Weatherford Democrat

June 19, 2013

The Buddy System

Buddy Holly tribute artist Johnny Rogers takes packed Texas Opry Theater house on journey back in time


Weatherford Democrat

— There were few empty seats Saturday night at the Texas Opry Theater when national tribute artist Johnny Rogers took the stage with his “Buddy and Beyond” show that brought back memories of Buddy Holly and the Crickets and many other rock and roll legends of the ‘50s and ‘60s such as Elvis Presley, Carl Smith, Big Bopper, Richie Valens, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison and others.

Most of the 475 seats in the Texas Opry Theater were filled with enthusiastic fans of the music genre of a past generation. Marilyn Carter, co-owner of Texas Opry Theater, said, “that demographics of the patrons attending the nights event were 48 percent from Weatherford and 52 percent from 28 other North Texas cities in a 160-mile radius of Weatherford and as far away as Conroe and Washington state. The majority of the attendees dined before or after the show in local restaurants and many stayed overnight in local hotels and shopped in the shops and boutiques of our city.”

Future events coming up at the Texas Opry Theater include this month’s Parker County Live show on Saturday beginning at 3 p.m. This month’s show features the blues and jazz gospel music stylings of the Reverend Cadillac Johnson and his band, The Revelators, which hail from the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Cadillac is a former bassist for the ZZ Top band and a regular on stage at the Bluebird Blues Club and like kind venues.

Besides ZZ Top, Johnson played with Ray Sharpe, who is the penman of Linda Lou, and became part of Johnnie Red and the Roosters, who released “In The Red Zone” in 1996. He has been a staple in the Fort Worth blues scene as a journeyman bass player for many years, playing with Holland K. Smith, Dave Millsap, Buddy Whittington, Johnny Reno and the list goes on. Along with his gospel/blues project with The Revelators, he also plays bass for Guthrie Kennard, Blind Dog Cooley and co-hosts a weekly jam with Dallas blues great Hash Brown.

Having battled years of serious addiction, destructive living and near-fatal diseases, Johnson has emerged healed, delivered and redeemed by the power of God. Ordained in 2002, Johnson has now begun a ministry focusing on youth and those who need encouragement while battling and overcoming areas he himself has dealt with. Music and ministry remain the focus for Johnson these days. He is often overheard telling folks that the best is yet to come.

General admission tickets are $10 for ages 60 and over and $15 for all others, available at the door or online at www.parkercountylive.org. Proceeds from this show will benefit Parker County Meals On Wheels program and is sponsored by the Weatherford Democrat, Gregg Davis/Edward Jones Investments, Jennifer Mason, CPA, Realty World, Caring Hearts Homecare, Hometown Pharmacy, Sweatt Engineering, iSupport Revenue, Beyond Faith Health and Homecare and QXFM Radio.

On June 29th at 3 p.m. the Texas Opry Theater welcomes the son of the late Box Car Willie and Chisai Childs from Branson, Mo. Marty Martin Jr., or better known as Box Car Willie Jr. and affectionately as “Baby Box,” will perform along with Brownwood native Tommy Horton. The Amazing Made In Texas Showtime Band (formerly known as the Granbury Live Band) will back all of the show’s headliners.

Legendary country music artist Box Car Willie was known as the “World’s Favorite Hobo” (1931-1999) and was the 60th member of the Grand Old Opry. His original style of hobo music will always be an important part of American history. His tales of travel and freedom of the rails tell of a time gone by. His son is dedicated to the memory of this great American icon.

Tommy Horton is a “Texas gentleman” who demonstrates the talent of traditional country, gospel and rockabilly music. Horton’s vocal, guitar picking and true southern charm has endeared him with everyone he meets. Tommy performs a tribute to the legendary Johnny Horton as a special segment of his show. Songs like “Honky Tonk Man” and “The Battle of New Orleans” always brings back memories of another legendary country music star who passed much too early. Tommy’s relationship to Johnny is a story in itself. Tommy’s resemblance in looks and sound tell that story without a doubt.

Chisai Childs is another native Texan who began her journey producing country music shows with the late Johnny High in the early 1970s as founders of the Grapevine Opry.

Chisai later relocated to Branson, Mo., taking with her artists such as Box Car Willie, Shoji Tabuchi, The Masters Four Quartet (later known as The Texans Quartet) and others. Over time all became huge draws to the Branson music scene. Child’s will thrill the Weatherford audience with her renowned “Ahab the Arab” skit to the music of Ray Stevens’ 1962 song of the same name.

In response to many requests for his return to the Texas Opry Theater, Gene Watson is scheduled to perform July 6th from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Watson has been inducted into the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame and this year marks the golden anniversary of one of our greatest living country vocalists. In 1962, Gene Watson began his professional career by recording his first single, “Love In The Hot Afternoon.”

“It’s unbelievable to me that it’s been 50 years,” Watson said. “For most of those years, it seemed like it took everything I could do to keep working as steady as I needed to. Now that I’m older, it seems like everything comes to me without trying. I’m working more shows than I was 15 years ago.

“It’s quite a compliment. I think a lot of it is because there’s not too much of what I do around anymore. I think there is still such a hunger out there for traditional country music. So I’d like to stay out there as long as I’m able to do the job and do it well.

“Every time I step out on that stage and see that audience, it’s a new beginning. Even though I’ve sung these songs millions of times, I look at each one like it’s brand new to me. Every show, I try to deliver that song the best that I can.

“Being called a ‘Singer’s Singer’ humbles me. It’s flattering, but what I do is just what I do. The good Lord just gave me the voice.”

Reserved seats are on sale online at www.texasoprytheater.com or by calling 817-341-1000. Watson’s shows always sell out fast.

Carter said anyone wishing to be added to the theater’s email contact list can call 817-341-1000 or send an email request to texasopry@sbcglobal.net.

“The goal of the Texas Opry Theater is to be a dynamic entertainment destination that attracts visitors to Weatherford and Parker County on a year round basis,” Carter said.