Category Archives: Country News

Early Summer 2016 In Branson

Well it’s early summer 2016 and you may be wondering what is going on in Branson and the Ozark Mountain Country. Old things come down a lot faster than new things go up and with that in mind as we travel down 76 Country Blvd. we see one vacant lot where a motel that partially burnt has been torn down. Across the street there is a huge open lot a block long where a strip mall was located and after the tornado a few years ago it was condemned and torn down.

botw_lb_072890_6.gif

After a disaster it takes a long time to get new businesses in those empty spots and after the real estate collapse a couple years ago it is taking even longer to get new developments going as lenders are very timid and demand a lot of pre planning before they are willing to let any new loans. The subdivisions that were partially built have now gone back to work to finish them up. New developments are still not showing up in any number.

The Board of Alderman have been really busy in planning sessions to see what can be done to make Branson the great attraction that they and us would like to see. They have approved a complete overhaul of the 76 Country BLVD. to make it more scenic and convenient to our visitors. The project was divided up into 3 phases and phase one is well under way and phase two just starting and phase 3 still in the planning stage. From what I understand they are asking the shop and land owners to turn the area in front of their lots over to the city and they are even helping to finance the improvements there. They are moving the utilities underground where possible and putting in wider sidewalks, new handicap corner sidewalk ramps to the cross street levels and putting in new landscape items such as trees, raised flower beds, ornaments and even a statue or two.

Being the 76 Highway was built so long ago they then they made streets as narrow as possible at that time and now there is problem in order to keep traffic moving and make it scenic and convenient for pedestrians. There are still some long range plans to add elevated gondolas that would travel on cables above the businesses and have stops where folks could enter or exit the system and they hope that it would relieve some traffic on the highway.

Phase one starts about at the corner of Gretna and Hiway 76 and goes east for a couple of miles then phase starts there and goes east to the overpass over highway 65 and phase 3 would be old downtown Branson. It is really taking a lot of planning and they have the best available in order to try to aleviate the traffic congestion there and still keep the original downtown feeling and make it convenient to all travelers, pedistrations and sight seers. This is really the most crouded area in the region and millions of visitors visit it every year.

Now getting off the Hiway 76 subject lets see what else is going on in town or should I say in the area as in Hollister there are two new businesses going up and they are a new full size Menards Building Supply Store and it is now closed in and the interior work is under way and they are grading and getting the parking lots black topped. When we first moved to the Branson area Lowes was still new and only one other smaller lumber yard were in the area. Then all the business started building along Bee Creek and that development has a Home Depot Store and now we will have a Menards Wow aint that exciting.

Just a block away from the Menards Store is a brand new La Quinta Hotel now open for business. Downtown Hollister is still planning how they can keep the area from flooding out as it has about 3 times now about 10 years apart. They are closing the Turkey Creek Trailer Park as it has flooded several times. As far as that goes Branson Landing has flooded a couple of times also and so has the camping area just south of Branson Landing under the highway bridge.

To the west is a new attraction and that is the new ferris wheel located just west of gretna road on highway 76. It is at the amusement park across from Ripley’s Believe it or Not. The Navy Pier Ferris Wheel has gotten from Chicago to Branson with the help of 26 semi trucks and $4 million. I have same pictures of it here when the wheel was up but the chairs were not installed yet and they were still pouring cement to anchor it in place. They had to get a special variance permit because it was over the height limit for structures in Branson. I believe it is 150 feet tall. The ferris wheel was disassembled from the water front in Chicago and moved to Branson and reassembled. It can hold 240 passengers at a time.

If you haven’t heard at Silver Dollar City last year they opened a brand new all wood roller coaster at it is a gem. I don’t know how many roller coasters they have but it must be at least 6 and you can ride them all as well as the other rides free with your admittance.

All the new shows in town can be checked out on the Entertainent Page.

Patsy Cline (Virginia Patterson Hensley)

Patsy-Cline3

Patsy played the piano by ear but only played on a couple of her recorded songs.

