Greetings my Loyal Reader(s), and welcome to the latest edition of the Branson Beat, your home for all the news on the Branson entertainment scene.
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Crystal Gayle performs Christmas show Wednesday at Bandstand
Country music hitmaker Crystal Gayle will take the stage at Dick Clark’s American Bandstand Theater Wednesday night as Up Close Concerts presents a special Christmas show.
“This show will be a perfect mix of her greatest hits and Christmas favorites,” said Up Close Concerts and Promoter Bob Cannella.
The youngest of eight children and little sister to country superstar Loretta Lynn, Gayle had her own musical aspirations growing up watching her sister. She even joined Lynn on the road and was pulled onstage for a couple of songs. Before graduating from high school, Gayle signed her first contract with Decca Records.
Gayle scored her first success in 1974 with “Wrong Road Again,” followed by her first No. 1 “I’ll Get Over You.” After cutting a few albums and finding her own “middle of the road” style, Gayle charted a few more hits before she became a history-making artist in 1977 with the mega-hit “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue.”
The song was such a phenomenon and sold so many copies it helped Gayle become the first female country artist to ever be certified platinum.
“I’m not one to really look back on things like that, but it’s nice,” she said with a humble laugh. “I had a good family growing up and we always had enough ... that helps to keep things in perspective.”
Gayle was a worldwide draw and toured with Kenny Rogers and Bob Hope, where she became the first person to tape a performance on the Great Wall of China. Between 1978 and 1987, Gayle tallied another 15 No. 1 hits including “Talking in Your Sleep,” “It’s Like We Never Said Goodbye,” “Why Have You Left the One You Left Me For” and “Half the Way.” Gayle won back-to-back female vocalist honors from the Academy of Country Music in 1976 and 1977 and from the Country Music Association in 1977 and 1978.
For the last 20 years, Gayle has gotten noticed for albums featuring gospel, children’s music, a tribute to Hoagy Carmichael, a collection of pop standards, and concert recordings.
With Gayle’s influence and songs still relevant to many current country artists, the Country Music Hall of Fame even featured an exhibit dedicated to Gayle in 2014.
Showtime is 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Dick Clark American Bandstand Theater.
The final Up Close Concerts show of the season is set for Dec. 4 at Dick Clark’s American Bandstand Theater when Lee Greenwood returns for a Christmas show.
Greenwood is the man responsible for “God Bless the USA,” which has been in the Top 5 on the country singles charts three times, in 1991, 2001 and 2003, giving it the distinction of being the only song in any genre of music to achieve that feat. It was also No. 1 on the pop charts after 9-11. He also took home the Country Music Association Song of the Year honor as the writer of “God Bless the U.S.A.” that year.
In addition to “God Bless the U.S.A.,” Greenwood has a string of hits including “Ring on Her Finger, Time on Her Hands,” “It Turns Me Inside Out,” “Somebody’s Gonna Love You,” “Holdin’ A Good Hand,” “I Don’t Mind the Thorns (If You’re the Rose),” “She’s Lyin’” and “Dixie Road.”
Shows set for 2020 at Dick Clark’s American Bandstand Theater include Amy Grant March 8, Ronnie McDowell with two special shows April 1, as well as Wink Martindale April 2 as part of the Branson Elvis Festival, Pat Boone and Billy Dean on Mother’s Day, May 10, 2020, and Janie Fricke with special guests Moore & Moore on June 21.
Phil Vassar and Billy Yates will perform at the Welk Resort Theatre March 28, 2020, followed by Michael W. Smith May 9, then Jay and the Americans and BJ Thomas Oct. 17.
Finally, on Oct. 24, 2020, the Welk Resort Theatre will host the final Up Close Concert in Branson featuring a “60s Supershow” starring Gary Lewis and the Playboys, Mitch Ryder, Dennis Tufano, Brian Hyland and Chris Montez.
“We still have a few more concerts to announce for next year and it will be a blast,” Cannella added.
For more information, visit upcloseconcerts.com.
Nathan Carter wraps Branson run Tuesday
Nathan Carter, billed as “Ireland’s top entertainer,” is set to wrap his Branson run at the Mickey Gilley Grand Shanghai Theater Tuesday afternoon. Carter also announced he’d be back in Branson next year with shows set for Nov. 12 through 16, 2020.
As a young man in Liverpool, Carter leaned to play the accordion, and made many trips to Ireland to compete in Fleadh Ceoil, an Irish music festival. By the age of 12, Carter snagged All Ireland medals for singing, and the accordion, and soon became a member of the Liverpool Ceili band. Solo performances soon followed in Liverpool and Ireland.
On a trip to Donegal in 2009, Carter met with songwriter John Farry, and “the rest, as they say, is history.” According to his website, Carter has outsold One Direction, Pharrell Williams and Michael Buble in Ireland. He also became only the second country act to reach No. 1 on the Irish charts, following Garth Brooks, who accomplished the feat six years earlier.
