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Luke Wilson's column for 1/14/04

A super Saturday night
Roses in wintertime
Toe-tappin' tunes at the Turner
        Turner Center rocks

If you were where I was last Saturday night and would like a brief recap of my take on it, here it is. And if you weren't there, you missed a mighty fine time.

    Some folks say there's nothing to do around here, then when there is something to do, they often don't do it and keep right on saying there ain't nothing to do. Well, there's plenty to do if you there's more to you than just talk.

    I really enjoyed last Saturday's event at the Turner Center in Arcadia, billed as "The Legends of the Grand Ole Opry." The building was over halfway filled, so I wasn't the only one there having a good time. This event was also held a year ago, but with different artists from Nashville.

    This year we saw Jesse McReynolds and The Virginia Boys, Stonewall Jackson and his Minute Men, and headliner Marty Stuart and his Fabulous Superlatives, and they all put on a great show. Originally, Little Jimmy Dickens and Jeannie Seely were slated to appear but Dickens had throat surgery recently and Seely has the flu.

    McReynolds and his band did a fast-moving bluegrass set with tunes such as "Blue Moon of Kentucky," "Hard Hearted," "Carmen," "Kentucky Waltz" and John Prine's ever popular "Paradise." Hailed as the "Master of the Mandolin," he also included an instrumental he composed after taking an inspiring fishing trip on Florida's largest lake and he calls it "Okeechobee Wind." He performed for decades with his late brother Jim, and they were billed as Jim and Jesse and the Virginia Boys. The 74 year-old McReynolds can still perform with lightning fast fingers and sings in a high, clear voice. His grandson, Luke McKnight, also played mandolin alongside him.

    Stonewall Jackson kicked off his set with his hit "Me and You and a Dog Named Boo," a song also made popular by the group Lobo, following it up with such hits as "Don't Be Angry," "Smoke Along the Tracks," and "Waterloo." He shared stories and jokes and really seemed to have a good time performing. Jackson's recordings stretch back to the 1950s and he has charted 52 top 10 hits during his career.

    Marty Stuart may very well be compared to the "Godfather of Soul," James Brown, as "The Hardest Working Man in Show Business." He closed out the evening with one rollicking hit after another, dancing, strutting and clowning around with is equally animated band members. He offered such songs as "The Whiskey Ain't Working Anymore," "Hillbilly Rock," and "Rock Island Line." He also included his favorite Connie Smith song, "Cincinnati, Ohio." Stuart is married to Smith. 

    I found it amazing that two his Fabulous Superlatives hailed from within 20 miles of this very concert, one from Cleveland and one from Zolfo Springs. Both cities are directly in line with Arcadia along Highway 17. And the third band member is from Venice, just two hours away. Stuart should let his band come home more often so we can hear them play!

    I didn't see anyone there having a bad time, even though the concert stretched beyond three hours. During brief intermissions, lots of folks wandered around, visiting with one another, and I was no different. I met up with a classmate of mine that many of y'all know, Kayo Keen, who recently moved back here and will be giving me lots of friendly competition as a columnist with "that other paper in town." At least I HOPE it's friendly! Welcome home, Kayo, you were missed.

    I normally don't do this, but I want to say a special hello to a very nice lady named Edna that I was introduced to by Kayo. She said she reads my columns and I was glad to pose for a photo with her. Thanks, Ms. Edna!

    Marty Stuart closed out the event with the 1960s tune "Draggin' the Line" and folks rushed the stage and really got into it. It was an encore for him, and enjoyed it too. He and Jackson both acknowledged the passing of Johnny Cash, speaking very highly of him and drawing applause. Stuart, a former son in-law of Cash, did one of the Man in Black's lesser known tunes, "The Walls of a Prison" that was well received.

    Acting as emcees were Bill Noel and Jack Welch, of local radio station WZZS, and they did a fine job welcoming everyone and introducing the acts. They announced a number of upcoming events to be staged at the Turner Center, and I hope many of you will take advantage of the fine entertainment heading this way soon.

    I don't work for the Center, nor was I asked to promote it. I just had a great time and wanted to share it with you. I got lots of great photos of each performer, plus an autograph from Marty Stuart. And thanks, Kayo, for taking a photo of me with Marty.

    It is said that God gave us memories so we can have roses in wintertime. Let's make all the good memories we can so that we'll have lots of roses.

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