Patsy Cline was born on Sept.8 1932 as Virginia Patterson Hensley to Sam Hensley and Hilda Patterson in Winchester Virginia. She was the oldest and a younger brother Samuel and sister Sylvia. She was introduced to music very early at about age 3 as her mother joined her signing in church. The Hensley family was not affluent and she quit high school and took a job as a soda jerk and waitress at the Triangle Diner across the street from her old school.

She would watch performers through the window of the local radio station and she asked if she could add her talent to the show offered by talent coordinator Jimmy McCoy. He agreed and her performance in 1947 was well received and she was asked to perform again. This led to appearances at local nightclubs while wearing the cowgirl outfit made for her by her mother from Patsy’s design.

Patsy not only appeared at many talent shows and made WARL radio appearances at the Town and Country Jamboree in Arlington, Virginia. Her father left the family in 1947 so to help out she performed for money whenever she had the chance. She says she at the age of 13 was hospitalized with a throat infection and rheumatic fever and the fever later changed her voice to what she said was just like Kate Smith.

Patsy married a contractor Gerald Cline on March 7,1953 and the marriage ended with a divorce on July 4, 1957. It was said the husband did not like his wife performing away from home all the time instead of being a stay at home wife.

She married the second time to a printer named Charlie Dick on Sept.15,1957 and they became parents to two children Julie Dick on Aug 25,1958 and Randy Dick on Jan. 22, 1961.  Charles Dick survived her and died on Nov. 8, 2015 at the age of 81.

Bill Peer, her second manager gave her the name Patsy, from her middle name Patterson and in 1955 he gained a recording contract for her at Four Star Records. Four Star was under contract to Decca Recording Company and she signed under Decca three years later.

Being her contract under Four Star she could only sing songs by Four Star writers. She realized later that this was not a good arrangement but she took what was offered at the time. Her first song was “A Church A Courtroom and then Good-Bye” and this drew little attention. She later got to sing on the Grand Ole Opry and she could what she wanted there as it was not under her contract singing there.

Between 1955 and 1957 she co wrote 2 songs “Don;t Ever Leave Me Again” and “A stranger In My Arms” and sang “Fingerprints”, Pick Me Up On Your Way Down”. Patsy loved to sing Country songs but Decca thought she should sing Pop song materials as well. Being she was still contracted to Four Star and the contract was for Country only she stayed with that.

botw_lb_072890_6.gif

On Jan. 21, 1957 Patsy made her television debut on Arthur Godfreys talent show and she sang “Walkin After Midnight”. She was scheduled to sing “A Poor Man’s Roses Or a Rich Man’s Gold” but the producer liked “Walkin After Midnight” as it was more country and that was fine with Patsy but the producer insisted she wear a cocktail dress instead of the little Cowgirl Dress her Mother made. The song hit number 2 on the Country charts and number  16 on the pop charts and Patsy became a star.

In 1957 she also recorded “A Stranger in My Arms” and “Don’t Ever Leave Me Again” written by friends Lillian Clarborne and James Crawford and these were the only songs where she provided piano music under her real name Virginia Hensley. After the birth of their daughter Julie in 1958 they moved to Nashville Tenn..

When Patsy’s contract with Four Star ran out in 1960 a friend (guitarist and promotion man) Randy Hughes helped her switch her contract to Decca and she worked under Owen Bradley who was a noted female country artist promoter. He helped her carrier immensely grow as he also promoted Brenda Lee and Loretta Lynn.

Her first release for Decca was “I Fall To Pieces” and was her first number one hit and also high on the POP charts. On Jan.9, 1960 accomplished her goal by being accepted into the Grand Ole Opry and she became one of the Opry’s biggest stars this was quite an accomplishment as top stars were mostly men. She was always glad to offer a helping hands to younger women like Brenda lee,  Barbara Mandrell,  Loretta Lynn, Dottie West and Jan Howard.

