(Article and Photos TBD – apologies for the delay)
Robertson’s Tradition & Ouachita River Ramblers
Our show tonight was made doubly great! Not only were we getting to see our old friends, The Ouachita River Ramblers, we also got another chance to hear the Robertson’s Tradition girls do a few tunes as they opened for the ‘Ramblers.
Robertson’s Tradition are Grace, Annabel, Jill and Abigail Robertson, accompanied by Grandpa Billy Robertson, Great Uncle Jerry Robertson, and special guest, James Scrimshire, on bass.
The Girls opened their set with “Wayfaring Stranger” and stayed in the gospel mode with “His Hand Is Gently Knocking” and “In My Father’s House.” They did a great job on a Randy Travis tune called “Three Wooden Crosses.” They did a fantastic job on “Keep Your Heart Young.” Great Uncle Jerry was asked to do an original written by one of the Robertsons’ brothers in Virginia, called “Momma’s Old Wood Stove.” They ended their set with the great John Denver’s “Country Roads.”
These girls have that magic harmony that only families seem to capture. I hope they get the chance to stay together as a performing group, They sure have a great sound, and we’re proud to have them perform here!
After a very short break the Ouachita River Ramblers gathered in front of the mic for a reunion on the ‘Porch that was three years in the making. The ‘Ramblers are Jerry Robertson on the left handed upside down guitar and vocals, Terry McLarty, also on guitar and harmony, Danny Williams on mandolin and vocals, Don Knowles on banjo and vocals, Quinn Martin on the doghouse bass, and Helen Martin on fiddle. Sadly, Al Crawford is in poor health and can’t play anymore.
The Ouachita River Ramblers opened their set with a great old standard, “Washed My Hands In Muddy Water.” The ‘Ramblers admitted to being just a little rusty, and they suffered some initial feedback problems, but they got the problems solved and took off from there, getting going with an old Earnest Tubb tune, “Thanks A Lot,” followed by a good version of “Sitting on Top of the World.” Jerry took the lead on “Take Me Back to the Sweet Sunny South,” a song made popular by Joan Baez. “The Old Home Place” followed, with some fine banjo picking, and Danny Williams on the vocals. Terry did some great picking on “Way Down Deep Inside My Soul.” Danny took another turn on vocal with “More Pretty Girls Than One,” and Helen got in on some fiddle. Love and Murder are standard themes in bluegrass music, and so it was in “The Banks of the Ohio.” They finished their first set in three years with a classic, “Big Spiike Hammer,” another happy song about love and hammers!
After a short break, they rebounded with “Fox On the Run,” “Mountain Laurel,” and then they moved into all gospel with “Life Is Like a Mountain Railroad,” “Little Mountain Church,” “Three Men On the Mountain,” “Let’s All Go Down to the River,” “Angel Band,” “I’ve Just Seen the Rock of Ages,” and “Wayfaring Stranger,” with some great guitar from Terry. They continued with “Crying Holy Unto the Lord,“ “Little White Church,” and an instrumental called “Bells of St Marys.” They did a great job on a tune that Jerry Robertson wrote called “This Road of Life.” They finished their show with a rousing version of “Precious Jesus Hold My Hand.“
We are hoping that it won’t be another three years before they again perform on the Front Porch Stage! Sure enjoyed their music this evening!
Big thanks to Robertson’s Tradition for opening this show, and, hopefully, we’ll see you again soon. Huge thanks to The Ouachita River Ramblers for doing a reunion on the porch.
Thanks to all who came out, and a big Thank You to the volunteers who make it all happen!
Our Harry and Chuck show was much more than we expected, and we’re thrilled that it worked out that way. Originally we thought it would be Ashley Blanton with her dad Harry, hence our calling the show “The Blantons”. In the meantime Ashley got married and became a Bell and wasn’t real sure whether she would be able to make it. At some point, Harry called on Chuck Hughes (we know him from Posey Hill) to be his sideman, as well as R. C. Castleberry on bass. Turns out Ashley was able to make it so we had a really great show! Call it whatever you want, it was Harry and Ashley Blanton from Benton, Chuck Hughes from Mountain View, and RC Castleberry from parts unknown.
Long story short, they really put on a great show, and here’s the playlist!
