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A Special Event in Mount Ida Recognizing Volunteers – May 1, 2016

Join us May 1, 2016, on the Montgomery County Courthouse lawn in Mount Ida for a special celebration of Volunteer Spirit in our community.

At 1:00 pm, the Ouachita Volunteer Association is hosting a community event to celebrate with some of the great volunteers who set our community apart from so many other places.

We will dedicate the “Eminent Domain” Marker, present awards of recognition to some outstanding members of our community, and the Stitchin’ Friends
will present more veterans quilts to former service men and women.

A free meal will be served at 1:30, followed by a concert on the Front Porch Stage featuring The Prestons. Bring your lawn chairs!

Make plans to share some of your Sunday afternoon with your friends and neighbors,and find out about the great things that are being accomplished by volunteers.

Making our world a little better, one volunteer at a time!

Rodger King – October 10, 2015

Our show this week featured one of the really great performing song writers, as Rodger King returned to our stage in a solo show. Early in the season, Rodger appeared with Casey Penn in August. Rodger is originally from Humnoke, AR, and now resides in Lonoke.  He played two great sets of mostly originals, and his writing talents shined. Rodger is an accomplished guitarist and Dobro player.

Rodger King performs on the Front Porch Stage

Rodger King performs on the Front Porch Stage
(Click on this image to view photos from Sept. 10, 2015)

Our smaller audience was enthusiastic about Rodger’s performance.

The setlist for Rodger’s first set included “Hang My Head in Sorrow”, “When It Rains It Pours”, “Always Something”, “You and I”, “Letter Full of Lies”, “Circuit Riding Preacher”, “Arkansas”, “Freeborn Man”, “I’m Keeping My Eyes On Jesus”, and “Snake Island, Arkansas”.

For his second set, Rodger performed “Little Sister”, “The Arkansas River”, “Miss the Mississippi”, “You,Half the Man My Daddy Was”, “Grandpa and Me”, “This Here Bottle”, “Work Through Me”, and “Hello On the Other Side”.

Huge thanks to Rodger for coming all the way from Lonoke on a cool October evening. A great showcase of some great songs!

Thanks to all the volunteers who make it happen, and Biggest Thanks
to all the kind folk who come for our shows!

Until next week…

The Prairie Grove Band – October 3, 2015

October started with the cancellation of the Community Outreach Ministry’s annual Game Dinner on October 3rd, and fortunately, our home town guys were able to put together a good show. The Prairie Grove Band and some good friends came out on a very cool evening on short notice and performed two great sets.

Loyal and Margie Rowland, Melissa Carmack Lewis, and Mark’s grandson Jed Willborg all participated in the show. The Prairie Grove Band are Mark Willborg, band leader on vocals and guitar, Joe Carmack on lead guitar and vocals, Terry Kinsey on drums and vocals, Doyle Rowland on guitar and harmony vocals, Tommy Johnston on Bass and vocals, Travis “Dart” Stapp on banjo, guitar, dobro, and vocal harmony, Jerry Lambert on keyboard, guitar and vocals and Jason “Jake” Powell on acoustic rhythm and vocals. They live all over the county, and we’re proud to have them!

The Prairie Grove Band with Margie and Loyal Rowland

The Prairie Grove Band with Margie and Loyal Rowland
(Click on this image to view more photos from Oct. 3, 2015)

It was a very cool evening, and it was mostly a family crowd and good friends who gathered on short notice. There was a lot of visiting going on all evening. There was a future Possum Queen, the reigning Possum Queen running the Possum Store, a Has-been Queen running the Back Porch, and
our crew of volunteers, including our great photographer, wandering around visiting with our regulars.

We want to thank The Prairie Grove Band, their special guests, the band family and all our friends, old and new, for coming out on such short notice.

Again big thanks to the volunteers that make it happen.

Seeya next week…

Amy Garland Angel and Mark Currey – The Possum Picnic – September 26, 2015

Our Possum Picnic and Parade is always a special event with the crowning of the new Possum Queen! This year was our 10th Picnic and Parade, and it was a good time from start to finish.

Amy Garland Angel and Mark Currey - A Great Performance for our Possum Picnic Crowd!

