(Article and photos coming soon.)
(Article and photos coming soon.)
What a wonderful day! It started out really warm with showers of rain here and there. Around 2p.m. it came a real downpour for just a few minutes. With the rain came much cooler air and by show time it was the perfect sit outside evening! The Band showed up pretty early and we got in a sound check before all going over to the Mexican Restaurant for a nice sit down dinner.
The Salty Dogs are Brad Williams on electric and acoustic guitars and lead vocals, Nick Devlin on lead guitar, vocals and harmony, Brent Lebeau on the upright and vocals and Bart Angel on the drums and vocals. For the last twelve years they’ve been perfecting those licks and harmonies to get to our stage, and they put on a show!!
Their first set was a great mix of covers and an original or two slipped in there. They opened with a rousing “Nine Pound Hammer”, and the crowd immediately knew they were in the right place. Their country came out with a great twangy version of “Sweet Heart of Mine” with a great slide lead by Nick (from Scotland, for real) Devlin. Brad followed with a sad country song, “This Honky Tonk Living is Gonna Drive Me to Drinking”. The crowd really showed some appreciation with hooting and hollering!
They settled things down some when The Salty Dogs did the Johnny Cash hit, “I Still Miss Someone”. They did a great cover of the Stanley Brothers tune, “How Mountain Girls Can Love”, and the crowd loved it. They did a exceptional job on a real sad song, “Long Black Veil”, performed a capella to begin and eased into some great guitar work, then back to a capella; the crowd really responded with applause and shouts. They picked up the pace with a fine version of “Do You Love Me Like You Used To”, which had a great lead guitar solo by Nick.
Brad brought out an original called “My Blood Runs Cold” about the prison and justice systems, and our folks gave it a warm response. After a band introduction, they broke into a swing tune that I’m calling “Must Be Jelly”, where they took it down for some great solos from Bart, Nick, and Brent. They moved back into known territory for our crowd with the beautiful “Silver Wings”, and right on schedule, the sun set to the west. Another Merle tune – “Working Man Blues” – got the crowd to tapping their feet. They closed their set with some gospel, a medley of “God So Loved the World”, “Will the Circle Be Unbroken”, “Uncloudly Day” and “I Saw the Light”.
During the intermission, Brad did a little merchandising, and the rest of the boys visited with friends old and new. You never know who you might run into when you visit the Front Porch.
The band got the second set started with a country rock tune called “Look Me Up” that had the crowd rocking. Nick Devlin took the lead vocals in a country blues shuffle “They Call Me Dr. Brown” and ripped some great blues licks, which got a great response for his solos. They stayed in the pure country vein that included the song “Starting Now”, a great original that Brad took to Nashville. The crowd gave an early approval for the rocker “Little Sister”, and as the end of the show neared, they got a great response for another original, “It Takes One”, a really fine love song. They wrapped up their evening with a tune about preachers bashing rock and roll with “Shout It Out”, A cover of the ‘Stones “We All Need Someone We Can Lean On” which got the crowd rocking, and they finished with a real country rocker “You’re Never Gonna Slow Me Down”.
The Salty Dogs, performing live on a beautiful summer evening on the courthouse lawn in Mt Ida, Arkansas, on a Saturday night – what a treat!
Thanks Everybody for coming out for this great band!
Another perfect evening weatherwise and a wonderful evening of music from The Clark Family Trio with Bill Nesbitt.
The Clarks are from the outskirts of Searcy, and Bill is from Little Rock. Bill is a great guitarists and teaches all kinds of instruments. The Clarks are Cindy, mom and bass player, Sophie, just turned seventeen singing some great songs and harmonies, Sally Ann will soon be twelve, sings like a pro … she is, you know. Together they are great, as those who enjoyed their show will attest!
They opened their first set with a great cover of a Crosby Stills and Nash tune, “Helplessly Hoping”, followed with an Andrews Sisters song circa 1940, “Three Little Sisters”. Then a little gospel with “I Am the Man”, a bluegrass tune turned trio. Sally Ann was featured on a Gillian Welsh tune, “All I Want”, then Sophie featured on “Dream a Little Dream for Me”. Another gospel song, “Red Clay Halo”, featured Sally.
