The Llano Country Opry will be staged at the Lantex Theater in downtown Llano, on Saturday, July 12. The show begins at 7:30 PM and admission is $15.00 per person.
Grand Ole Opry legend Stonewall Jackson will headline the monthly show. Jackson was one of the most popular country stars of the early ‘60s, scoring a string of Top Ten country hits and becoming a fixture at the Grand Ole Opry
With a pleading voice that seemed to reflect his hard, often abusive upbringing on a south Georgia dirt farm. He was named after the Confederate general Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, to whom he was related according to family legend. When he was ten he traded his bike for a guitar and began making up songs.
Some of his later hits, such as “Don’t Be Angry,” were written very early in his creative life. Jackson began singing professionally in the mid-’50s, moving to Nashville in 1956.
Within a few days of his arrival he delivered an unsolicited demonstration recording to the offices of the Acuff-Rose publishing house, and executive Wesley Rose heard his recorded singing and set up an audition for Jasckson at the Grand Ole Opry. He became the first entertainer to join the Opry without a recording contract, performing first on the Opry’s Friday Night Frolics before his official debut. Backed by Ernest Tubb’s Texas Troubadours he proved so popular that the audience demanded four encores.
Eventually Jackson hit the road with Tubb, who became a mentor to the young singer and songwriter. By early 1957, Jackson had signed a recording contract with Columbia Records and cut his first record, “Don’t Be Angry.” Jackson followed up with a cover of George Jones’ “Life to Go,” which peaked at number two in early 1959. The upbeat “Waterloo,” with its mixture of novelty and melancholy, did even better, spending five weeks at the top of the country charts, hitting number four on the pop charts, and garnering Jackson some national television exposure.
Through the early ‘60s Jackson was a consistent hitmaker with such country standards as “Why I’m Walkin’” (number six, 1960), “A Wound Time Can’t Erase” (number three, 1962), and “I Washed My Hands in Muddy Water” (number eight, 1965). Jackson’s second number one hit, “B.J. the D.J.,” arrived in early 1964.
During the second half of the ‘60s, he reached Top 40 less often, scoring only one Top Ten hit: 1967’s “Stamp Out Loneliness”. His Columbia albums of this period contained ornate wordplay from the pens of well-established Nashville writers like Vic McAlpin; songs such as “Ship in a Bottle” and “Nevermore Quote the Raven” applied literary virtuosity to traditional country themes. Jackson bounced back in 1971 with a cover of Lobo’s “Me and You and a Dog Named Boo.”
In 1973, he had his last hit with “Herman Schwartz,” which reached number 41. After that, Jackson continued to appear regularly on the Opry and to record occasionally, releasing albums like the inspirational Make Me Like a Child Again. He also re-recorded versions of his old hits, and he privately published his autobiography, From the Bottom Up, in 1991.
“I am looking forward to working the Llano Country Opry,” Jackson said from his Nashville home. “It has been a long time since I have been to that area and I can’t wait to entertain the friends down there.”
The Blackland Farmer Frankie Miller will also be featured. Miller, born in Victoria, Texas, recorded for Columbia and Starday Records and maintained chart presence with songs like “The Blackland Farmer” “A Little South of Memphis” “Family Man” and “Baby Rocked Her Dolly.” He is a member of the Country Music Association of Texas Hall of Fame.
Other entertainers on the show will include Justin Trevino, McKenzie Jones, Rance Norton, Jeff Croy, Bode Barker, Charlie Walton, Bucille Snotgrass and Sammy Geistweidt. Tracy Pitcox will MC the show.
“We are excited to bring this Country Music icon to the Llano Country Opry,” MC Tracy Pitcox said. “Over half of our advance tickets have already been sold. It should be a great performance.”
For more information about the Llano Country Opry, log on to www.heartoftexascountry.com.
The Llano Chamber of Commerce’s number for tickets is (325) 247-5354.