Amy Garland Angel and Mark Currey – A Great Performance for our Possum Picnic Crowd!

Friday, September 25, 2015

Possum Queen for Life, Janet Capua of Z's Cafe in Fort Worth, TX

Possum Queen for Life, Janet Capua of Z’s Cafe in Fort Worth, TX

Our friend  and Honorary Possum Queen for life, Janet Z. Capua, again brought her talents and energy to Mount Ida for a “Vacation”, helping to create a fabulous box lunch fundraiser for the ‘Stage. This year’s Picnic started on Friday with a brown bag lunch and a little lawn concert with our good friends John Talley and Mike Adams. We had a few folks take advantage of the picnic tables and a few hung out for the music. Local artists, Raenette Ellison and Barbara Holt, members of the Ouachita Artists, were on hand, painting and drawing. It was a fine afternoon on the Square for everyone.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Our Picnic continues on Saturday morning with the sale of the super deluxe Box Lunches.

2010 Possum Queen and Queen of the Back Porch Kitchen, Jane Babbitt, shows off one of the box lunches prepared by the team, led by Honorary Possum Queen Janet Z. Capua. The best chicken salad you've ever had!

2010 Possum Queen and Queen of the Back Porch Kitchen, Jane Babbitt, shows off one of the box lunches prepared by the team, led by Honorary Possum Queen Janet Z. Capua. The best chicken salad you’ve ever had!

Our wonderful volunteers all got together over in the kitchen of the First Baptist Church and went to town putting together a real nice lunch or dinner, depending on when you eat it! We sold lunches from the Back Porch Kitchen, and everyone had a good time.

We then spent the afternoon preparing for the evening’s events: the parade, the procession, the coronation, and, of course, the music. Our guest artists and Masters of Ceremony for the evening – Amy Garland Angel and Mark Currey – arrived early and were coached on the proceedings by our Possum Potentate, John Henderson and myself.

Promptly at 6 p.m., Possum Sheriff David White led the parade on the intricate route that eventually brings the Reigning Queen, the Honorary Queens, the Has-been Queens, the Princesses, and the Wanna-bees back to the Square.

The Mount Ida Peewee Cheerleaders lead the Possum Picnic crowd in a cheer!

The Mount Ida Peewee Cheerleaders lead the Possum Picnic crowd in a cheer!

This year’s parade was special with the addition of the Mount Ida Peewee Cheerleaders, and

The Mount Ida Lions Marching Band was represented well and stopped along the route to play the Mount Ida High School Fight Song.  Thank you all for participating!

Members of the Mount Ida Lions Marching Band participating in the Possum Parade!

Members of the Mount Ida Lions Marching Band participating in the Possum Parade!

Along with the cheerleaders and the band, we happily welcomed the Oden Woods and Water Club to the parade, and most notable to our parade this year was the firetruck from the Joplin Volunteer Fire Department. There was enough candy thrown to make any dentist happy!

Possum Potentate John and 2015 Possum Queen Donna lead the procession for the crowning of the 2016 Possum Queen.

Possum Potentate John and 2015 Possum Queen Donna lead the procession for the crowning of the 2016 Possum Queen.

When the sheriff got the parade back to the Square, the dignitaries were led in the procession by Possum Potentate John Henderson, pausing along the way only to get the “official envelope” containing the name of the Possum Queen for 2016. The 2015 Reigning Queen, Donna Willburn, was seated on the throne and received the royal scepter. Each Queen then introduced themselves. Donna is Possum Queen XX, the new queen will be Queen XXI for the year 2016. Potentate Henderson then opened the official envelope, and with much aplomb, announced that Barbara Sprague had been chosen as next year’s Montgomery County Possum Queen! As retiring queen Donna made a wonderful statement and then placed the new crown on Barbara, attached her Possum Queen Sash, and presented her with the Possum Queen Trophy and the Royal Scepters.

The crowning was complete and Amy and Mark both did some great tunes and duets. We tremendously appreciated their performance this evening and thank them for having been here!

Amy Garland Angel and Mark Currey perform - Thank you for being here!

