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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!

Diamond Blues Band – August 15, 2015

We were again blessed with the best weather ever for an August concert, and we were also treated to a great blues concert from The Diamond Blues Band!

The first set of the day, and good blues pours out of the stage while the sun is pouring in.

The first set of the day, and good blues pours out of the stage while the sun is pouring in.
(Click on this image to view more photos from Aug. 15, 2015)

We knew The Diamond Blues Band as “Community Blues” when they came here in 2013. We had them scheduled for 2014, but the leader of the band, Lawrence Snowden, broke his leg, and we had to cancel. We are very happy that we were able to have this great Arkansas band on our stage again. The Diamond Blues Band are Lawrence Snowden on guitar and vocals, Donell “Dooney” Williams on guitar and vocals, Ron Whisenhunt on keys, harp and vocals, Ed Lacerra on guitar and vocals, Dr. Ryan Johnston on the drums and Steve Turner on the Bass. Dooney was a late arrival straight from his job, but he got into the second set big time.

The Diamond Blues Band opened their first set with an Etta James tune, “Rock Me Baby”, made famous by BB King and Eric Clapton. Despite competition from the Montgomery County Fair and a Senior Center dance this evening, there was a very good turnout for this show, and the crowd got enthusiastic from the start.

Lawrence Snowden sure can sing the blues!

Lawrence Snowden sure can sing the blues!

Lawrence has that silky bass baritone style, perfect for the blues. Their set was filled with great tunes, from “Down Home Blues”, “I’ll Play the Blues for You”, “Ain’t No Sunshine When She’s Gone”, “Some Boy’s Gonna Lose”, and  a great tribute to BB King’s “The Thrill is Gone. The crowd really got into it when they cut loose with “My Girl”, and they gave Lawrence resounding applause for “For Your Precious Love”! Ronnie Whisenhunt got into the act with a great version of “I’m Missing You”, with Lawrence backing him up vocally and Ed ripping a great blues lead. The band wrapped up their first set with “Stormy Monday”,  a classic version of 
Tyrone Davis’ “Sure Wouldn’t Me”, and a downright killer version of “Hoochie Mama”!

The Diamond Blues Band opened their second set with Dooney doing the vocals of the late great blues singer, Marvin Sease’s “Gotta Find Me a New Dog”.  The band got to share some vocal harmonies on
 “I’m Easy Like Sunday Morning”, “Rainy Night in Georgia”, and “Let’s Straighten It Out”. The crowd really got into the bluesiest version of “Mustang Sally”, and when they were called to do some sing along, it was totally great. I thought the ladies got the edge on the singing of the chorus, but it was close. They took it back to the real blues with “Everybody Knows About My Good Thing” and “It’s Flooding Down in Texas”. The band wrapped up their show with “Susie Q” and finished it off with “Proud Mary”.

The Diamond Blues Band

The Diamond Blues Band

Special thanks to the Diamond Blues Band for coming to Mount Ida! We enjoyed your music, and we certainly look forward to your return to the Front Porch Stage in the future.

Big Thanks to all our volunteers at the Possum Store, The Back Porch Kitchen and the stage volunteers!

Last but not least, THANK YOU to all our friends and visitors who came out for this great concert!

Thank You to all who come to the Front Porch Stage to enjoy and support Live Music!

Thank You to all who come to the Front Porch Stage to enjoy and support Live Music!

Casey Penn Band with Roger King – August 8, 2015

Saturday was a warm one, but we had a strong cool breeze from the east most of the evening, and it was very comfortable for everyone.

Casey Lee Penn from Benton brought her fiddle, family, friends, and a very special guest, artist Rodger King, to our Porch.

Casey Penn Band with Rodger King and Casey's daughters.

Casey Penn Band with Rodger King and Casey’s daughters.
(Click on this image to view more photos from August 8, 2015.)

They opened the show with Casey’s daughter, Amelia, singing and playing ukulele on a song about friendship, followed up with “You Are My Sunshine” with daughter Natalie. Casey played one of her favorite songs, “All My Tears”, a cover written by Judy Miller. They mixed the first set with some fine instrumentals with Casey on the fiddle, Stan Townsend on Guitar, Brian Nalley on banjo and mandolin, William Penn on the upright bass, and Rodger King doing a little dobro as an added treat. Stan took the show into country mode with “My Mama’s Hungry Eyes”, and Casey followed with “Your Cheating Heart”.  They moved into some gospel with “Wayfaring Stranger”. The rest of their set was most enjoyable and they closed with Casey and Rodger performing an original, “Hang My Head in Sorrow”, that was a real crowd pleaser!

