Prairie Grove Band – July 5, 2014

A good crowd enjoying the Prairie Grove Band.

A good crowd enjoying the Prairie Grove Band.
(Click this photo to see more pictures from July 5, 2014)

July started with a great evening with our local favorites, beautiful weather and a perfect evening for hanging out with friends and family.

We were treated to some great gospel from Jake Powell’s family and Jerry Lambert. Mark Willborg and The Prairie Grove Band led the singing of the National Anthem and opened their program with a verse of “America The Beautiful” and “Where the Stars & Stripes and Eagles Fly”. A nice opening salute for Independence Day.

Tommy Johnston on bass and vocals did a couple of great tunes, especially the country folk song “Arkansas” and “Act Naturally”. Melissa Lewis was a surprise guest and did a great job on “Daddy’s Hands”.  The Band asked all the veterans in the audience to stand and be recognized, and they played “In Color” in tribute to them.

Their second set had a smooth country feel with great tunes like “All My Exes Live In Texas”, ”Oh Lonesome Me”, “Gone Country”, and Jake did an incredible version of “Branded Man”. They wrapped up in fine fashion with Jerry Lambert on keys doing “Old Time Rock and Roll”.

Prairie Grove will be back on The Front Porch Stage September 6th. Come join us then for the annual Possum Picnic and fundraiser.


Arkansas Trainwreck – June 28, 2014

It looked for a while that we wouldn’t be able to have our Arkansas Trainwreck concert, but the clouds rolled around us, and we had a dry stage, so we went ahead with the show.

Arkansas Trainwreck from Little Rock features Richard Hinkle, Richard Gray, Alan Stewart, Kirk Furr, David Alexander and Karen Lafferty. Sharon Gray also joined them on percussion. There was unfortunately a small turn out account of the rain and threat of rain.

The show started late, but the group got it going with an instrumental called “The Story”. The band plays mostly originals and an occasional cover of great tunes, like “Flowers on the Wall” and “Teach Your Children”. The small but enthusiastic crowd really liked the tunes “Bad Luck, Poor Choices”, “Temporary Insanity”, and “Roll on Wagon”. Arkansas Trainwreck  closed their show with a great version of “Lord Take Me Home”, an original song by Richard Gray.

It was an entertaining and interesting evening. As we were closing things up, however, it started raining again!

Many thanks to Arkansas Trainwreck for coming to play, and thanks to everyone who came out for our show.

Arkansas Trainwreck

Arkansas Trainwreck ready to play the Front Porch Stage, June 28, 2014
(Click to view more photos from June 28, 2014)

Mockingbird and Shelley King – June 21, 2014

Our June 21, 2014, show this past weekend turned out to be one of the best we ever had, with Mockingbird and Shelley King both turning out great tunes in great sets.

Mockingbird on the Front Porch Stage

Mockingbird on the Front Porch Stage

Mockingbird kicked off our evening with a rousing version of “Carve that Possum”, an original written just for their Mount Ida show. They got the crowd instantly involved playing “Them Old Cottonfields Back Home”, followed with a great version of “He’s in the Jailhouse Now”, with Jessica Crenshaw playing the washboard. Our folks were loving the Mockingbird’s vaudvillian style. They played an Arkansas Ozark Folk tune called the “Play Party Song” about the Baptists inventing certain acceptable square dances. Their set was a perfect opener for Shelley King’s set.