Set One kicked off with “The Race Is On,” “Heart Over Mind,” “Ring of Fire,” “Faded Love,” I Ain’t Never Seen Nobody Like You,” “Lord I Hope This Day Is Good,” “Johnny Be Good,” “Sing Me Back Home.” Ashley joined them on stage, and they finished the set with “Walking After Midnight,” “Sweet Thing,” “Someday Soon,” “Wayfaring Stranger,” and “Anticipation,” an original of Harry’s.
After a short break they kicked off set two with “Promised Land,” followed by “Heartaches By the Numbers,” “Folsom Prison Blues,” “Hey Good Lookin’,” “California Blues,” and “The Chair.” Ashley joined them to finish the set with “Two More Bottles of Wine,” “Somewhere Between You and Me,” “I Fall to Pieces,” “Midnight Riders Lament,” and “I’ll Fly Away.” Harry closed the show with “How Great Thou Art.”
Harry Blanton has a fabulous voice, Chuck Hughes is an incredible performer on any stringed instrument he touches, R. C. Castleberry is as solid as the ground we stand on playing the bass. Ashley Blanton Bell is the country singer every country wants to be. She and her dad’s duets reaffirm the “Family Harmony” that makes for great shows.
Thanks Harry, Ashley, Chuck and R. C. for coming to Mount Ida and giving us a really great show!
Thanks to everybody who came out to support live music, and thanks to our stalwart volunteers who make it happen.
We’ve always known that Dewayne Hodges brings a good show to the Front Porch, so we figured that the addition of the Faith Point Singers would have to be good. Good doesn’t quite cover how great this turned out to be!
The Faith Point Singers are Ronnie Vandeslick on bass and vocals, Roger Luker on acoustic guitar and vocals, Clyde Adams on lead guitar and vocals, Dewayne Hodges on keyboard and vocals, Ronnie Neighbors on pedal steel, and Jeremy Luker on drums.
We knew from the sound check on that this show was going to be special, and it was! They kicked off their first set with the very poignant country song, “Almost Home,” featuring Roger on vocals. Clyde stepped up the pace with the question, “Don’t You Ever Get Tired of Hurting Me.” Ronnie V. changed the pace and mood with a stirring rendition of “Stand By Me,” followed by Dewayne sending out the tune “I Can See Houston” to the victims and to all the folks helping in the rescues and recovery effort on the Gulf Coast effected by hurricane Harvey.
At this point everyone realized that this was a special group of singers and players who loved to play. Their vocal harmonies were simply the best, as well as their musicianship. As they continued with “Tonight,” “Ain’t No Sunshine When She’s Gone,” and “The Cowboy Rides Away.” They honored the memory of the great country singer/songwriter Don Williams with a great version of “Tulsa Time.”
A shift to Motown with a fabulous version of “My Girl,” back into country with “Almost Like A Song,” and ended the set with “Working Man Blues.”
After a short break the band took to the stage and played a request, “Every Night For Me,” then went into an all gospel set with “We’ll Soon Be Done.” Normally we would expect Dewayne to do his most requested tune, “Beulah Land,” but in this band Roger and Dewayne shared the vocals and the crowd loved it. The set also included “How Great Thou Art,” “Call Me Gone,” “Jesus Made A Change,” “Will the Circle Be Unbroken,” and the band closed with “The Lighthouse.”
The Faith Point Singers are the musicians in residence at the Faith Point Ministry in Hot Springs. Big huge thanks to them for coming to Mount Ida and playing for everyone!
Thanks to all the folks who came out to support music; we’re betting you’re glad you came out too! As always thanks to our volunteers who make it all happen.
Personal thanks to Jerry Lambert, Dan Watson and Robert Cavanaugh for all your help!
Our concert was the solo artist Thomas Stringfellow. Thomas was born in Little Rock and spent his first few years right here in Mount Ida.
Singer and songwriter who is best known for his time on the reality competition series, “American Idol.” Thomas appeared during its final season during the winter and spring of 2016. Thomas started singing in the fifth grade and was a junior in high school in Bentonville when he auditioned. His unusual style and poise helped him win the competition, and he will be returning to TV in 2018. Thomas is nineteen.
Thomas opened his show with an Elvis Presley hit, “I Can’t Help Falling In Love With You” from the 1961 movie “Blue Hawaii,”. Thomas uses an unusual device called a “Looper” which allows him to record guitar and vocals that playback while he sings and plays. His original song, “Photograph,” was excellent. His “Make It Rain” and “Bring You Back” got great response from the small, but boisterous, crowd. His version of “House of the Rising Sun” was really well received. His mix of originals was well thought out, and his show had a nice flow. His “Sweet Creature” was fantastic. He followed with “Jesus, I Come” and an original, “One Night.” He closed his first set with his version of the Radiohead hit, “Creep.”
