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So far, the year 2007 has been very eventful, to say the least. But there is a lot more to go which I will share with you below. You may recall from my last newsletter, that in the year 1907, 100 years ago, the State of Oklahoma was born, as was my mother and Gene Autry. And all of these birthdays have had a significant effect on me this year.
1. Album #13
My new CD is now available. It is my second gospel album, titled “Where Could I Go? We recorded it at Studio 7 in Oklahoma City. It was co-produced, engineered and mixed by the Studio 7 manager Dave Copenhaver. I am pleased to report that several of my friends have or will be recording there. The CD includes 12 great gospel favorites such as the title song, Through It All, Where No One Stands Alone, His Hand in Mine, Try a Little Kindness, If That Isn’t Love, One Day at a Time, Why Me, Lord?, He Looked Beyond My Fault, Mansion Over the Hilltop, Supper Time & An Evening Prayer. To order, send an email, a letter or call me and I’ll get it right out to you. For information about all my other CDs, please check out my website.
2. May, 2007
It was a great thrill to be invited to open for LeRoy VanDyke at the Johnny Western Theater in Wichita, Kansas. And a standing ovation at the end of my show did not damage my ego very much. But ole LeRoy still has it. He brought down the house with Just Walk on By and his signature song, The Auctioneer.
3. June, 2007
I send greetings to all my friends who are former students of MIT, that is Murray State College in Tishomingo, OK. The 2007 reunion was wonderful and next year, 2008, will be even greater as we will be celebrating the 100th Birthday of that institution.
The Quail Valley Fun Barn in Winfield, Kansas is truly a fun place to be. My band and I had a sell out crowd in June and we will be back there on December 8 for our annual Cowboy Christmas Ball. For reservations, call 620-221-1894.
The summer festival in Gene Autry, OK was a fund raiser for the museum and a prelude to the big September Festival described below. And we thank all the folks in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma for the warm reception my band and I received at their Tuesdays in the Park Concert Series.
In conjunction with celebrating Gene Autry’s 100th birthday, I was invited again to be in Kenton, Ohio for their annual Gene Autry Days. Kenton is the place where all of Gene’s cap pistols were manufactured.
And I want to compliment the folks in Clinton, Missouri for their ability to regroup rapidly during an historic rain storm and arrange for my band and I to entertain a huge crowd of folks who turned out despite the weather conditions.
4. July, 2007
We do love RV rallys. It was my privilege to entertain the Good Sam Club of Iowa in Amana. And then travel to Forest City, Iowa to sing for the Winnebago/Itasca Annual Convention. This was my 4th consecutive year for the folks in Forest City. I also enjoyed entertaining the Ponca City Newcomers Club as well as the University of Central Oklahoma Athletic Department Banquet.
5. August, 2007
Now for the big news of the year. Martha and I were invited by Mrs. Gene (Jackie) Autry to come to California for a week to be a part of the Gene Autry Fan Club Convention. This was the first convention since 1997 and was held in order to celebrate Gene’s 100th Birthday which will occur on September 29, 2007. Space does not allow me to describe each and every experience but let me name a few. Our base was the Sportsman’s Lodge where Gene liked to go with Monte Hale for breakfast during his retired years. We toured Melody Ranch which Gene built and was the location for filming so many great western movies and TV shows, including Gunsmoke. It is still used as a movie lot. We were invited my Mrs. Autry to tour her and Gene’s home as well as the office of Gene Autry Entertainment. We were her guests in attending an Angels baseball game, the team that Gene started and owned until his death. It was an honor for me to meet and visit with cowboy movie star Monte Hale. We visited Grauman’s Chinese Theater and saw Gene and Champion’s foot(paw)prints and some of Gene’s Stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It was my privilege to entertain the fan club in the Roosevelt Hotel Ballroom, where the first Academy Awards were held in 1923. I was interviewed by both the Westerns Channel and CBS Sunday Morning. Some of the footage from the Western’s Channel is already on the air. The Tribute to Gene Autry by CBS Sunday Morning will be aired on September 23 or September 30. Of course, I don’t know if any of my interview will avoid the “cutting room floor”. It was a fun week with Johnny Western, Lyn Anderson, and many other entertainers. Several photos of our trip are now on my website. Our thanks to Maxine Hansen and Karla Buhlman and others of the Gene Autry Entertainment Staff.
6. September, 2007
If you want to know the “hot bed” of real country music, it must be Nebraska. The Country Music Festival in Hastings, Nebraska drew a huge crowd and we had a ball. Thanks to Tex and Mary Schutz for a well organized and delightful event. And my band and I were treated to an evening of home town hospitality as we entertained the Ponca City Birthday Bash. Coming up on September 22, I’ll be in Smith Center, Kansas at the High School Auditorium for a 7:30pm public show. Come if you can.
And then the big, big, big, celebration of Gene Autry’s 100th Birthday will occur in my home town of Gene Autry, Oklahoma on September 26 – 30. Our special guests will include Riders in the Sky, Johnny Western, James Drury and many other movie/TV stars and entertainers. You will need to call 580-294-3047 for reservations.
7. October, 2007
The first weekend of October, I’ll be at the Red Rock Guest Ranch for a Friday night Chuckwagon Supper Show and then again on Saturday night. If you can join us for lots of great food, fun and cowboy music, call 1-866-FUNGRUB.
Then, my band and I will travel to Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri for our 11th consecutive year to do the Barn Dance. Our dates there are Oct 10 through the 27, but closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. We will do three shows per day, except on Saturdays when we do 4 shows. Our daily shows start at 10:30am but start at 10am on Saturday.
We will do 45 shows and every show will be different as we take requests and always get the folks to do the “Chicken Dance” every day, this being an unforgettable sight. Hope you can join us for part or all of our time at Silver Dollar City.
8. My Health
All summer I thought my pain was Sciatica. But I recently found out that the cup/socket of my artificial hip is loose and must be replace. I have postponed the surgery until Oct 31 so we can fulfill all our bookings in September and October. So on Halloween Day, this ole spook will be in the Presbyterian Hospital in Plano, Texas for a few days, then confined to home for several weeks to recover. But come Spring, I’ll be going strong again. Thanks to all of your for your prayers and good wishers.
For those of you with access to my website, I hope you will check it often as additional bookings will be added now and then. Also on the website you will find information about Martha’s great cookbooks. Thanks again for your support and friendship and hope 2007/2008 is a great year for you and your family.
"The Oklahoma Balladeer"
P.O. Box 350
Ponca City, OK 74602