s “Paradise”. Their vocal harmonies were outstanding on everything they did, and they had something to play for everyone. Their version of “Ozark Mountian Jubilee” brought the audience completely under their musical spell. They finshed their first set with a great version of “Seven Bridges Road”.

The Old Dawgs are Walter Hudson singing bass and playing guitar, his wife Mindy on vocals, from Russellville, Kenny Goff, vocals and mandolin from Springdale. Brothers Dale and David Cox on guitars and vocals must be the guys from “parts unknown”, Boyd Barton on guitar and mandolin and vocals from Dover, and last but not least our own Tommy Johnston.

While Dale works, David, Boyd and Tommy fool around!

While Dale works, David, Boyd and Tommy fool around!

The Old Dawgs bring real crowd-pleasing music to their shows, and we love their picks of tunes for our shows. They opened the second set with a great version on “Wagon Wheel”, and the second set was full of crowd-pleasers. The Dawgs pull out some great old tunes that you just don’t hear anywhere, and our crowd was in full appreciation of their selected material, everything from the Eagles to Ray Price. Their “Five Pounds of Possum” brought the crowd to an appreciative roar. Rock, country rock, country, folk, bluegrass, gospel, they played it all.

They closed their show with John Denver’s “It’s Good to Be Back Home Again” with the thought thay they were home when they play Mount Ida’s Front Porch Stage.

Many thanks to our friends, The Old Dawgs, for coming such great distances to get together to play for the folks at the Montgomery County Nursing Home and for all of us out here at The Front Porch!


The above photo doesn’t do this fine group justice.  Here’s another that The Old Dawgs previously provided for us.

The Old Dawgs at a recent (Aug. 2014) gig!

The Old Dawgs at a recent (Aug. 2014) gig!

That fellow on the right in the cowboy hat is our own Tommy Johnston, who also plays bass and occasionally sings with The Prairie Grove Band.  Thanks for bringing your “old” buddies to Mount Ida, Tommy! We’re sure everyone enjoyed your “practice session”.

Dewayne Hodges – September 13, 2014

Dewayne Hodges, a Montgomery County native from Black Springs, brought his one man show to our Front Porch Stage Saturday night on the first really cool evening this season.
 A smaller crowd came out with their quilts and blankets and enjoyed a great concert.
 Dewayne came to our rescue with his Bose sound system when ours own sound system gave up the ghost.

Dewayne’s first set was filled with crowd favorites, with everything from “Rocky Top” to his 
great Elvis medley. Especially pleasing to our audience was Dewayne’s version of “A White
Sports Coat with a Pink Carnation”, which brought back memories for many of us. Dewayne
 also performed a great version of Stan Lafever’s “Ouachita Ladies”, a tribute to the Ladies of Montgomery County and the Ouachitas.

Dewayne Hodges performs on the Front Porch Stage.

Thank you, Dewayne Hodges, for another great evening of your music!
(Click on this image to view more photos from Sept. 13, 2014)

The second set started with a request for Floyd Kramer’s ” Last Date”, performed flawlessly. Dewayne then proceeded with his gospel set, which included the crowd favorite “Potters Clay”, an original song. Dewayne always gets more requests than he can play in
 one show but always gets requests for “Suppertime” and “Sweet Beaulah Land”. Dewayne
 closed the evening with verses of “God Bless America” and “America the Beautiful”, to which we 
all sang along.

Dewayne has always been our most requested show, and he has always answered the call
 to play with great enthusiasm! Last night, Dewayne offered to come back to Mt. Ida to play 
a fund raiser for the Front Porch to help raise money for new sound equipment. Hodge Black 
followed up on Dewayne’s suggestion with an offer to host a show in the First United
 Methodist Church family center! 
Many thanks to you both!

We appreciate everyone who comes out to support Dewayne and our concerts! 
Thank you!

Possum Picnic Weekend – September 5-6, 2014

(Photos coming soon)

Our Possum Picnic weekend was an overall success! We added a Brown Bag Friday to our usual festivities and sold a nice brown bag lunch that was well received. John Talley and Mike Adams provided some great entertainment. We offered Janet’s fabulous award winning chicken salad or Jane’s buttered polish sausage with peppers and everybody loved both.

We want to thank everyone who bought a lunch and for your purchase of raffle tickets for one of two Daisy BB Guns. The proceeds from these sales will help us in the future to make some improvements around the ‘Stage and to replace some of the instruments in our ancient, ailing sound system.

