• May 14, 2024
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Music at the 30th annual Old-Time Music, Ozarks Heritage Festival will begin at noon June 7 and 8, featuring a variety of performers on two stages: the West Plains Civic Center theater stage indoors, and and outdoor stage set up on Court Square.

Admission is free to all activities offered during the two-day event in downtown West Plains.


Banjo Jack Bowden

– Noon June 7, civic center theater

– 3 p.m. June 7, Court Square stage

Jack Bowden grew up singing traditional country, folk and gospel songs with the whole family, all seven piled in the car as they traveled between North Carolina and all the other different places they called home. Holidays would always be highlighted by good southern cooking and family music-making sessions with cousins, “grandmaws,” aunts, uncles and anyone else who happened to drop in.

After earning a music degree from SUNY Fredonia, Bowden has enjoyed busking on the streets of San Francisco, playing New York’s Folk City, West Texas dance halls, Cape Fear Riverboats in North Carolina,

and “Banjo Jack” at Silver Dollar City. He has shared the stage with many artists including Loretta Lynn,

Conway Twitty, Shelly West, Lucinda Williams, Butch Hancock, Joe Ely and Johnny Gimble.

For about 25 years, Bowden has called the Missouri Ozarks home. He taught music in Hermitage for 14 years and continues to conduct traditional music workshops for kids at festivals and schools. Bowden loves to sing and play guitar, banjo and harmonica. His songs will “get your feet tapping, make you

ponder the puzzles of life, and maybe raise a chuckle or two,” say promoters.

When he is not out walking barefoot in the woods he can be found performing solo and with his band, Kicking Jacksie, at one of the many Ozarks’ live music venues and festivals. “I just want to spread the joy that music brings.” 

Batterton and Edwards 

– 5 p.m. June 7, Court Square stage

Joe Batterton and Mark Edwards have been performing together for nearly two decades in several different incarnations. Over the years they have developed their own unique style of bluesy Americana. They both come from musical backgrounds that have been influenced by rock, blues, bluegrass, traditional country and old-time folk music.

Since becoming a duo, they have opened the doors of all those influences and let that shine in their music selections as well as the original music they write and perform. Both men are vocalists and multi-instrumentalists.

Edwards is an accomplished banjo player and is also a guitar player that can flat pick, play country style and Delta blues finger styles, and slide guitar. Batterton has been a rock-solid bass player for several bands and also plays guitar, mandolin and harmonica but his passion is in his lyrics and vocals. This all leads up to an eclectic and fun show anytime Batterton and Edwards are playing. 

Creek Stink

– Noon June 8, Court Square stage

– 4 p.m. June 8, civic center theater

Eric Bogwalker — guitar, drums, vocals, harmonica and songwriting — and Amelia LaMair on bass are Creek Stink.

Creek Stink hails from the hollers of Ozark County and play high-octane string band dance music. They have been called “the Ramones of Ozark folk music.”

Bogwalker writes the songs by the woodstove in between chores and is joined by LeMair for performances all over the Ozarks and beyond.

Creek Stink has released five records, four of them on Flotsam Farm Records, a small label Bogwalker and LeMair run out of their home at Flotsam Farm. 

Dusty James & Abalone Pearl 

– Noon June 8, civic center theater

– 3 p.m. June 8, Court Square stage

Both Dusty James and Abalone Pearl began playing as teens in folk venues and coffee houses where they honed their instrumental skills and the art of crafting tight vocal harmonies. Each possesses in-depth knowledge of the music in their repertoire. The styles are varied and include traditional folk, roots, singer-songwriter, classic country, Americana, original songs and surprises.

They invite the audience in by conveying the joy that goes with performing tunes that hold special significance for them. The duo was named a top finalist in the 2021 Great American Song Contest for the lyrics to their song, “Here You See Me Standing,” and were again awarded a top finalist in the 2023 competition (Folk/Americana Category) for the lyrics and melody of “Here You See Me Standing” with a new last verse. The Great American Song Contest is one of the biggest in the country with song writers competing from 41 countries.

James (guitar, banjo, mandolin, harmonica, vocals) started playing and singing when he was very young. His influences included Lead Belly, Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, Doc Watson, Mississippi John Hurt and Merle Travis. Over the years, he has appeared in numerous settings, both locally and nationally, including A Prairie Home Companion and CBS Radio, and he has had the privilege of performing on stage with the likes of Doc Watson and Roland White.