After a short break, Thomas told the crowd that he was not satisfied with one of the songs from the first set and said the tune deserved better, so he again performed “Jesus I Come,” and he got a rousing ovation. He followed with Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” and his true singing talents shined.
He followed with his originals “Love Song” and “Sing.” He closed his show with a song called “Tenerife Sea,” written by Ed Sheehan in 2014.
Many, many thanks to Thomas for coming down from Bentonville to play. We wish more people had turned out, but for those who came, they got to see a wonderful Arkansas talent, and we wish him great success in his future.
Thanks to everyone who came out to support live music, and big thanks to our volunteers who make it happen.
Blues in the Schools is a program created by The Blues Foundation and is committed to preserving blues heritage. Taking Blues music into schools systems, via Blues in the Schools, provides a direct line to keep this great American genre both relevant and thriving.
Blues in the Schools with the “Youngbloods” proved to be a wonderful experience and epitomizes the value of diversity in music programs in education. The Youngbloods arrived early and we had a great time getting the stage set for a very interesting performance. The Youngbloods range in age from twelve to seventeen.
Eight “youngbloods” make up the band. They are Josh Kuntz, lead singer, dancer and tambourine, Peyton Shipp on drums and percussions, Jackson Victorian, keyboard and vocals, Marston Murdoch on electric bass, Tobias Mendenhall, drums and vocals, Clarke Elmore on rhythm
guitar and harp, Ethan Kuntz on Lead guitar and vocals, and Christian Boekhout on sax.
Sherry Hughes, the director of the program made a short introduction about the program and explained how students and performing musicians were given the chance to interact. She introduced the band members as they appeared on stage.
The show started with each song being introduced by a band member, who gave the origin of the song and describing the version they were playing. They opened the show with an American folk song made famous by the British Rock group, Eric Burden and the Animals, “House of the Rising Sun”, to demonstrate the far reaching effects of blues in the world. “Boom Boom Boom Boom”, the John Lee Hooker classic, followed to the delight of our crowd. The show moved right along with blues classics from the likes of Junior Wells and Little Anthony and the Imperials. They followed with th John Fogerty hit, “Proud Mary”, as performed by Ike and Tina Turner, BB King’s “Thrill is Gone”, with a great guitar lead, and songs by Willy Dixon, Screamin Jay Hawkins, Chester Burnett, the man known as “ Howlin Wolf”. The Great Robert Johnson was recognized with Cream’s version of “Crossroads”, and “Sweet Home Chicago”, and T’Bone Walkers “Stormy Monday”. They ended their show by merging “Let the Good Times Roll” into an instrumental called “Chapel Hill Boogie”. A great selection of classic blues!
Big thanks to Sherry Hughes, David Hughes, Dean of NPCC where the “Blues in the Schools” has
its home, and “the Youngbloods” for coming to Mount Ida and playing for us.
Thanks to all the family members who made the trip and to all our friends who came out in support of live music. Thanks to our volunteers who get it done …
A beautiful summer day, warm but bearable and downright enjoyable with the Caddo Cowboys on stage. The Caddo Cowboys are led by Hayden Powell, the young talented country singer that grew up down there around Liberty Road. Hayden is still in High School but he’s way beyond school in voice and talent. His band is made up of several of our older friends and a couple of Hayden’s younger friends.
Anthony Lewis on the pedal steel gives the band that real country sound. Jake Powell, Hayden’s uncle and a fine singer in his own rite, does some vocal duty and harmonies and helps drive the rhythm on drums. Joe Carmack, the complete bass player, is the perfect complement to Jake. Robert Tollett on rhythm guitar and vocals has been with Hayden since the beginning. Devon Deaton, one of the original Cowboys, adds that acoustic touch and another layer of rhythm that fits right in on every country tune. “Dart” Travis Stapp adds banjo and dobro to this great mix.
The Caddo Cowboys fame is starting to reach far and wide, with gigs all over Southwest Arkansas and Oklahoma. Hayden has already visited Nashville, and some of his tunes are becoming popular everywhere they’re heard. Hayden obliged us by playing one of our raffle prizes, a Fender Squire Telecaster, and he liked it enough to buy some chances to win it at our Sweet Sixteen Celebration on September 30th.