She was in the horrific car crash on June 14, 1961 with her brother Sam a lady in the other car which collided head on died on the scene and Patsy was thrown almost through the windshield and she almost died also. Dotty West arrived at the scene and picked glass off her face and out of her hair while waiting for the ambulance. Patsy demanded that the other women get medical attention first and Dotty West rode in the ambulance with her to the hospital. Her face was scared and after that she wore wigs and head bands to cover the scars.

Patsy-Cline

She introduced “Crazy” written by Willie Nelson from the studio while on crutches and this was Aug,17, 1961. In the fall of 1961 she was back in the studio and recorded an album. The songs started with “She’s Got You” and she later recorded ‘When I Get Thru’ With You”, “Imagine That”, “So Wrong”, and “Heartaches”. She recorded another album from the Dick Clark American Bandstand.

Patsy was the first women to appear at the New York’s Carnegie Hall. After that she had a feeling that of impending danger or death. She told one of the band members that she survived two car crashes and she probably wouldn’t be so lucky in the third.

After doing three performances while feeling ill at a benefit at the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall in Kansas City. After turning down an offer to drive with Dotty and her husband. She stayed the night at the motel as the city airport was fogged in. She boarded a private Piper PA-24 Comanche and they took off and refueled in Missouri and arrived at the Dyersburg Municipal Airport in Tennessee at 5 PM.

They were to continue but the weather was very low visibility and the pilot was not Instrument Rated or IFR but rather VFR and they were offered a free nights stay with meals but they decided to try to continue. They took off at 6:07 PM.and the plane crashed on the evening of March 5,1963 at 6:20 PM.

Roger Miller and a friend went to the crash site as soon as they heard the news and after running through the woods yelling their names he came over a rise and saw the devastating crash scene as the plane crashed nose down with no survivors. She was only 30 years old but had gone through so much.

Patsy on the cover of her "Walkin after Midnigjt" album
Patsy on the cover of her “Walkin after Midnigjt” album

Along with her on the flight was the pilot and Hawkshaw Hawkins and Cowboy Copas .

Patsy was buried at Shenandoah Memorial Park in Winchester, Virginia.

Branson All Shows Up and Running

We have seen the spring blossoms come and wither and the leaves are out and the spring show starts are all opening on schedule.

Being we live in the Branson area we try to take advantage of shows that offer area appreciation schedules. They offer them usually in the beginning and ending of the show season when the they like to show lots of people in attendance and there are less tourists in town.

This is a win for us and for them as all locals are good ambassadors. Different shows have different charges for the appreciation shows some charge $5 others maybe $7-15. A few have even asked for food stuff contributions for the local food shelf as payment.

So far we have bought appreciation tickets for Grand Countries morning show called Down Home Country plus the evening show called The Grand Jubilee followed by the Friday late night show called Branson Country USA.

The late show is a combination show that is recorded live for radio and TV. This is only a one hour show but there are four intermissions in the taping and they offer great comedy and music between taping sessions. These 3 shows are all just great even though in prior years we have had season tickets at the Grand Country so we have seen them multi times in prior years.

A few weeks ago we went to the Hughes Brothers Theater and saw the show called “It”. It features the 5 Hughes Brothers and their complete families. I believe this year there were 30 of their children on stage doing everything from dance, vocals, instruments, comedy etc.

My wife Marilyn and I volunteered at this theater some years ago for another star and knew the Theater and The Hughes Brothers personally.

If you like family entertainment it doesn’t get any bigger of better than the “It” show.

Last week we went to the presleys show. They have had a family show it seems like forever. They built a new theater and had the first show on the 76 Music Blvd. This show has the best comedy in Branson and almost of those on stage are related to the presley original family.

A couple days ago we went to the beautiful Sight and Sound Theater. This year they are presenting the Bible story of Moses. This Theater only does Bible stories and last year they did Jonah and the year before Noah. These shows are complete with period dress and live animals and the stage itself is huge, like and acre, and it wraps around both sides about half way back along the seating.

Last Sunday afternoon we had some free time so we went to Silver Dollar City. If you are not familiar with Silver Dollar City it is the premier entertainment center in the area. It is a theme park that has at least 6 theaters all running different shows back to back all day.

