Laura Lee Williard – Rained Out – August 9, 2014

We’re all very sorry that the Laura Lee Williard performance was rained out, as we were very much looking forward to hearing her on the Front Porch Stage.


The Front Porch Stage and Laura Lee both have open dates in our schedules for August 16, so she has graciously agreed to join us at the ‘Stage next Saturday.

Looking forward to this.  Sure hope you can all make it to the Front Porch Stage next Saturday, August 16, to hear and enjoy the music of Laura Lee Williard.

Laura Lee Williard will perform on the Front Porch Stage Saturday, August 16, 2014.

Laura Lee Williard will perform on the Front Porch Stage Saturday, August 16, 2014.

2015 Possum Queen and Possum Picnic

Royal Proclamation

Hear ye ~Hear ye~ Hear ye

I, John Henderson Sr.,
Possum Potentate for all of Montgomery County,
Do hereby make Saturday, September 6th of 2014 a day of celebration in Mount Ida, Arkansas.

Let it be known that on that day the coronation of the
2015 Possum Queen
will take place. I will, at the appointed hour, reveal the name of the Peoples’ choice for that great office.

Let it further be known a Royal Parade will take place at the appointed hour of 6pm, followed by the procession of the reigning Possum Queen, Has Been Queens, Princesses, and the Wannabees for that exalted position onto the Front Porch Stage.

The festivities continue with a Possum Picnic,
catered by Sister Possum Janet Z Capua from the legendary Z’s Cafe of Ft. Worth, Texas.

The Royal Possum Pickers, otherwise known as The Prairie Grove Band, will entertain the Royal Court and all loyal subjects from The Front Porch Stage.

Come ye all to celebrate the new Possum Queen.

By the Authority granted to me by Possums Unlimted
and The Nocturnal Order of the Possum,
I declare September 6th a day of celebration for all.

John Henderson Sr.
Possum Potentate of Montgomery County Arkansas

Davanzo Family Band – July 26, 2014

Our 2014 season on the Front Porch Stage has been full of great bands and the Davanzo Family Band is another great example of the wonderful talent our state keeps producing. We experienced some technical difficulties with our aging sound system, and we extend our apologies to the Davanzos for that. They are real professionals and made up for our problems by playing two great sets of bluegrass, despite our troubles with the sound.

The Davanzo Family Band are from Conway, AR. Carmen Davanzo (dad) on guitar, Bridgette (Mom) on the bass, Brittany (oldest daughter) on fiddle, Monica on Mandolin, and the youngest, Nick, on banjo make up the band.

A great photo of the Davanzo Family band:  Brittany, Monica, Bridgette, Carmen, and Nick.  Thank you all for bringing your music to the Front Porch Stage.

A great photo of the Davanzo Family band: Brittany, Monica, Bridgette, Carmen, and Nick. Thank you all for bringing your music to the Front Porch Stage.
(Click on this image to see more photos)

The Band’s sets were filled with traditional bluegrass and bluegrass-gospel. As their show progressed our sound problems seemed to get worse. At the break we did a work around, and the second set was somewhat improved. Before the end of the second set we managed to get some of the kinks out and got close to providing them with better sound. We will certainly invite them back and hopefully a better experience for them next time.

Despite our woes, all who attended enjoyed this most talented family band and the music they made for us. Many thanks, and we look forward to hearing you all again on the Front Porch Stage.

Clark Family Trio with Bill Nesbitt – July 19, 2014

We ended up with a perfect evening for music this Saturday! The Clark Family Trio with Bill Nesbitt brought us a great show and proved once again that talent is alive and well in Arkansas! The trio are Cindy Clark and her daughters Sophie and Sally from Searcy, along with Bill Nesbitt, a music instructor from Little Rock. For our show Bill played guitar and banjo and Cindy played bass.

Cindy Clark, Sophie Clark, Sally Clark, and Bill Nesbitt on the Front Porch Stage.

Cindy Clark, Sophie Clark, Sally Clark, and Bill Nesbitt on the Front Porch Stage.
(Click on this photo to see more pictures from July 19, 2014)

What is astounding about this group is that Sophie is only sixteen and Sally is only ten. Age makes no difference, as both these girls are already outstanding performers, and when Cindy and Bill add their voices, the magic happens.
 They opened their show with a great version of “Helplessly Hoping” and immediately showed that great vocal ability. Sally jumped right in with a rousing version of “Old Sloughfoot”, and Bill displayed a bit a great guitar picking to accompany her.

Our music loving crowd was really into this show and was singing along with Cindy as they performed “I Can See Clearly Now”. Sophie stepped up and really got everyone’s attention with a phenomenal version of the old Patsy Cline hit “Blue”.

As their set continued, The Trio and Bill performed a variety of great tunes. The crowd went nuts when they did “Oh Johnny”, the old Andrews Sisters song, followed by “Horse With No Name”. 
The Gospel songs “Round Round, I Want to Go Round”, “Walking in Jerusalem”, and “Just Like John” were well received. They closed their first set with “Down on the Corner”, and despite its being their first time to ever play the song live, the crowd loved it.

Their second set was filled with crowd-pleasers such as “Georgia” and “Drift Away”, and Sally did an outstanding job on one of her favorites, “Let It Be”! Page 2 of 3

Clark Family Trio with Bill Nesbitt – July 19, 2014 | The Montgomery County Front Porch Stage 8/6/14, 6:38 AM

The Trio and Bill closed their show with “I’ve Been Everywhere”, a version that included a special verse that mentioned Mount Ida, which, along with the other great music they performed this evening, earned them a standing ovation from their new fans here. Look for them again next season, as we will make sure they are invited back to play on your Front Porch Stage!

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.