Dixie Dawn to Open Mountain Home Music Fall Season in Blowing Rock on Saturday

Published Thursday, October 1, 2015 at 3:06 pm

“Who’s Gonna Fill their Shoes?”

That is the question on the minds of David Johnson and the legendary country band, Dixie Dawn, as they kick off the Joe Shannon’s Mountain Home Music’s Fall Concert Season on Saturday night, Oct. 3 at the Blowing Rock School Auditorium.

Dixie Dawn pic

Dixie Dawn

The doors open at 7 p.m. and this much anticipated Dixie Dawn concert begins at 7:30 p.m. Johnson and the band always pick a theme for their special JSMHM yearly performance, and with the loss this past year of some of Country Music’s biggest stars, they decided to pay tribute to many of their musical heroes.

Johnson, who lives down the mountain in beautiful Purlear, said of the show – “The theme this year is 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.”  Johnson went on to explain, “One stage and one show couldn’t hold the special people and songs that have given America its history of classic country music since the inception of the Grand Ole Opry. But we have picked out some of the ones that we liked best and I’ll bet the audience will know almost every word of the songs. There will be songs by Ray Price, George Jones, Buck Owens, Patsy Cline, Faron Young, Little Jimmy Dickens and many others.”

Dixie Dawn formed in 1981, and is comprised of the “faithful five” – Darrel Bryant, Billy Smith, Ronnie Black, Kevin Rash and Johnson. 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. Dixie Dawn was the house band at a family-style entertainment establishment and they were favorites at Merlefest in Wilkesboro for several 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 show 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.

JSMHM director Rodney Sutton 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.”

As they often do, Dixie Dawn has invited a young emerging artist to join them for this JSMHM show. Retha Davis is from the Catawba area and is the daughter of Benny and Barbara Benfield (known in gospel circles as The Benfields). Johnson stated, “Benny Benfield gave me one of my first professional jobs working with him on television for the Bill Hefner Country Style Roundup on WBTV in the late 1960’s.  His family and mine have always been close particularly in the music scene. 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. Last Christmas we invited Retha to come be with us on a future show and this JSMHM concert on Saturday night worked out.  She 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.”

“As far as Dixie Dawn goes, we play in different groupings several times throughout the year but not as much 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”, Johnson added.

JSMHM director Rodney Sutton exclaimed, “Mountain Home Music is excited to return to Blowing Rock for many of 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: Bob Goddard and Bonnie Guy, T. C. Farthing Family, Dr. E. Frank and Tara Hancock, Lynn Hubbard, Merida H. Steele – In Honor of John H. Steele, and The Estate of Joe Shannon. . Business sponsors include; Advanced Realty, Boone TDA, The Dulcimer Shop, The Mast General Store, Mountain Times Publishing, and WETS-89.5FM. 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.com). 

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 at www.mountainhomemusic.com. Tickets may also be purchased at the Mast General Store (Boone and Valle Crucis), Fred’s Mercantile on Beech Mountain, Stick Boy Bread Company(345 Hardin St, Boone), and Pandora’s Mailbox and the Dulcimer Shop, both in the Martin House on Main Street in downtown Blowing Rock.

The Blowing Rock School Auditorium is located at 130 Sunset Drive, Blowing Rock, NC. Directions and more info can be found at the JSMHM website – www.mountainhomemusic.com/



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