They have about 5-6 different themes during ending with the greatest Christmas season  experience anywhere in the world. When we went it was a theme called International World Fest and there were shows by folks from Trinidad, Poland, Ireland,  Ecuador, Chech. Republic, the Island Fire group from the South Pacific Islands area and a music/gymnastic group called “Zuma Zuma” from Africa.

If you have always wanted to see the International World Fest theme you have only until the end of April 2016 as after 23 years it is in it’s last year.

For the kids or kids at heart there are tons of wild rides. They have about 5-6 roller coasters one that shoots the cars off with a powder charge and you go from 0-50 miles an hour in about 5 seconds. Their new ride this year is the all new world largest all wooden roller coaster.

Last year they added a fire fighter area with a wild ride that shoots you up from the ground to about 100 feet in seconds.

We always buy annual passes to Silver Dollar City and we try to get out there during each theme time.

And last but not least Marilyn and I sing in our church choir at the Piece Lutheran Church. Our choir director is working this season as a band member for a show called “Patsy Cline and Friends”. CJ Newsom sings the Patsy Cline songs that we all love so much. The costumes were magnificent and the band was great also. Of course we are a little prejudiced because our friend and choir leader Mr. Jim Goldapp is a band member. He plays several different instruments during the show and as he was an instrument instructor for many years. We were guests of Jim and his wife Gayle Goldapp for the evening.

Being we were at Silver Dollar City only Sunday afternoon we only got to see about half of the shows and we plan going out their again this Sunday afternoon and see the rest of the shows. We are to old and fragile so we don’t go on any rides.

For more information on and about Branson, MO just click on this link to over to our “All about Branson” web site.

The Dixie Stampede Reveals “New Adventure” for 2016

Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede is really getting a new face lift. This is the first time since it was established in 1995 that it is being remodeled. The biggest feature being installed is a stone wall that has a dazzling new LED state-of-the-art light show. It has thousands of lights along with new lighting systems plus a new sound system.

Along with the new additions to the show it will still feature the 4 course meal served during the show. Here is just a few facts about the show.

  • There are 32 horses in the show
  • The horses prance around in a field of 200 tons of white sand trucked in form South Caroline each year.
  • Twenty yards of lace and ribbon go into making each Stampede Southern Belle Costume.
  • The Conestoga wagons are 25’8″ long and 9′ high and are pulled by large Belgian Draft Horses weighing aprx. 2,000 pounds each.
  • There are about 50 white Doves raised on site that take to wing during the grand finale.
  • The horses alone eat 104,000 pounds of oats each season plus 3,000 bales of hay eaten and another 13,200 bales of bedding hay or straw plus 528,000 pounds of pine mulch.

Now the show varies from year to year and season to season but you probably could see pigs, camel, buffalo, ostrich, mule and more.

The show includes many featured trick horse riders and lots of fun for all in attendance.

For more information about Branson, MO just click on this link and you will be taken to our “All About Branson” website.

 

What’s New & Coming To Branson

It has been announced that as we speak a famous Ferris Wheel is being dismantled in Chicago and will soon be moving to Branson. It is so big and exciting that Branson City Council had to approve it’s height of 150 feet. This Ferris Wheel was designed after  a 1893 Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition.

It has 40 gondolas that each hold each holding 6 passengers for a total of 240 passengers and it is iluminated by 16,000 lights.

Now I can almost hear you saying it is just another thing going up at Silver Dollar City but you would be wrong. This Ferris Wheel will be going up in a smaller park called The Track Family Fun Park located at 3345 Hwy. 76 across from Ripley’s Believe It Or Not.

It is a $2.5 million Dollar investment as part of the company’s 35th anniversary.

For more information about Branson, MO just click on this link and you will be taken to our “All About Branson” website.

 

Branson Spring How Do You Know?

You know it is almost spring in Branson Missouri when the Hot Winter Fun extravaganza  is being held. On February the first the twenty second Hot Winter Fun was held at the Dick Clark Theater.