Shelley King returns home to Montgomery County

Shelley King returns home to Montgomery County

Shelley opened her set with “Grain of Sand”, an original blues prayer that was well received. She also explained that she was just a little hoarse from performing in Fort Smith on Friday. It gave her voice that bluesy rasp that is associated with the blues. Her “Starting a Fire” was followed by “Rain”, both about love. She explained about growing up in Caddo Gap and how a dream of walking to the river gave her “Call of My Heart” that won Song of the Year in Austin. She explained about writing “Texas Blue Moon” and its being picked up and recorded by Nancy Sinatra. She also explained that growing up here not knowing her real dad called “Talking About the Weather” and tells the great story of her mom and dad reconciled after thirty years. She did “Summer Wine” that she recorded with New Orleans based Subdudes. Shelley did one cover in her set, a song that Levon Helm loved and played, “When I Go Away”, in tribute to Levon. She had the opportunity to sing with Levon a couple of years before he passed away. She closed her set with “Welcome Home” a song that was appropriate for the entire day. Shelley King, Arkansas born, Miss Teen Montgomery County 1982, Graduate of Caddo Hills High 1984, now living in Austin, Texas and Texas Musician of the Year 2008. We really appreciate Shelley’s kindness in dropping by Mt Ida and playing for the home folk.

Mockingbird finished the evening with a great mix of tunes, opening with a stirring version of “Will the Circle Be Unbroken”, followed by folk tunes “Almost Gone” and “Moving Day”, both catchy tunes, and then followed by a vaudeville style song “Got a Letter” that our crowd really loved. Jessica Crenshaw performed a great version of “Going Down to Little Rock”, a true delta blues folk tune. Michael Crenshaw did a great version of a Leadbelly tune (“Ready Freddie”, I think). Mockingbird’s “Wish I Had Wings” was a real treat, and our audience showed their approval. They performed a rowdy version of the “Battle of New Orleans” with some obscure or maybe original lyrics, and the crowd loved it. Mockingbird closed their set and the show with a dance along of “The Hokey Pokey”, and some folks actually did get up and do it. A great way to end to a great evening of great music on The Front Porch.

Mockingbird - Very entertaining, and they have fun on stage!

Mockingbird – Very entertaining, and they have fun on stage!
(Click this image to see more photos from June 21, 2014)

Dave Almond with John Talley – June 14, 2014

Arkansas native Dave Almond came up from his home near Hope and was joined on stage by our local son and all star in his own right, John Talley.

Dave and John immediately launched into a fast moving spiritual number, “Go On Devil’, one of Dave’s originals, followed by a country song, “Take Your Time Coming Home”. Dave showed the Audience his vinyl LP and mentioned that our own Jane Babbitt did the pencil sketch that was used on his album, Dave Almond’s “Redneck Blues”, released on the Cosmic Cowboy label.

Dave Almond and John Talley perform.

Dave Almond and John Talley perform.
(Click on this image to see more photos from Dave and John’s evening on the Front Porch Stage)

Dave and John have shared the stage many times, and you could tell they were very comfortable with each other and, as John would tell you, he’s Dave’s number one fan. Dave brought some of his older material into the show and did a stirring ballad about the horror of the Civil War, which John followed with one of his tunes about the horror of “They’re Gonna Put Me On A Chain Gang”, which featured some great guitar licks from Dave. John has that Tom Waite-sounding voice, and he really cut loose on it. Dave slowed things back down with a great version of his original “No Explanation”, which might be on his next album. They finished the first set with one of John’s songs, “You Don’t Love That Cowboy”.

Dave opened the second set with a funky original about people with troubled lives; not sure of the title but a great tune. John played a rousing version of his classic rocker “Dumptruck”. Dave sang a funny song “Inbarceration” about all the time he spent working in bars. He followed it with a great blues tune called “Joneses” and followed that with a hillbilly folk tune, “Way Out Here”, about living out in the country outside the city limit signs. They swapped tunes for the rest of the show. John performed The Allman Brothers tune “Sweet Melissa” by request, and Dave did a John Prine cover and an obscure song by Ozark Mountain Daredevils. John’s final tune was Dylan’s “If Not For You” and they closed the show with Dave’s “Less Than An Angel”.

Many of the folks who came didn’t know what to expect, and most were really delighted with what they got to hear: two really talented guys from Arkansas doing all really good, mostly original music. We’ll have them both back, maybe together!