Mom Cindy then took the lead in a great version of “I Can See Clearly Now”, and the crowd got into singing and clapping. Bill switched to banjo for a Laura Lewis tune, “The Oak Road”. Sally shined on “Old Sloughfoot” that the audience loved.
Sophie is becoming a great guitar player and while the rest of the band took a break she did a couple of songs with the help of her boyfriend Seth. They did “Carnival” and another song, “Lay Low”, both beautifully done.
The rest of the group came back to finish the first set with an amazing acoustic version of Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition”. They then took a short break to visit with some new and old friends.
When The Clark Family Trio and Bill Nesbitt took the stage for their second set, they opened with a real bluegrass tune called “A Little Bird Told Me So”. They followed that with another Andrews Sisters tune called “Oh Johnny”, circa 1945. Cindy took the lead on a Jim & Jesse bluegrass song, “Pardon Me”. They kept the bluegrass going with Sally Ann doing “My Old Kentucky Home”. Sophie followed with a terrific version of a Patsy Cline hit, “Blue”, and she nailed it!
Gospel plays a part in every show, and their version Gillian Welsh’s “Round Round” had the crowd going. Sally took the lead for a tune they took from the movie “Oh Brother Where Art Thou” – “You are My Sunshine”. A total change of direction followed with the Beatles song “Let It Be”. More gospel followed with a sing along ‘I’ll Fly Away”, and an a capella “Walking in Jerusalem Just Like John”. Our crowd was most appreciative!
As their time wound down, they played an old Dobie Grey song, “Drift Away”, dedicated to Phillip for his birthday. I couldn’t tell you what they played last year but I’m almost willing to bet that Phillip probably remembers!
The group closes all their shows with “I’ve Been Everywhere”, and our crowd really enjoyed hearing their incredible version of this old Hank Snow classic. A wonderful evening with a wonderful group on a beautiful summer evening!
Our Many Thanks to The Clark Family Trio, Bill Nesbitt, Seth, and all of the friends who came out to support live music. Big thanks to the crew of the Back Porch, The Possum Store, and the Front Porch Sound Crew!
And Most of all, thanks to everyone who comes out to support our efforts!
Remember you can always help by securely donating to the Front Porch Stage through the Paypal “Donate” button here on our website.
We were thrilled that The Acousticatz finally got to play on the porch again! Last year Pete was afflicted with kidney stones and the year before it rained them out. It was an absolutely beautiful day in Mt Ida! Buddy Case, the original Acousticat showed up a little early and we made use of his time sound checking with a new original “The Dirt Road Home”, which Buddy cowrote with an up-and-coming poet. Pete and Patti had the thrill of a lifetime in June when they got to perform at the Grand Ol Opry.
The Acousticatz opened their show with a great old bluegrass instrumental, “Black Mountain Rag”, and followed it with the first train song of the day, “Blue Train”.
Patti relayed to us about the band almost winning the Colgate Country Showdown; they made the finals and lost to some really cute yodellers. They stayed in the total bluegrass vein with Will Visit Me on Sunday, a sad song for sure.
The band followed with an original written by Buddy about going “Back to Tallulah”, and Buddy said it didn’t matter which one. The next tune was “The Gypsy Waltz”, and Pete jokingly remarked that while picking tomatoes he was stung by a waltz. Pete was featured on that old bluegrass classic from Fats Domino, “I’m Walking”. Patti told us a story about meeting Crystal Gayle in person, and they played “Waiting For the Times To Get Better”. Buddy was featured on guitar on a fine intrumental he wrote called “Gothic Jazz”, and the audience was loving it.
When the band is as good as The Acousticatz, they can play just about anything, and when they played “The Last Thing On My Mind”, and Buddy inhaled some dust or pollen. Patti told us a story about playing a wedding and trying to find a happy bluegrass song to play, and they did a great version of “Til the End of the World”. They went back into their originals with another song written by Buddy, a beautiful “Wish I Were A Poet”. They ended their first set with a fiddle favorite, “Listen to the Mockingbird”, and Pete showed out on the bird calls and threw in a dog to top off the birds! We went to Intermission, and a lot of folks got a chance to visit with the band and pick up some of their CDs.