The second set was kicked off with Stan and Casey doing an old gospel tune,”House of Gold”, and they followed up with an original gospel number called “No More Tears” that Casey and Rodger cowrote -a real fine tune too!, and Rodger demonstrated some great Dobro playing.

Rodger King and Casey Penn

Rodger King and Casey Penn

From that point on, the band got to take short breaks while Rodger and Casey took the show into the songwriter showcase. Rodger has been writing for over 35 years, and combined with his fine guitar playing, his tunes went over really well. He performed a solo number called “Slow Moving Freight Train” and picked some mighty fine licks that got great response. Casey sang a song called “From the Road” which she cowrote with another friend about truck driving over the road. One of the best tunes of the day was Rodger’s  “This Here Bottle”, and Brian played a little background harp. Rodger displayed his gospel writing skills with “Keeping My Eyes On Jesus”, a fast-paced country rock sound that was a crowd pleaser.

Casey told us about missing her Dad and sang a tune called “One Step Away” that she cowrote with Rodger. They changed directions all together with a tune called “Passing Time” about life in the “Passing” lane. They finished their showcase with a final tune, “Oceans I Have Cried”, a beautiful sad song about heartbreak. They closed their show with Amelia and Natalie joining them in the finale, “Will the Circle Be Unbroken”, and the crowd got to sing along.

If you let the earlier heat of the evening keep you away, be hopeful with the rest of us that we’ll be seeing these fine folks again down the road.

Special Thanks to Casey Lee Penn, William Penn, Amelia and Natalie Penn, Brian Nalley, Stan Townsend and Rodger King, Thanks for coming to our Front Porch Stage!

Big thanks as always to the dedicated volunteers who make this happen, and last but never least, BIG thanks to everyone who came out to support live music!

Dave Almond and Zane Barham – August 1, 2015

Our August got off to a great start with our good friend Dave Almond! Dave filled in for The Clantons, who had to cancel for some health issues. We wish our old friend Dan Clanton a speedy recovery from what ails him.

Dave brought Zane Barham, a great electric slide player, and they put on a heck of a show!


Zane Barham (left) and Dave Almond.
(Click on this image to view more photos from Aug. 1, 2015)

Dave and Zane kicked off the show with a great laid-back original from Dave’s “Red Neck Blues” album, “How It Is”, and followed it up with a great cover about Cajun living. Dave’s first set was mostly covers from country, rock, folk and blues from such great bands like The Band, Bob Dylan, BB King and others. His cover of “The Thrill is Gone” was excellent, with Zane giving his respect to BB with a fantastic blues lead. Our small but enthusiastic crowd really loved the tribute.

Dave confessed that he didn’t know much new country, but he did know some old country, and the crowd really enjoyed his version of “My Buckets Got a Hole In It”, as well as the cover of Lowell George’s “Willing” and JJ Cale’s “Magnolia”. They wrapped up the first set with a great version of Ozark Mountain Daredevils’ “Black Sky”.

Happy with a copy of Dave's "Red Neck Blues"

Happy with a copy of Dave’s “Red Neck Blues”

During the intermission, Dave gave away a few copies of his vinyl album, “Red Neck Blues” and had a great time autographing some of the copys. The album cover has a real connection to us: Jane Babbitt created the pencil portrait of Dave that graces the cover.

The second set was all about originals, and those who stayed for the second set got a real treat from the git go with Dave’s “Go On Devil”, “Bullet”, “Take Your Time Coming Home”, and “Inbarceration”, about working in the bars.  His “She Don’t Need Me” was one of the great moments with some great slide work from Zane. “Can’t Keep Up With These Joneses”, was  a great blues original and the folks loved it. (We might like the blues around Mount Ida!) “Oklahoma Sand” was delivered with Dave’s usual enthusiasm, and that one line, “Got no dollar bills to line my pocket, money goes in slowly, leaves like a Rocket”, paints a clear picture of how thin and slippery that Oklahoma sand really is. Dave and Zane closed the show with a great version of the Allman Brothers “Statesboro Blues”. A great ending for another great show!

Follow Dave on Facebook to see where he’s playing!

Special BIG thanks to Dave Almond for filling in for The Clantons, and an even bigger thanks for bringing another Arkansas treasure to light with Zane Barham on that electric slide guitar! We sincerely hope to see more of both of them.

A special thanks to All the Volunteers who help with the Front Porch Stage every week.

We appreciate all who come to the Front Porch Stage to support live music in Mount Ida!

We appreciate all who come to the Front Porch Stage to support live music in Mount Ida!

And last but never least, THANK YOU ALL for coming out to see our shows!