I caught Carter’s show Thursday afternoon, and it was extremely entertaining. Carter’s personality and talent are on full display, and his song selection is a great mix of original tunes, Irish standards, and of course, some stellar classic country tunes.
I can’t remember the last time I heard someone sing “Almost Persuaded” on a Branson stage, and I loved it.
Carter is joined by a full six-piece band, Chloe Agnew, Chloë Agnew, former star of “Celtic Woman.” Do yourself a favor and check them out while you still can.
Showtimes are 8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, and 3 p.m. Tuesday.
Visit nathancartermusic.com for more.
Choices Concert Series features Tim Rushlow, Ricochet
Billy Yates’ Choices Concert Hall in Branson is hosting back-to-back weekends featuring special concert events. Saturday at 7:30 p.m., former Little Texas frontman Tim Rushlow takes the stage followed by the Record Store Troubadours at 9:30 p.m. Next Saturday, Nov. 23, the band Ricochet will take the Choices stage, also followed by the Record Store Troubadours at 9:30 p.m.
Little Texas’ first single, “Some Guys Have All the Love,” hit No. 8 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks charts in 1991, and they were off and running.
The band’s first album, “First Time for Everything,” spawned five Top 10 hits, including the title track, “You and Forever and Me,” “What Were You Thinking,” and “I’d Rather Miss You.”
Little Texas reached superstar status with the release of the follow-up album, “Big Time,” which has sold more than 3 million copies to date. “What Might Have Been” and “God Blessed Texas” were Top 5 hits, while “My Love” earned the group its first No. 1 hit. Hits from the third album, “Kick a Little” and “Amy’s Back In Austin,” were Top 10 hits and the band grabbed two more Grammy nominations before releasing a greatest-hits package. 1994 also brought the group an Academy of Country Music Award for “Vocal Group of the Year.”
Rushlow will take the stage at 7:30 p.m.
At 9:30 p.m., the Record Store Troubadours will take the stage. Fronted by the husband and wife team of Eric and Lindsey Heatherly, the Record Store Troubadours take the stage every weekend to perform their own retro set list, which they say is perfect for “dancin’ in Branson,” especially since Choices boasts the area’s largest dance floor.
For you folks who want to venture out and have more fun after the shows, the Record Store Troubadours are perfect.
The Record Store Troubadours perform at 9:30 p.m. every Friday and Saturday night, as well as 7 p.m. every Sunday.
Next Saturday, hitmakers Ricochet, featuring “Nashville Nights” standout Heath Wright on lead vocals, will perform at Choices.
In 1996 the members of country group Ricochet watched their debut single, “What Do I Know,” skyrocket into the Top 5, earning the band the honor of the highest charting debut single of the year. Their follow up single, the massively popular “Daddy’s Money,” became an immediate hit, capturing the No. 1 spot on the Radio & Records Country Singles Chart, the Gavin Country Singles Chart and the Billboard Country Singles Chart, where it stayed at the top for two weeks.
Ricochet is the only the only country artist to ever chart “The Star-Spangled Banner,” and is in constant demand to perform it live.
They have performed the anthem for our men and women in uniform at NASCAR Sprint Cup races, Major League Baseball, National Football League, National Hockey League, PBR and PRCA Professional Rodeo events and more. Wright and the boys in Ricochet also performed as part of several USO tours.
Pick up a copy of next week’s Branson This Week publication for more on Wright and Ricochet. Visit choicesconcerthall.com, or call 417-320-6242.
Silver Dollar City in the running for Best in the nation
In a new nationwide poll launched by USA Today’s 10Best Travel site, 1880’s theme park Silver Dollar City’s An Old Time Christmas is named as one of 20 nominees in the running for Best Theme Park Holiday Event.
Voting is now underway, with the poll open through 10:59 a.m. Central on Monday, Dec. 2.
Since its debut more than three decades ago, Silver Dollar City’s An Old Time Christmas has become one of the country’s most recognized events for spectacular lighting and entertainment.
The festival has been profiled as one of the top holiday celebrations by USA Today, CNN Travel, The Travel Channel and Good Morning America.
With 6.5 million lights and features, including an all-new 8-story special effects Christmas tree part of the new “Joy on Town Square” experience, the intensely lighted Christmas In Midtown, the park has gone all out this year.
As always, the park will feature several live entertainment options as Silver Dollar City’s “A Dickens’ Christmas Carol” and “It’s A Wonderful Life,” both original, Broadway-style productions, return for another season. Other entertainment options include Santa Claus Lane, the Sing-Along Steam Train, Rudolph’s Christmas Town with crafts and activities, a talking Christmas tree at Tinker Junior’s Toy Shop, and even a holiday-themed Saloon show.
Rudolph’s Holly Jolly Christmas Light Parade, led by “the most famous reindeer of all, returns with nine musical, lighted floats designed exclusively for Silver Dollar City with animated features all illuminated with 200,000 ultra-bright LED lights.