While the band was on break they took some requests and opened their second set with some gospel. The crowd really enjoyed “Walking in Jerusalem Just Like John”, which gave Pete a chance to get with it on the mandolin. Buddy then tore up “I Am A Pilgrim”, followed by an old gospel favorite, “You Don’t have to Move That Mountain” featuring Pete on vocals. Buddy played “Ode to Chet” in honor of Chet Atkins and told the story of hearing of Chet’s death while broken down on Mt. Shasta while on a trip, and when he got home wrote this great song. They followed it up with the classic “He’s In the Jailhouse Now”. They tore up “Free Born Man”, and the crowd loved it.
They got back to some real bluegrass with the great Bill Monroe tune, “The Walls of Time”. The next tune was an original that Pete and Patti wrote about the sadness of Pete’s Dad being in the nursing home with Alzheimers, called “Daddy’s Gone Away”. Buddy shined on an instrumental, “See You In My Dreams”. The Acousticatz then pulled out their second train song and played a rousing version of “One Way Track”! They pulled another Buddy original out of their bag, “Ghost of Ghettysburg”, about the ghosts of the Civil War. The next tune was Patti’s favorite, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”, and the crowd loved it. The Acousticatz wound things up with a real crowd pleaser, “The Orange Blossom Special”.
Our thanks and gratitude go out to The Acousticatz, Pete Brown, Patti LaFleur and Buddy Case for coming to play for us. It’s always wonderful to have these terrific musicians visit Mount Ida.
Our thanks also to everyone who came out, and special thanks to the volunteers that make it happen every Saturday night on our Front Porch Stage.
Our Independence Day program featured our local favorites, The Prairie Grove Band, and they did not disappoint!
Prairie Grove opened the show with Mark Willborg leading an all-American version of our national anthem. Jerry Lambert led the band in a fine “Battle Hymn of the Republic”. On several occasions the band has performed “Where Stars and Stripes and Eagles Fly”, and the crowd gave them and ovation for this version. Mark did the lead vocals on a very stirring version of “In Color” as a tribute to all the old folks and veterans who lived through the depression, World War II and the ensuing years.
The band then took off with some great country music, with Jake Powell nailing “Gone Country”. Tommy Johnston took the lead vocals on “Don’t Sing Me No Song”, a song about Texas. Mark did a great job on love lost to another with his version of “Just to See You Smile”. Jake followed with a crowd favorite, “Who Do You Know In California”. Terry Kinsey got in on the act with an old, old, old Hank Williams tune, “Cold Cold Heart”.
We never know what to expect from Prairie Grove and everybody was pleased when they broke into an A Capella lead into “Can’t You See”! Tommy then took us down another country road with “Mississippi Squirrel”, about a squirrel getting loose at the Sunday service at a church down in Mississippi. Jerry Lambert followed with a more serious song he wrote called “Circle”, a really beautiful tune. They put Jake up front on a great version of “My Farewell Party”, as a tribute to Gene Watson. Tommy got the call to do an oldie, “Me and You and a Dog Named Boo” which the crowd really liked. They liked the next one even more, when Mark did The “Fishing Song”, another great country song about choices, fishing or a wife: “Lookey there, I got another bite!” They finished the set with a rousing version of “Queen of Memphis”, about falling in love with a southern belle!
We got a special treat from Joe Carmack and the grandkids doing “Everything is Beautiful”. Our audience really appreciates the work that goes into being grandpa and teaching the kids to sing! Jake, Melissa Lewis and Mark took turns on vocals on “I Won’t Take Less”, and then Jerry and Melissa did a great duet on “Bring On the Rain”. Tommy got the nod on the next song and dedicated it to Jerry Lambert ( a little inside joke) on a boogie woogie oldie written by Moon Mulligan and Chief William Redbird, “The Cherokee Boogie, Hey Holina”. They rocked it out, and Tommy introduced the band during the intro to the song.