Amy Garland Angel and Mark Currey perform – Thank you for being here!

We all had a fine day at the 10th annual Possum Picnic and Parade on a beautiful September day!

Possum Picnic Weekend Photos (Captions TBD):

Dewayne Hodges – September 19, 2015

It was another fine evening for a great concert from our long time friend Dewayne Hodges.
 Dewayne is a native son of Montgomery County from Black Springs, now living in Hot Springs.
 He is blind, but that doesn’t deter him for even a second. As a one-man show, Dewayne plays
 piano and uses a keyboard sequencer for back up music. We set Dewayne up, and it is totally
 amazing to watch him as he feels his way around and makes every connection on his keyboards.
 His show is one of the most requested, and he often plays at other events in Montgomery County.

Dewayne Hodges - Always Welcome on the Front Porch Stage!

Dewayne Hodges – Always Welcome on the Front Porch Stage!
(Click on this image to view more photos from Sept. 19, 2015)

Dewayne opened his first set with a Dean Martin song, “You’re Nobody Until Somebody Loves You”, and when the song ended, Dewayne remarked that his equipment was getting old and he had to jiggle a wire or two. He played some requests and did a great version of “Rockytop”. Dewayne told us that “Suppertime” was one of the most requested tunes, and he did a fine job playing it.

had some special friends show up, Freddy and Mary Jo Willis, a couple who helped him get to shows 
for many years. He learned “The Warning Song” after Freddy and Mary Jo had him listen to it. He dedicated it to them and thanked them again for being loving friends.

His set included “Ouachita Ladies”, a song written by his old musical partner, Stan “Catfish” Lefevre. Dewayne explained how 
one of our local churches made it possible for him to record an album, and “Sweet Beulah Land” was 
the very first gospel song that he ever recorded. He ended the first set with a great version of Marty
 Robbins’ “A White Sports Coat and a Pink Carnation”; the crowd loved it.

Dewayne is always springing a surprise, and he opened his second set with a tune nobody expected when he did “Rawhide”.  He remarked “fooled you there, didn’t I”? Yes. He then played a song titled 
”The Front Porch”, remarking “imagine that”.

Dewayne dedicated “I Can Almost See Houston” to Mary Jo 
Willis. The rest of his set was a mix of country, gospel and oldies that everyone enjoyed. He pulled another surprise by playing “Save The Last Dance For Me” and “Ghost Riders in the Sky”. He ended the evening in an unusual fashion, performing Floyd Cramers’ classic “Last Date”.

Big Thanks to Dewayne for coming out to visit and play for us. Thanks Shirley Williamson for helping get Dewayne to his show!

And, of course, a big thanks to all the volunteers that make it possible.

Biggest thanks 
to everyone who comes out to support live music in a little town on Saturday night!

Seeya soon.

Interstate Thirty – September 12, 2015

Somehow we had yet another beautiful Saturday night on the Courthouse Square in Mount Ida, and Interstate Thirty provided us with a great bluegrass show from Interstate Thirty. They all live up and down I-30, and they all have to use it to get to practice, hence the name.

Driving bluegrass from Interstate Thirty!

Driving bluegrass from Interstate Thirty!
(Click on this image to view more photos from Sept. 12, 2015)

Our history with members of Intertate Thirty goes back years, and most all band members have played on the Front Porch Stage with other bands. We’ve had the pleasure of hosting them as Interstate Thirty for four years, and we’ll always look forward to more of their fine music here as long as they want to come to Mount Ida.

Interstate Thirty are Derrick Ball on guitar,  Ben Cardin on banjo and bass, Paul DeWeber on the fiddle, Darrell Drennan on the bass and guitar, Peyton Murphy on the mandolin and Robert Stane on the guitar and banjo.

Their show in Mount Ida was a mix of bluegrass standards, some gospel and a little country.  The crowd thoroughly enjoyed it all.

The Robertson Tradition! You'll be seeing and hearing more of these Girls!

Robertson’s Tradition! You’ll be seeing and hearing more of these Girls!