Please plan to join us next Saturday, June 21, for Mockingbird along with a special performance from Caddo Gap’s Shelley King.

Prairie Grove Band – June 7, 2014

We watched the weather closely as we were preparing to set up for our Prairie Grove Band show, but we were rewarded with the most beautiful afternoon and evening. All the bad weather circled to our north and west, and by showtime, it was absolutely perfect.

The Prairie Grove Band then did their part by putting on a great show. They started the show with a little gospel, and in the first set, they played a tribute song to the older generation with “In Color” about the memories of the great depression, war and life before color film. Jake Powell was featured on several great songs and got an ovation for “He Stopped Loving Her Today“. The Band also did a tribute to George Straight with their version of “Ace in the Hole” as George was playing his last show in Texas.

Tommy Johnston, Bass and Vocals

Tommy Johnston, Bass and Vocals
(Click this image to see more pictures from June 7, 2014).

The second set was a great mix that featured Tommy Johnston doing some new additions to the band’s already impressive song list. His versions of “Old Man From the Mountain”, “Pickup Man”, and a Lyle Lovitt tune, “Cowboy Man”, were all well received by our smaller but enthusiastic crowd. Terry did a real crowd pleaser performing the Hank Williams classic “Cold Cold Heart”. They finished their show with “Love You Ain’t Seen the Last of Me”. With that, Mark Willborg immediately grabbed his guitar and was down the road to pick up Anita, and they would be off to Pensacola Beach to get some serious “Vitamin Sea”.

We want to thank Johnette Rowland, Susan Johnston and Winn Williams for helping in the Back Porch, and Bud and Donna Willborn for helping out at our Possum Store.

All in all, it was a wonderful evening.  We’ll be back next week with another great show.

Thanks everyone for supporting live music in Mount Ida!

A real surprise on stage with the Prairie Grove Band!

A real surprise on stage with the Prairie Grove Band! (Click on this image to see more pictures.)

Our May 31, 2014, Show Featuring Straight-Up is Canceled

May 31, 2014, Canceled

Unfortunately, the weather is not with us today, and the grounds at the Montgomery County Courthouse are completely saturated from previous rains, so we are reluctantly canceling our May 31 concert with Straight-Up.

We will try to reschedule this group for you to enjoy at some future time.

Hope to see you next week.

Thank you for supporting The Montgomery County Front Porch Stage.

Mount Ida Good Ol’ Days – May 23-24, 2014

This Memorial weekend, we honored and remembered our veterans and celebrated Mount Ida’s 21st Annual Good Ol’ Days, which features the 4H Car show. Our entire downtown area and square was full of family fun for a day!

Although we had cancelled our Friday Good Ol’ Gospel Concert ,we ended up having a mini gospel concert with a wonderful band called “Harmony” from Wickes, Arkansas. Harmony is a contemporary Christain gospel group featuring Lynn Smith on drums, Rodney Provence on guitar, bass and vocals, Rhetta Smith on keyboard, and Sherry Davis on vocals. This great band played some old gospel standards, but the highlight was their spirited originals. Harmony will be back on our Front Porch August 2nd in a full concert.

The gospel group "Harmony" played the Front Porch Stage Friday night of Good Ol' Days

The gospel group “Harmony” played the Front Porch Stage Friday night of Good Ol’ Days
(Click to see more photos from Friday, May 23, 2014)

Saturday was overcast, but that didn’t deter any of our car show enthusiasts. The cars started arriving around 7am, and by the end of the day, there were 99 registered entrants and several unregistered cars and trucks on display. Our Front Porch Stage is proud to support the Dub Clenney 4H car show. There were also old tractors and farm machinery on display. It was a fun family day, and the food was fantastic. Our fire departments held a fish fry, and the First United Methodists served up some fine pulled pork sandwiches. All the food vendors served up some great stuff from smoked turkey legs to Flossie’s Funnel Cakes.