They got back to some real country with Jake taking the lead on “I’ll Try”. It’s a love song, just like the next rocker, “Mountain of Love”. Tommy followed with the classic “You Don’t Know Me”, that love song about just being friends with someone you really love. Terry was next up with that old “Little Red Wagon”, about giving that sweetheart a ride in, of course, that little red wagon. It was back around to Jake doing a drinking song called “Tonight the Bottle Let Me Down”, drinking to forget that didn’t work. Mark took it a bit further with “Tonight the Heartache’s on Me”, bartender pour the wine… Tommy lead the band through a good version of “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?”, and they closed their concert with a driven version of “Walk Softly On This heart of Mine”.
Tonight’s show wasn’t as well attended as most Prairie Grove shows, but it was Saturday night on the Fourth of July, the weather was great, and we hope everyone had as much fun as we did during this, The Front Porch Stage’s fourteenth Independence Day Celebration!
Happy Birthday, America!
We were watching the weather like we have been all month but the bad stuff went all around us, and by the time we were ready for a show, it was perfect.
We kicked off the show with a special treat from Zachary, Louisiana – Klair Ann! Klair and her family were here at last year’s show and met the Bradley family. They hit it off from the git-go, and Klair actually took part in some shows with the band while they toured Louisiana and parts south. Klair is fourteen but sings like a aged talent.
As an opening set, Klair managed to demonstrate that great voice, despite a technical glitch that produced only part of her selected musical background. She started off with “Somethings Got A Hold of Me”. She thanked us for the chance to play on the porch. She continued to sing some great jazzy rhythm and blues, Americana, and blues. Her “Me and Bobby McGee” was well received as was her version of John Prine’s “Angel From Montgomery”. Her “Gimme One Reason to Stay Here”, “House of the Rising Sun”, “Chain of Fools” and “As Long As I Can See the Light” gave us a sample of her range and grasp of the songs. She finished her set with “Son of a Preacher Man”. She got a resounding ovation for her set and a second ovation when they learned she’s just shy of fifteen years old! She was a great addition to the show, and we’re sure we’ll hear great things about her in the future.
The Gable Bradley Band are Gable, Tucker, and Spencer Bardley and Brandon Lovelady, all from Hot Springs, and Dayton Swords on lead guitar from Nashville, TN. Last year they performed as an acoustic trio, so we weren’t sure how their full band would go over. Go over indeed! They started their set with one of their older tunes, “Fire and Gasoline”, a real rock tune about the volatility of young love. Gable loves Bruce Springsteen and always likes to play “Dancin in the Dark”. Gable writes a lot of love songs, and “Make You All Mine” was just one of his great original tunes. Gable’s tune, “Carry On” had that country country rock feel, and the crowd really liked it!
At this point the band took a break and we were treated to Gable’s song, “Johnny’s June”. This song reached the top of the alternative country charts over the winter. The good folks enjoying the Front Porch Stage liked it a lot too! Gable then invited Klair Ann back to the stage, and they performed an incredible version of Sam Cook’s “Bring It on Home to Me” with Dayton Swords on the lead guitar. Gable was joined on stage by his brother Spencer and they performed “I’m on Fire”, another Springsteen cover.
To finish the set, the band rejoined Gable and Spencer to do an original called “Where We Belong”, a rock/country rock tune that should be a hit! With that they went country with a great version of “Wagon Wheel”, which did get our audience engaged. They followed it up with a pure rock cover of “Summer of Sixty Nine” and even though none of them experienced that particular year they did a great job on the tune. They premiered a new tune about the wild side with a tune called “Wild Side”, and followed with another rocker off their latest CD called ”White T-shirt”, which will surely be a hit. They concluded their concert with an usual version of part original/part cover of Tom Petty’s “Free Falling”.
We thank Gable Bradley and company and their families, and Klair Ann and her family, for coming to Arkansas to be part of our show!
And Big thanks to all of you who recognize the nature of original music in it’s many forms!
Straight Up, a wonderful country gospel band, got rained out last year, but tonight, our weather was just wonderful. All the rain came close but left us with a beautiful evening for music.
The band opened with a great gospel tune called “I Want to Know More” to get everybody warmed up. They played a full set of great gospel that included “Amazing Grace”.
Straight Up are Brian Fisher on guitar and vocals, Taylor Gates on Drums, Whitney Gates sings vocals and harmony, Arnold Lundsford sings bass vocals, Al Juneman on the bass and baritone, and Regina Wagnor on the electric piano. They all live and work just down the road in and around Hot Springs, and they only play gospel music.