He was a winner in the guitar competition at the famed Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, Kan., in 1981 and was a finalist in 1977 and 1994.

Pearl (guitar, banjo, autoharp, dulcimer, washboard, vocals) started playing guitar at age 12 when she was inspired by Bob Dylan, Jean Ritchie, Mike Seeger, Memphis Minnie, The Carter Family, Robert Johnson and the folk movement of the 1960s. She became a professional musician at age 15, playing in coffee houses and other venues. Pearl has had a long and abiding interest in music history and owned a popular record/CD store for many years. 

Echoes of Dogwood Mountain  

– 1 p.m. June 8, civic center theater

Echoes of Dogwood Mountain is a group that formed from associations of folks in southwest

Missouri. The group name has evolved over the years from Ozarks Mountain Dulcimers, a five-person

mountain dulcimer group, to Dogwood Mountain Dulcimers, with hammered dulcimers in addition to

mountain dulcimers, to now be known as Echoes of Dogwood Mountain, a multi-instrument group with mountain dulcimers, hammered dulcimers, a bodhran, and, at times, a marimba and flute.

While the group plays mostly folk music, it also includes songs from bluegrass, Celtic and Southern gospel backgrounds.

Members of the Echoes of Dogwood Mountain are Marvin Glueck, Jullie Wilson, June Day, Mary Ellen Lounsberry and Christa Clawson.  

Glueck plays the hammered dulcimer and bodhran. His philosophy is “with a desire, you can make music.”

Wilson was introduced to the hammered dulcimer after retiring from teaching. She and her friends decided to get together once a month to play. From once a month they began meeting once a week and formed a group called the Front Porch Players, based in southeast Missouri.

Day was introduced to the mountain dulcimer in 2014 while on a trip to Gatlinburg, Tenn. With a growing passion for the mountain dulcimer, she enjoys playing with various groups and attending jams and festivals.

Lounsbery first picked up a dulcimer back in 1994/1995. At that time, she took a few lessons from Art Reed. She started playing again in 2015. That time she totally fell in love with it and hasn’t stopped since.

Clawson’s bucket list always included learning to play a stringed instrument, and empty-nesting revived that desire. For her, the challenges of learning a new instrument, making new friends and making music with those friends are just “all around good medicine.”  

Anthony Garner

– Noon June 8, Court Square stage

Anthony Garner is a singer/songwriter from the southeast Missouri/northeast Arkansas area who travels and performs professionally in Missouri, Arkansas and Tennessee. He specializes in alternative country/folk/Americana/Southern rock/blues with covers listeners will know and originals they’ll love.

Tapping into his life experiences, Garner’s songs paint a picture of times past and spur on thoughts of simpler things and self-reflection.

With influences ranging from Appalachian to Cajun, Garner is sure to strike up a tune to draw on listeners’ nostalgia and get their feet tapping. 

Ozark Hellbenders

– 5 p.m. June 8, Court Square stage

The Ozark Hellbenders band consists of Gordon Johnston, Randy Aufdembrinke and CD Scott.

The band has gone through many transitions in name and members throughout the years. The outfit’s members describe themselves as a “very eclectic band playing older rock and roll, country, bluegrass, Celtic music and gospel music.”

Johnston plays a very soulful piano and sings, Aufdembrinke plays rhythm guitar and sings and Scott plays guitar, mandolin and sings. The current members have also penned many songs.

Julie Henigan

– 5 p.m. June 8, civic center theater

Julie Henigan grew up in Springfield with old-time music virtually on her doorstep. Famed fiddler Art Galbraith lived a block away, the Max Hunter Song Collection was at the nearby library and music parties were just a short drive away. Her other musical influences from the Ozarks include Almeda Riddle, Glenn Ohrlin and Bob Holt.

Known for her unerring command of the distinct, but related, idioms of Southern American and traditional Irish music, say organizers, Henigan sings and plays finger-style guitar, clawhammer banjo, mountain dulcimer and fiddle — instruments she uses for both song accompaniments and solo pieces.

Henigan’s performances have been characterized as “mesmerizing,” her vocals “stunning” and her instrumental work as “absolutely superior.” She has performed solo in the U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom and Ireland, and as a member of a number of Irish and old-time bands, including Missouri Girls with Barbara Weathers and Kim Lansford.