Ouachita Artists Gallery was open and featured face painting, and there were plenty of kids and folks with some clever faces. This year there was even a dunking booth! There was plenty to see and do!

Favorite Sons:  Mike Adams and John Talley

Favorite Sons: Mike Adams and John Talley
(Click to see photos of Good Ol’ Days, May 24, 2014)

Our Front Porch Stage had two of Mt Ida’s favorite sons – John Talley and Mike Adams – on stage a little after noon;  John and Mike did a wonderful set of originals and covers that were well received by the shade tree crowd, who were there for music. John will be back in a special concert June 14th with some of the other members of the Arkansas Dirt Boys Project!

A mystery:  who is this young lady?

We didn’t get her name, but we loved her music!
(Click for more photos of Good Ol’ Days)

We were completely surprised with a walk-on appearance from a young lady from Hot Springs. We don’t know her first name (let us know if you know!) but her Grandmother brought her with her Martin Guitar. She knocked us out with a few country tunes and we would sure like to get her to come back sometime.

We also gave our stage over to Sharee Boyd who sang several country songs.

After the Car show awards, we got back to music with Just Us, a great bluegrass band from the Mansfield area in Western Arkansas. They played a mix of popular bluegrass covers and gospel. Just Us will be back on our stage July 12th for a full concert. Adjust your calendar to make sure you get to hear this great band.

Dewayne Hodges entertains

Headliner Dewayne Hodges is a Mount Ida favorite
(Click for more photos of Good Ol’ Days)

Our featured artist and headliner was the incomparable Dewayne Hodges. Dewayne is the current president of the Arkansas Chapter of the Council for the Blind and one of our favorite sons, who grew up here and now resides in Hot Springs. His show is always wonderful, and he puts his program together from audience requests. This year he opened his show with the National Anthem. His show featured a mix of favorite oldies, and his version of “Ouachita Ladies” was a big crowd-pleaser. His entire second set was gospel by request, and his versions of “Suppertime” and “Sweet Beulah Land” were superb! He closed his show with “America the Beautiful” and “God Bless America!”

A proper end to our Good Ol’ Days was made complete by our own John Henderson with these words that are a part of every show we do: “God Bless You, and God Bless America”

Enjoying downtown Mount ida during Good Ol' Days

Enjoying downtown Mount Ida and Good Ol’ Days!
(Click to view more photos)

Liberty Bridge – May 17, 2014

Saturday night was a lot of fun with our friends Liberty Bridge. It turned out to be a really cool evening, and we really want to thank everyone who came out and braved the mid-fifties temperatures.

Neal Rawlings and Sharon Gray

Neal Rawlings and Sharon Gray

Liberty Bridge features all kinds of folk, rock, classics and originals. The band members are Neal Rawlings on Guitar, vocal, and sometimes percussion; Sharon Gray on percussion, vocals and flute; Richard Gray on guitar, vocals and drum; and, the backbone beat provided by Adam Darby on the bass.

Richard Gray and Adam Darby

Richard Gray and Adam Darby

Saturday’s show featured a big cross section of music from country, like Tennessee Ernie Ford, to English tunes from the likes of the Moody Blues. Rock classics, like Dale Hawkins’ “Susie Q” to Bob Dylan’s “Knockin’ on Heavens Door” and an Elvis Version of “That’s All Right”, kept the crowd pleased. Mixed into the sets were some of the great original material from these talented folk. Especially pleasing were Richard’s tunes “Long Way to Heaven” and “New Orleans Bound”.

As always the show ended with Liberty Bridge’s cover of The Band’s “The Weight” in tribute to rock legend Levon Helm, the only American (Arkansas Native) in The Band.

It was a cool night but the small crowd thoroughly enjoyed the evening. We look forward to seeing Liberty Bridge again!

On the Front Porch Stage:  Liberty Bridge

On the Front Porch Stage: Liberty Bridge