These two Front Porch Stage Special Daisy BB Guns are being raffled off.  The drawing will be held Oct. 11 at our last show of the 2014 season.

These two Front Porch Stage Special Daisy BB Guns are being raffled off. The drawing will be held Oct. 11 at our last show of the 2014 season.

Saturday morning, our dedicated crew of volunteers met in the wonderful kitchen at the First Baptist Church and produced the great lunch/dinner boxes that we sold all day Saturday.

We were treated to a wonderful breakfast lovingly prepared by Chef Janet! Our kitchen crew this year were Janet Capua, Tommy and Susan Johnston, John Henderson Sr., Jane and Jerry Babbitt, and Bishop Gebhardt. It wasn’t our first rodeo, so the preparations went really smoothly. Jerry, Bishop, and John went over to the square and set up our point of sales for lunch. We had our BB Gun raffle table and our auction merchandise on display also. We sold lunches and raffle tickets until we had to move onto the lawn and get ready for the real picnic.

The Possum Parade went off without a hitch.  Many thanks to Montgomery County Sheriff David White for keeping order and making sure that all the participants managed the complicated parade route through the alleys and streets of Mt Ida. Dub Clenney gave our reigning Possum Queen, Brenda Minton, a nice ride in that little red corvette. The “Has-Beens” and “Wannabees” tossed pounds of candy as they passed the square, but no one was injured from the flying candy! Jerry Lambert provided some unusual raggae processional music as the Royal Court gathered in front of the stage for the official coronation of our 19th Possum Queen. Our reigning queen Brenda Minton gave the Possum Potentate, John Henderson Sr., permission to break the royal seal on the envelope containing the identity of the future queen. The crowd waited with bated breath and let out cheers and applause when it was revealed that Queen XIX (19) was Donna Wilborn!

Possum Queen for 2015, Donna Wilborn, and her Court.

Possum Queen for 2015, Donna Wilborn, and her Court.

Possums Unlimited Diva Betty Williams (our 2002 Possum Queen) fulfilled her duties as the oldest Hasbeen on hand and crowned Donna as the 2015 Montgomery County Possum Queen.

Donna was surprised and speechless but managed to declare that she would fulfill all the duties of Queen in 2015. Reigning Queen Brenda Minton then presented Donna with the Royal Scepter and allowed her to take the throne for a moment.

Potentate John then announced that Possums Unlimited and the Nocturnal Order of the Possum had decided to crown and bestow an Honorary Possum Queen for Life title on Janet Capua for her dedicated volunteer services and loyalty to our Front Porch. Janet is only the second recipient of this honor, the first being Country Star and Hall oof Famer Jean Shepard! Janet accepted her trophy and sash and was also struck speechless for being chosen for this high honor.

At this point the huge crowd settled back down and had a chance to visit for a few minutes before MC John Henderson Sr. introduced the evening’s entertainment. (John wears a lot of hats in support of the Front Porch Stage!)

Our Royal Entertainment was provided by our very own local favorites, The Prairie Grove Band! The band opened their first set with special guests, The Rowlands, doing some great gospel. Malissa Lewis also made a guest appearance for one song. The band played some great country that featured some Ray Price, Gene Watson, and a bunch of others!

At intermission, MC John announced the winners of the silent auction, and you can take it to the bank that Brenda Minton, the reigning Possum Queen, made the haul on great bargains as she out-bid for a lot of the great merchandise that had been donated for the auction. Congratulations and thank you to all the winning bidders. The band played the rest of the evening, and, as our Possum Picnic weekend came to a close, Potentate/Master MC John closed our proceedings with his usual, and we quote, “God Bless You and God Bless America!”

Special Thanks to Janet Z Capua, John Henderson Sr, Jane and Jerry Babbitt, John Talley, Mike Adams, Tommy and Susan Johnston, John and Terri Henderson, Betty Ruth Williams, Possum Sheriff David White, Johnette Rowland, Margie Rowland, Tim Qualls, Bishop Gebhardt, Bud and Donna Wilborn, Brenda Minton, Dan and Anita Watson, ALL the Hasbeens and Wannabees, The Prairie Grove Band, Imelda Barker and anyone else whom I may have forgotten.  The folks who enjoy the music at the Front Porch Stage truly and greatly appreciate your efforts to make this a wonderful venue.

It was a great weekend, we beat the heat, the rain, the clock and the odds, and as far as we know, no Possums were harmed in any way!