Country Music Association of Texas Hall of Famer Leon Rausch will headline a special tribute to Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys at the Llano Country Opry on Saturday, March 8, at the Lantex Theater in downtown Llano.
Tickets are on sale at the Llano Chamber of Commerce, Llano National Bank, Lively Computers in Kingsland and KNEL in Brady. Tickets are $12.00 each. The show begins at 7:30 pm. Tickets can be reserved by calling (325) 247-5354.
Born in Missouri, Rausch played several instruments from an early age and began performing with his father at local dances and fairs. After World War II, Rausch returned to Springfield and began concentrating on his performing career.
Rausch moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 1955, to work more dances and shows. On St. Patrick’s Day in 1958, Bob Wills asked Rausch to become a Texas Playboy as lead vocalist. Rausch became the first permanent lead vocalist for Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys since Tommy Duncan left the band a decade earlier.
Rausch recorded several outstanding songs while working with Wills including “San Antonio Rose” “My Confession” “Deep Water” “Bubbles In My Beer” “Big Balls In Cowtown” “Time Changes Everything” “Cherokee Maiden” and “Faded Love.”
Rausch worked for Wills through the sixties, as well for younger brother Johnnie Lee Wills from 1962-1964. After Wills retired, Rausch formed his own New Texas Playboys and began recording for the Longhorn Label. When Wills was coaxed out of retirement for his “last sessions” in 1973, Rausch came back on board as lead vocalist and continued to perform with the revised Texas Playboys throughout the seventies and eighties.
Today Rausch still headlines the Bob Wills Day in Turkey, Texas, and performs in several overseas dates promoting Texas for the Texas Tourist Bureau. He has just released a new live album with the remaining Texas Playboys and is one of the most awarded country music entertainers in Texas.
The first half of the Llano Country Opry will feature a variety of great local and up and coming talent including Leyla Fences, Benny Fred Kothmann, Ben Watson, Bode Barker, Sammy Geistweidt, Charlie Walton, Shane Lively and Bucille Snotgrass. Tracy Pitcox will MC the show.
“We have already had an incredible year,” piano player Bode Barke said. “We are excited about the line up for the rest of the year including Moe Bandy, Asleep At The Wheel, Darrell McCall, Quebe Sisters and so many more.”