It was a beautiful cool evening, and after a short break, they continued their second set with great gospel with a song called “I Got This Feeling” that the crowd really liked. Their set featured familiar and loved songs like “Wayfaring Stanger”, “Swing Low Sweet Chariot”, “Have a Little Talk With Jesus”, and ”Oh Happy Day” to mention a few.
Our smaller crowd was really most appreciative of this fine country gospel band.
Despite rain early, the crowd this evening was treated to some fine bluegrass and gospel from Mountain Spring, and those who came early enjoyed a number of players jamming before the performance.
Pete Whatley had invited a bunch of pickers to come jam and to see our Mountain Spring show. It came a little shower, so we invited them all to the stage. We can’t tell you who all jammed. You may recognize many of them as members of Cook Mountain Boys or Cooper Road out of Malvern. Mike Adams showed up early for the Mountain Spring show and got in on some jamming. Freddy and Phyllis got in on the stage jam, with Phyllis playing the bass. Alison Harbour on the fiddle, Monroe Ennis on Dobro and Kenneth Prince on the banjo, along with all the guitar players, gave the jam that wonderful bluegrass “fullness”! We certainly hope to have a few more great jams before shows.
After a great jam on the stage we finally had to clear it out for Mountain Spring. Mountain Spring is mostly bluegrass oriented, but they do stray some.
This band is still evolving, because all the members were part and pieces of other great bands. Mike Adams, Helen and Quinn Martin, and Jerry Robertson were in the last iteration of The Ouachita Mountain Boys. Danny Williams and Jerry Robertson were in The Ouachita River Ramblers. All of these fine musicians have been on our stage many times, and we were glad to have them back!
Mountain Spring kicked off their show with “More Pretty Girls Than One” featuring Danny Williams. Helen was featured in a great version of “Wait A Minute”, followed by an original arrangement of a Mike Adams’ tune “Possum Trot”.
It started raining and all the crowd moved off the lawn except for some die-hard fans with umbrellas. The shower fortunately lasted only minutes, and soon everyone was back on the lawn.
The Band mixed the rest of the set with some gospel, some country, and ended their first set with a favorite – “Fox on the Run” – which really showcased the great harmonies of Jerry, Helen and Danny.
The second set was opened with “Rocky Road Blues”, a great bluegrass blues instrumental. This set was full of great favorites: “Sittin On Top of the World”, “The Old 109″, “Love of the Mountains”, and many more. Mike was featured on the banjo doing “Hot Burrito Breakdown”. Helen was featured on a song – “Darcy Farrow” – which we had never heard before. Jerry had to perform “ Long Black Train” after about six or seven requests.
Mountain Spring are Mike Adams on the banjo, Danny Williams on mandolin and vocals, Quinn Martin on the bass, Helen Martin on fiddle, guitar and vocals, and Jerry Robertson on that left handed, strung upside down guitar and vocals.
Another great night of bluegrass.
Every Saturday we are subject to all kinds of conditions over which we have no control, so we just plug away at the work we do and hope for the best. It was really warm when we arrived in Mount Ida Saturday, June 6, and ominous clouds were moving all around us. We have a couple of folks who have the hi-tech phones, and we watched and anticipated the storm that kept flirting with our location. Not to worry, it came within a mile, and all we got was wonderful cool air. A lot of folks who came up from the east told us that it had stormed all along the way until they got near Mount Ida! We watched the lightning and heard the thunder as the storm hooked around the ‘Stage and left us with a perfect evening for our Prairie Grove Band concert. Showtime!
As always with Prairie Grove, we enjoyed a great show with some great and unexpected wrinkles. Before we started, we heard that Jake Powell’s Dad had been stung by a bee and was rushed to the hospital, so Jake had to miss out on the show. As always, the band just reworked the list and the show was on. They kicked off with “Will the Circle Go Unbroken”, performing some fine picking between the verses. Melissa Lewis did an outstanding job as a special guest with an outstanding version on “Waiting For the Times to Get Better”. Jerry Lambert got in the act early with another gospel tune, “I Have Decided”. As the set progressed, Mark and Tommy took up the slack with fine versions of “Come Unwound”, “All My Exes Live in Texas”, and Tommy did a bang up job on the perfect country and western tune “You Never Call Me By My Name”! Jerry Lambert showcased one of his original tunes” – Cowboy Dan” – that was really well received by the crowd. The first set ended with the classic swamp country tribute, “Poke Salad Annie”.