She has shared the stage with a variety of singers and musicians, including Tom Paley, Chirps Smith and Irish super-group Altan. The author of two Mel Bay books on open-tuned finger-style guitar, Henigan has a highly-lauded CD on the Waterbug label “American Stranger.”


– 2 p.m. June 7, civic center theater

Bo Brown brings his group to West Plains. The band formed in 2000, playing regular gigs in southwest Missouri. The band’s music is self-described as “hickadelic jazz grass.”

One More Dollar

– 2 p.m. June 8, Court Square stage

“Southern Missouri multi-instrumental folk musicians Robert Adkison, Alisha Thomas and Jeremy Myers are no strangers to the Ozarks’ music scene,” say promoters. “Having performed all over the Ozarks throughout the years, they’ve crafted their driving style of fiddle, banjo, guitar, and cello into an unusual sound bordering on a new music genre. Some call it folk. Some call it Americana. We call it Ozarkana.” 

Duane Porterfield 

– 1 p.m. June 7, Court Square stage

– 3 p.m. June 7, civic center theater

Duane Porterfield is a musician with a passion for old time folk instruments and music. He is the current Arkansas State Old Time Banjo Champion in the senior division, a former National Mountain Dulcimer Champion and the recipient of several other awards and acknowledgements.

As a boy in the fifth grade, his parents bought him a K-Mart guitar promising, “If you stick with it, we’ll get you a better one.” He stuck with it, and a few months later, was presented with his first “real” guitar. Playing along with cassette tapes of The Eagles, John Denver and The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, he soon discovered a love for the sound of acoustic stringed instruments. Eventually he would form a string band, Hardtack, with his older brother Dennis and Les Crider, the man who first taught him to play Wildwood Flower on the guitar. For several years they played fairs and festivals in the area.

In 1997, Porterfield entered the Mountain Music Shop in Shawnee, Kan., and was introduced to the mountain dulcimer. He recalled as a young child watching his great-grandfather strumming on a similar stringed box with a stick and feather. Porterfield left the music shop that day with his first mountain dulcimer, failing to realize the impact this instrument would have on his life.

“The mountain dulcimer has been the medicine that relieves my headache, has taken me back to a simpler time, and has introduced me to some of my closest friends,” he says.

Living in Mtn. View, Ark., since 2013, he remains involved in its rich music heritage. When not performing, or instructing workshops, he may be found at the Dulcimer Shoppe there, helping to create the McSpadden Mountain Dulcimer.

Shortleaf Band w/Lonnie Jones 

– 5 p.m. June 7, civic center theater

– 6 p.m. June 8, Court Square stage

The Shortleaf Band is a duet based in the Southern Missouri Ozarks. Michael and Tenley Fraser have immersed themselves into the culture and traditional music of the Scots-Irish who became the first to settle the region.

Michael, an original member of the Shortleaf Band was instrumental in the founding of the Old-Time Music, Ozarks Heritage Festival. He served as an apprentice to the late Bob Holt of Ava, learning how to

perform Ozarks square dance music on the fiddle. He is also the author of the CD titled “Fiddles and Forests” that was produced by the Missouri Department of Conservation, as well as musical director on the CD “Voices of the Hills” also produced by MDC.

Tenley is a former musical stage performer who has moved into the folk music genre. She lived in Kansas City most of her life and has been performing for The Shortleaf Band since 2005. A singer/songwriter with a folksy alto voice, she plays keyboards, guitar, fiddle and mandolin.

The pair will be joined by bassist Lonnie Jones as they perform on a variety of stringed instruments including fiddle, guitar and mandolin to weave a musical tapestry showcasing traditional and contemporary music from the Ozarks.

Seth Shumate 

– 2 p.m. June 7, Court Square stage

– 4 p.m. June 7, civic center theater

– 4 p.m. June 8, Court Square stage

Seth Shumate is an old-time harmonica player with a particular passion for playing fiddle tunes and pre-war solo harmonica masterpieces. He will be joined by Clarke Buehling on banjo and Andrew Larson on guitar and harmonica.

Buehling is a renowned 19th-century style banjo player from Arkansas. He has performed and recorded extensively, both solo and with bands, and is also a banjo historian and educator. Larson is the proud son of Swedish immigrants and a highly accomplished harmonica player.