We were in attendance placed in row 7 center with just about a full house. Hot Winter Fun is a show where just about all the shows that have personal in town and available show off their newly planned spring of 2016 show. Each show is given time to perform two or three numbers or acts.

We feel this event gives all in attendance a chance to see a little of each show and then they can make a decision as to whether or not they want to go to the show and see the entire event.

The co-emcee was Terry Wayne and Bucky Heard

This year the following shows were represented.

  • Grand Jubilee
  • Paul Eve as Johnny Cash Tribute
  • Dino
  • It
  • Sons of Britches
  • Six
  • Paul Harris
  • Ray Charles and Company Tribute
  • The Blackwood Singers
  • AYO
  • Tribute to Marty Robbins by Leroy New
  • Comedy Jamboree
  • The Petersons
  • The Best of Neil Sedaka by Captain and Tennile and the Carpenters
  • George Jones Remembered
  • Illusionist Rick Thomas
  • Jason Pritchett and the Steel Horse

The show lasted about three hours and a good time was had by all.

 

For more information about Branson, MO just click on this link and you will be taken to our “All About Branson” website.

 

 

2015 Terry Awards in Branson

2015 Terry Awards in Branson was held on or about 12 Oct. 2015

561d5aafd0174.image

The second annual Branson Terry Music Awards were held Sunday evening at the Starlite Theatre.

According to the Terry Award’s Press and Publicity Coordinator Hailey Westrich, “many entertainers were in attendance and it was a star-studded night.”

The ceremony, which saw more than 20 awards handed out to local performers, was hosted by entertainer Chuck Hancock, and Mike Patrick and Jamie Haage from Grand Country.

The winners were:

Fiddle Player of the Year — Amy Dutton

Lead Player of the Year — Dino Strunk

Bass Player of the Year — Randy McConnell

Instrumentalist of the Year — Doug Gabriel

Tribute Artist of the Year — Liverpool Legends

Vocal Duo of the Year — Gordy and Debbie

Matinee Show of the Year — “70’s Music Celebration starring Barry Williams”

Male Vocalist of the Year — Jason Pritchett

Entertainer of the Year — Clay Cooper

Comedian(s) of the Year — Jerl “Hargus Marcel” Adams and Tim “Droopy Drawers, Jr.” Mabe

Track Show of the Show — “New Jersey Nights”

Drummer of the Year — Dino Phillips

Keyboard Player of the Year — David Brooks

Steel Guitar Player of the Year — Greg Moody

Production Show of the Year — “Jonah”

Morning Show of the Year — “Ayo starring the Voices of Glory”

Show of the Year — “Grand Jubilee”

Female Vocalist of the Year — Tamra Tinoco

Vocal Group of the Year — Statler Brothers Revisited

Gospel Group of the Year — Presley’s Gospel Group

Band of the Year: “Take it to the Limit Eagles Tribute” band

Humanitarian of the Year — Shoji and Dorothy Tabuchi

Pioneer Award — Ronnie Prophet

25 Year Award — Jim Stafford

Living Legend Award — Jimmy Osmond

Lifetime Achievement Award — Billy Dean

Open Heart Award — Chisai Childs

For more information about Branson, MO just click on this link and you will be taken to our “All About Branson” website.

 

Singer Lynn Anderson Passed Away

Everyone in the Country Music business mourns the passing of Lynn Anderson on July 30th 2015 in Nashville.

Lynn Anderson

Wikipedia reports,

Lynn Rene Anderson was a multi-award-winning American country music singer known for a string of hits throughout the 1970s and 1980s, most notably her 1970 country-pop, worldwide megahit ” Rose Garden”. Wikipedia
Born: September 26, 1947, Grand Forks, ND
Died: July 30, 2015, Nashville, TN
Parents: Liz Anderson
Albums: Rose Garden, 20 All Time Classics, More
Children: Melissa Hempel, Gray Stream, Lisa Sutton

For more information about Branson, MO just click on this link and you will be taken to our “All About Branson” website.