We were also treated just a glimpse of the future at intermission when “Robertson’s Tradition” took the stage for some quick songs. Three young ladies from the Robertson family, accompanied by some old Robertsons we all know, rendered a terrific performance. It was their first public appearance, but it undoubtedly won’t be their last.

Interstate Thirty’s second set was a great mix of tunes and humor. Darkness set in just as they started, and at one point they asked, “Are Y’all still out there?” One of the great highlights of the show was Paul on the fiddle doing a tremendous version of “Ashokan Farewell”; they got a standing ovation, which they couldn’t see. They also got really great response for “52 Vincent Black Lightning”, and they closed their show with a classic version of “Orange Blossom Special”.

Interstate Thirty. A great bluegrass band on the Front Porch Stage

Interstate Thirty
A great bluegrass band on the Front Porch Stage
(Click on this image to view more photos from September 12, 2015)

We send a HUGE thanks to Interstate Thirty; we’re really looking forward to their appearance here next year!

Also, a Giant Thank You to all the volunteers, The Back Porch Kitchen crew, The Possum Store crew, the sound crew, and our camera guru! Couldn’t happen without you. Biggest thanks to everyone who came out to our Saturday night bluegrass show!

SeeYa next time!

The Prairie Grove Band – September 5, 2015

 A beautiful and cool August evening, Labor Day weekend, and the perfect eveing for a fine lawn chair concert with our good friends The Prairie Grove Band. Prairie Grove Band are  Mark Willborg, Joe Carmack, Terry Kinsey, Doyle Rowland, Tommy Johnston, Jason Powell, Dart Stapp and Jerry Lambert.


A terrific crowd, a comfortable evening, and, as always, great music from The Prairie Grove Band on The Front Porch Stage!
(Click on this image for more photos from September 5, 2015)

Jerry Lambert on the keyboards.

Jerry Lambert on the keyboards.

Prairie Grove opened their show with a spirited gospel tune and they all took a lead in the singing of “Jesus, Hold My Hand”. The gathering crowd really enjoyed and joined in singing. Jerry Lambert took the vocal lead on “Wherever He Leads, I’ll Go”. Jerry has been singing more and you can expect more gospel from Jerry in the future.

Being the Labor Day weekend, they had to had to play “Another Day, Another Dollar”, lamenting the plight of the underpaid, and “Lord Have Mercy On the Working Man”.  Their direction changed for a 911 song called “Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning”.  The rest of the set was filled with Merle, George, Allen and more.

It wouldn’t be Labor Day without “Take this Job and Shove It”.  Then, Jake had a lot of fun with “Old Hippy”, and everybody enjoyed it. The Prairie Grove Band finished up the first set with a lively version of “Where Does It Go”, about that loveable loser and honky tonk hero. And, that brings us to intermission.

Melissa Lewis joining the band? Good idea!

Melissa Lewis joining the band? Good idea!

We were treated to special guest, Melissa Lewis, opening the second set with “I’d Choose You Again”, a country love song for sure. Mark and Melissa wowed everyone, doing a duet of “Happy Endings”, with a great piano solo from Jerry thrown in for good measure. Tommy dedicated one to his wife Susan, followed by one of those sad country tunes, “Never Again, Again”, and “Wake Me Up When It’s All Over”, a kind of Neil Young sounding song.

Tommy took the vocal lead on the classic “Don’t Think Twice” with a nice Prairie Grove twist. It was all great country from that point, and the band played a great version of the classic, “That’s All In the Movies”, for Carol Ford, a most loyal fan. It was a great version with great guitar solos. They closed this Labor Day show with a great version of “Workingman’s Blues”.

This was a great evening with Prairie Grove bringing a great show for a terrific crowd!

BIG thanks to The Prairie Grove Band and  all the great volunteers at the Possum Store, the Back Porch, the sound crew, and our photographer!

Biggest Thanks to all of you who came out to see the show, supporting live music in a small town on Saturday night.


Harmony – August 29, 2015

Our concert on this Saturday in August was Harmony, our friends from Wickes, AR. Wickes is over on the south end of Polk County near the Oklahoma Border. Harmony is a contemporary Christian band with a variety of styles, all uplifting, and in several distinct styles of Rock, Rythm & Blues, DooWop, Pop and Spirituals.


