Weatherford Democrat

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March 12, 2014

The music never died

Buddy Holly tribute show this Saturday at Texas Opry

Texas Opry Theater will be bopping this Saturday night as Kenny James and Midnight Shift perform “Buddy Holly Lives,” a tribute show to the 1950s rock-and-roll pioneer.

Special guest will be Kevin Ray Adams, son-in-law of The Big Bopper Jr., with emcee Alan Price, of Alan’s Golden Oldies Internet Radio.

The show begins at 7 p.m. at the theater, located at 319 York Ave. in downtown Weatherford. Tickets are $25 and $20 and can be purchased online at texasoprytheater.com or by calling 817-341-1000.

A native of Hammond, Ind., the 48-year-old James said he was born into music.

“My father is my greatest inspiration,” he says. “I learned to play guitar from him. He would sing Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, Elvis, Carl Perkins and all kinds of what I would call ‘honky tonk’ singers. So my musical influences came early and were that of my family. I always felt that our music we listen to today is taken from the music as early as the late ‘40s and early ‘50s. I hold all of those artists with great respect for paving the way.”

James said he has worked professionally with and met a number of top musical artists and groups including The Drifters, The Coasters, Chubby Checker, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, Marty Stewart and Willie Nelson.

“They have all had an effect on me,” says James. “I have learned from each person how to conduct yourself on and off stage. The most pleasant surprise was learning that most of them are Christians, also.”

James said he always knew he would be an entertainer, which he has been since the age of 16. He said one trait he shares with Holly is a passion for music.

“From what I have learned, he had a lot of fun on stage, and I do, too,” he says. “I try to spread that fun around. I read his book, and know that he loved to try things.”

James said he worked at perfecting the Holly’s voice, to achieve the correct dialect of the Texas-born singer.

“His phrasing was the most important,” says James. “Our range is similar, but I had to work on his accent. It’s funny, because I had a little bit of that coming from Indiana. Some of us up there do have a little slang to our talk.”

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