After a short intermission, the show continued with Mark belting out the classic “Hey Good Lookin”. With Prairie Grove you just never know for sure what they’ll pull out of the hat, so it was not a real surprise when Tommy sang “Unchain My Heart”. Next up was another Special Guest, Jeb Willborg! Jeb is Fourteen and without a doubt has a career in music if he so chooses. He wowed us with a terrific version of “The Cowboy Rides Away”, and the crowd roared it’s approval. As always with Praire Grove, they mix it up with all kinds of tunes, and Saturday was no exception, as Jerry got into the act again on Keys and Vocals with a Bob Seeger classic “Turn the Page”. You can always count on these guys for crowd appreciation as they sang “Happy Birthday” to Betty Gibson, 69 years YOUNG. They finished the show with one of my all time favorite tunes, “Stand Up”, and another great Saturday night came to a close.
Special thanks to all our volunteers, and real special thanks to Johnette and Ty for their help with the Backporch Kitchen!
Prairie Grove will be back with us on the Forth of July! Y’all Come!
Saturday’s forecast for rain was just way off, and we had a perfect evening and TWO great shows! Shelley King got the crowd warmed up, and then The Davanzo Family Band jumped right in with 16 year old Nick kicking off their show with “Carolina in the Pines”. We were very lucky and appreciative to have all of these fine performers available this evening!
We want to give a big “Thank You” to Shelley King, her husband Perry Drake and their son Clark for stopping by Mount Ida and The Front Porch Stage. Shelley grew up just down the road in Caddo Gap and was in town to take part in a time capsule opening that turned out to be fun, but the contents of their capsule were damaged a bit by water. Despite the disappointment of the time capsule, Shelley delighted us all with a set of mostly originals. Shelley was accompanied on stage by her husband Perry on percussion.
Shelley started her performance with a song about the Caddo River, called “Call of My Heart”, about a dream of the Caddo. Shelley also played one great cover of Larry Campbell’s – “When I Go Away” – a Levon Helm favorite; Shelley had the honor of getting to sing with Levon before his passing. Shelley is currently touring her newest album, called “Starting a Fire”, and performed a killer version of the song by the same name. Shelley said getting to come play here just made her weekend better! Our sincere thanks to Shelley King, and also to Mountain Harbor Resort and Spa, who sponsored Shelley’s concert set, and who generously support the Front Porch Stage. We look forward to Shelley’s next visit!
When the Davanzo Family Band took the stage, Nick’s “Carolina in the Pines” set the Bluegrass tone and got their performance off to a great start. The Front Porch Stage crowd enjoyed outstanding instrumentals, great song selection and some fine bluegrass standards from this terrific family band, featuring Brittany on the fiddle, Monica on mandolin, Nick on the banjo, Mom Bridget on the upright bass, and Dad Carmen on the guitar. They wove in some great gospel with “What a Time In Heaven” and “Are You Washed in the Blood”. They ended their first set with “If Wishes Were Horses”, a song they have on CD.
The Davanzo’s second set was just as great as the first! They kicked it off with a great instrumental that featured all all three “children”, all great musicians. They got a rousing ovation for their version of “Sitting on Top of the World”! Brittany told how that after their Dad Carmen taught them to play, they went out and bought a bass, and one day when their Mom Bridget came home from work, they presented her with the bass and congratulated her on becoming the “Bass Player” (it did not take long for her to fit right in!). They featured her on a bass-loaded Foggy Mountain Special instrumental. They closed their second set with a gospel tune, “Daniel Prayed”, followed by “Love Please Come Home Tonight”. The crowd insisted on an encore and were rewarded with a really great tune, “Find Me Out on the Mountain”. We tremendously enjoyed the Davanzo Family and want to thank Carmen and Bridget for raising such great kids and great musicians, and for sharing all of their talents with us.