With the passing this past year of Dr. Ralph Stanly and Merle Haggard, the list of empty shoes to be filled in country music continues to grow. So, when asked what theme the legendary local country band, Dixie Dawn would pick for their annual Joe Shannon’s Mountain Home Music concert, David Johnson did not hesitate – “Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes – Volume 2”, he replied! The show will take place at the Blowing Rock School Auditorium this Saturday night, October 1st at 7:30pm.
Johnson explained, “The theme this year is again based on the song ‘Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes’ by George Jones, who ironically passed away himself not long ago after lamenting the loss of so many country artists over the last few years. Last fall’s concert paid tribute to many of these performers and recording artists that gave true country music its “heyday” from the 1950’s through the 1970’s. Since there were numerous requests for more of this timeless material, Dixie Dawn decided to present Volume 2”. Johnson continued, “We will bring back memories of country at its best with songs of George Jones, Tammy Wynette, Marty Robbins, Sonny James, Del Reeves, Dottie West, Hank Williams, and of course the recently departed Dr. Stanley and The Hag. You will want to sing along on most of these tunes as the memories of country music’s greatest years and greatest performers once again take us back in time.”
Dixie Dawn is not just some pick-up band. They were formed in 1981, and in its heyday, the group enjoyed playing at premier tourist attractions in North Carolina as well as opening for top names in country music, such as Alabama and the Oak Ridge Boys. They gained many avid fans from the time they were the house band at a local family-style entertainment establishment and they were featured at Merlefest in Wilkesboro for many years. Although they’ve played some of everything, the band now only plays the music they love; classic country, gospel, bluegrass, and 50’s rock and roll. With their diverse musical concerts filled with medleys, comedy, great playing and singing, they put on a show that continues to have a following of loyal fans from all over the South. This years Dixie Dawn features their faithful five – Darrel Bryant on guitars, banjo, and piano; Ronnie Black on guitars, mandolin and vocals; Kevin Rash on drums; Billy Smith on electric bass and vocals; and David Johnson on pedal steel, guitars, fiddle, and vocals.
Once again, Dixie Dawn has invited Retha Davis, a young emerging artist to join them for this JSMHM show. She is from the Catawba area and is the daughter of Benny and Barbara Benfield (known in gospel circles as The Benfields). Johnson stated, “I watched Retha grow up and have enjoyed hearing her sing with her family for years. Dixie Dawn has done an annual Christmas Show with the Benfields in the Statesville area for about the last 20 years or so. Davis will be singing a Patsy Cline song or two, and even a couple of songs ordinarily associated male artists like Hank Williams and Keith Whitley.”
Rodney Sutton, director of JSMHM stated – “The Dixie Dawn concert is consistently one of our best attended shows each season. David Johnson and his band-mates never disappoint our audiences and no two shows are ever the same.” Sutton added, “These guys are superb musicians and singers and they use this annual JSMHM appearance as an excuse to get together and reminisce as they rehearse for this special concert.
Johnson added, “As far as Dixie Dawn goes, we play in different groupings several times throughout the year but not as the entire country band. So the theme show that we do annually for JSMHM is always a treat for us to see our mountain friends and to share our first love of vintage country music from the 50’s 60’s and 70’s”
Sutton added, “Mountain Home Music is excited to return to Blowing Rock for our Fall Concerts. Joe Shannon always loved to present this Dixie Dawn performance at the Blowing Rock School Auditorium, and David Johnson has played there so many times over the years, that he says it fills like returning home.”
This concert is supported by the following private sponsors: The Ned Trivette Family; Dr. E. Frank and Tara Hancock; Bryce Holder CPA PA; Lynn Hubbard; Michael and Melanie McKee; Merida H. Steele – In Honor of John H. Steele; and The Estate of Joe Shannon. Business Sponsors include; The Mast General Store, Stick Boy Kitchen, Mountain Time Publishing, High Country Press and U-Haul Storage. Additional support is provided by the Boone TDA, Watauga County Arts Council and the North Carolina Art Council. Joe Shannon’s Mountain Home Music is also proud to be included as a site on the Blue Ridge Music Trails of North Carolina (BlueRidgeMusicNC.org).
Tickets cost $18 in advance and $20 at the door. Student tickets are $10. Children 12 and younger are admitted free. Advance tickets may be purchased online and at the Mast General Store (Boone and Valle Crucis), Fred’s Mercantile on Beech Mountain, Stick Boy Bread Company(345 Hardin St, Boone), plus Footsloggers and Pandora’s Mailbox on Main Street in downtown Blowing Rock.
The Blowing Rock School Auditorium is located at 130 Sunset Drive, Blowing Rock, NC. Tickets, directions and more info can be found at the JSMHM website – www.mountainhomemusic.org/
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