Harmony performs on the Front Porch Stage
(Click this image to view more photos from August 29, 2015)

Harmony is a trio, Lynn Smith on drums and vocals, Retta Smith on keys and vocals and Rodney Provence on lead vocals, bass and guitar.

Rodney Provence on Bass and great vocals!

Rodney Provence on bass and great vocals!

This great band plays to one person or to many. Churches and festivals are typical places to find them.

Harmony started their show with a split tempo song called “The Story of Jesus”, and the crowd that came for this show joined in the praise and worship. “Thank God for the Lighthouse” got great approval from the audience.

Harmony went through two great sets which included several sing-alongs. Their musicianship and vocal harmonies were pleasing to everyone. They ended the evening “You Raise Me Up”.

Harmony's Retta Smith on keys, Lynn Smith on drums..

Harmony’s Retta Smith on keys, Lynn Smith on drums..

We at the Front Porch Stage want to sincerely thank Lynn, Retta, and Rodney for bringing their show to Mt Ida. We hope to see them again next season, for sure!

We also extend many thanks to our fine volunteers and to our wonderful audiences.  Without you all and your generosity, we would not be able to continue to bring great live music to Montgomery County’s Front Porch Stage!

Pfriends O’ Mine – August 22, 2015

Saturday we watched much needed rain move through, and for a while, there was that question: Will there be a show tonight? We not only got the rain, we got to have a great show with some friends of ours called “Phriends O Mine”. They were John Talley on 12 string, harp and vocals, Mike Adams on banjo, James Scrimshire on guitar and vocals, and a special guest, Phil Campbell. The weather was incredible, another perfect August evening for music in Mount Ida.


Pfriends O’ Mine on the Front Porch Stage
(Click on this image to view more photos from Aug. 22, 2015)

John and Mike kicked off the first set with “Tell Me”, a Michael Nesmith (Monkees) tune. There set was a real mix of great folk, rock and country. They played a great Steve Earl song, “I’m Gonna Get Out of Here Someday”, and the crowd went all in on the rest of the show as John took it into country with “Am I that easy to Forget”. They responded kindly to “Less than An Angel”, a Dave Almond tune.

John Talley

John Talley

John performed a stunning version of John Lennon’s “Watching the Wheels”, and the crowd let him know they really appreciated it. The rest of the set went country, with John and James Scrimshire teaming up on “Crazy Arms”, “Jambalya”, “She Thinks I Still Care”, “Make the World Go Away”, and an original from John, “Lonesome Johnny Valentine”.  Then, ” Hey Good Looking”, and we went to break with an old tune, “Wallflower”.

Mike Adams

Mike Adams

John opened the second set with a great version of Bob Dylan’s “The Times, They Are A Changing” that was very well received. He followed with a beautiful folk version of Tom Petty’s “Heart So Big”. His original “You Don’t Love That Cowboy” got great response.

John has always found the classic oldies that nobody else plays, like his great cover of Procol Harem’s “Whiter Shade of Pale’. He picked up the  pace with his original “Chain Gang” that got the crowd rocking. John invited Phil Campbell up to sit in the hot seat after Phil told him he would get up and sing Johnny Cash’s “Folsum Prison Blues”, which he did and did an outstanding job; Phil received a lot of whooping and hollering from the “Phriendly” crowd.

James Scrimshire

James Scrimshire

James came back on stage, and the show moved back into country, with “Today I Started Loving You Again” and “Walk on By”.  They moved into a folk version of “Wagon Wheel” by request. Mike Adams got into the act with “Hot Burrito Breakdown”, a banjo-driven instrumental.

As the evening came to a close, James was featured doing a great version of “Your Cheating Heart”. John ended the show the same way it began, with a Michael Nesmith tune called  “JoAnn”. What was left of the crowd was hollering for more, but we were out of time.

Big Thanks to John Talley, Mike Adams, James Scrimshire and Phil Campbell – “Phriends O Mine”!!

Special thanks to all our volunteers that make this happen, and last but never least, THANKS everyone who came out for this great show! Hope to see you all again soon!