The show will feature a variety of group and solo performances interspersed with comic relief.

“Persons whose curiosities abound may find the aforementioned gentlemen at their respective harmonica and banjo workshops,” promoters invite.

Lyal Strickland 

– 1 p.m. June 7, civic center theater

– 4 p.m. June 7, Court Square stage

Missouri Ozarks songwriter Lyal Strickland writes about the world he lives in: A little tough sometimes, doggedly inspiring at others, but absolutely real. Strickland doubles as a working farmer so there’s no shortage of inspiration in the delicate balance of legacy, pride and struggle defining his hometown of Buffalo, Mo.


– 3 p.m. June 8, civic center theater

Stringfield is a truly unique band with many variations, their repertoire includes old-time, Celtic, contemporary, Christmas and original. They have played festivals, concerts, local events and weddings.

Victoria Johnson hails from Springfield. Besides the hammered dulcimer, she plays the guitar, Celtic fiddle and her newest instrument, the Swedish nyckelharpa. She has won the southwest regional competition, Oklahoma State on the dulcimer, and has traveled to Japan in 2003 to play at the Isaseki Bon Festival.

Gail Morissey is from Hollister. She plays hammered dulcimer and the concertina. She won the southwest regional competition and an honorable mention at the national competition. She also traveled to Japan to play at the Isaseki Bon Festival.

Lynn Scott is from Springfield. She has recently joined Stringfield in getting ready for the Old-Time Music, Ozarks Heritage Festival. She and her husband Steve play for local dances and are active in the old-time community. Her instrument is the tenor guitar. 

The Creek Rocks 

– 6 p.m. June 7, Court Square stage

– 1 p.m. June 8, Court Square stage

The Creek Rocks are a folk group from the Ozarks led by banjoist Cindy Woolf and guitarist Mark Bilyeu. These longtime musical collaborators worked together on Cindy’s three CDs of original songs starting in 2005, then got married in 2013 and established The Creek Rocks in 2015. Mark is a founding member of the Ozarks family band Big Smith, who toured and recorded for 16 years.

Their debut release, “Wolf Hunter,” is a collection of 16 folk songs from the Ozarks, drawn from the collections of folklorists Max Hunter of Springfield, Mark’s hometown; and John Quincy Wolf of Batesville, Arkansas, where Cindy grew up.

Woolf is well-known for her singular singing voice and enchanting performances of her original songs, Bilyeu for his distinct guitar sound and clever turn of phrase. Together they perform a mix of Ozark-inspired original songs and truly unique arrangements of traditional Ozark folksongs, from the fun and frivolous anthems of the hills to the hair-raising and harrowing ballads of the dark holler.

AMVETS Post 98 Soggy Bottom Boys

Cameo appearances:

– Noon June 7, civic center theater stage,

– 5 p.m. June 7, Court Square stage

– 3 p.m. June 8, Court Square stage

The Soggy Bottom Boys is a karaoke group of veterans who say they really excel at the one song in particular they will perform.

The group’s members are, Mark Adkerson, major of the U.S. Army, lead vocalist; William Hatcher, sergeant of the U.S. Army; Jayman Palmer of the U.S. Marines; Dennis Cozort, staff sergeant of the U.S. Army; Randy Morgan, sergeant first class of the U.S. Army; and Michael Gelsinger, petty officer first class of the U.S. Navy.

Headliners for this year’s Old-Time Music, Ozark Heritage Festival are C J Newsom’s Classic Country from Branson with Terry Wayne Sanders who will perform at 8PM on Friday, June 7. Big Smith will perform at 8PM on Saturday, June 8. Both performances will be held in the Theater at the West Plains Civic Center. 

The Old-Time Music, Ozark Heritage Festival, to be held from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. June 7 and 8, is the signature event for West Plains. The festival seeks to celebrate, preserve, pass on and nurture an appreciation of the old-time music and folk life traditions distinctive to the Ozark Highlands.

2024 festival partners include the West Plains Council on the Arts, the City of West Plains, the Ozark Heritage Welcome Center, West Plains Civic Center and Missouri State University-West Plains. Partial funding for the event is provided by the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency. Additional support has been provided by Missouri Humanities and Missouri Department of Tourism.

For more information on the festival email info@westplainsarts.org, visit the website at www.oldtimemusic.org or follow @old.time.music.festival on Facebook.

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