Our crowd for The Caddo Cowboys was especially pleased with the band’s performance, and most stayed all evening, enjoying the best of country from this great local band. We hope that they stay around here and that we’ll enjoy their music more often on The Front Porch Stage.
Big thanks to The Caddo Cowboys, and big thanks to everyone who came out for our show.
Oh Mercy are Thomas Glover on keyboard, harp and guitar, Dian Glover on keyboard and lead vocals, Jim Pennington on drums and vocals, and Marty Baker on bass and harmony vocals.
The last time we saw this band, they were calling themselves “Shady Grove,” but they decided that their name didn’t really fit the music they were playing. They decided that “Oh Mercy” had a good feel, especially since their selection of tunes ran towards the “Motown” and genres that weren’t especially close to a name like “Shady Grove.”
We hold the poor weather forecasting responsible for a reduced attendance; they called for thunderstorms all afternoon, and many of our regulars were no-shows for this fine show.
At show time we had a nice overcast day with a wonderfully comfortable temperature. Oh Mercy’s opening tune set the mood, The great Ella Fitzgerald’s,”Nothing But Blue Skies.” The first set was filled with great tunes that we all could appreciate, from “At Last”, “California Dreaming,” “Ho Hey,” “Give Me One More Chance,” “Have I Told you Lately That I Love You,” “Moondance,” “Walk On By,” “Knock On Wood,” “It’s Too Late Baby,” “Mustang Sally,” and the set ended with “Route 66.”
The second set opened with a great version of Hall and Oates’ “Sarah,” followed by a feisty version of “Hit the Road Jack” in the Ray Charles style. Jim Pennington did a good job on “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay,” while Thomas did a little picking on the guitar. That Motown sound came across well with “Signed Sealed Delivered.” They switched gears with the John Prine classic, “Angel From Montgomery.” There were ominous dark clouds shoving in from the west as Oh Mercy played their version of “Wagon Wheel.” A lightning strike to our southwest prompted us to call it a night with “You Don’t Know Me.” The band managed to get their gear loaded up before the bottom fell out.
We sincerely thank Oh Mercy for coming to Mount Ida to play for a small, but certainly appreciative crowd. Great job! Huge thanks to those who came out to listen to this fine group, despite the forecasts! And, as always, thanks to the great volunteers who make The Front Porch Stage possible week after week.
This week we send a special thanks to Liz Aiken, who covered for our Marie in the snack bar.
What a great concert! Mt Ida and the Front Porch were graced with beautiful weather and great music! The Clark Family Trio came to us from Searcy and Little Rock.
The band are Cindy Clark (Mom) on Bass and vocals, Sallie Ann Clark on guitar and vocals, and Bill Nesbitt on lead guitar, mandolin and vocals. We would be remiss if we didn’t mention that Sallie Ann is only thirteen years old! She’s been singing since the age of four and somewhere along the way learned to play guitar under the excellent tutelage of Bill. Bill Nesbitt is an accomplished teacher of stringed instruments, and many of his students have gone on to professional careers in music. This was their third appearance on our porch.
The show was a masterpiece of great tunes with a variety of styles and genres, with something for every musical taste. Sallie Ann was called upon and delivered outstanding versions of great tunes such as Bill Monroe’s “Blue Moon of Kentucky”, George Gershwin’s classic “Summertime”, Otis Redding’s “Dock of the Bay”, Stephen Foster’s “My Old Kentucky Home”, and Patsy Cline’s “Blue”, to mention a few. We see great things in this young lady’s future.
The song selection for this concert was beyond excellent as they covered tunes from many popular artists such as John Prine, Tom Petty, The Beatles, Fleetwood Mack, The Steel Drivers, Patsy Cline, The Dillards (the famous “Darling Family” on Andy Griffith), Crosby Stills and Nash and more.
If you missed this show, you missed a great concert, but you have a chance to see them in October when they will be doing an opening set for the Bill Nesbitt Show. One of Bill’s other projects is the Tall Timber Bluegrass Band, who will be featured on the porch for the first time October 14th!
The Front Porch Stage wants to thank Cindy, Sallie Ann, and Bill for making that long drive down
to Mount Ida and for playing such a great show for us. We look forward to them coming back in October!
And as always, Big Thanks for everyone who came out to support live music, and special thanks to our volunteers who make it happen.