Tiny Reilly Springs Once Attracted Early Country Music Greats



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On October 1, 1956, the tiny community of Reilly Springs, Texas, put on the Reilly Springs Jamboree in the local schoolhouse. It would become one of the first live music venues that sparked national and even international interest in the budding country music industry.

Reilly Springs was perhaps an ideal place for a live music stage. It is about half way between Texarkana, Texas, and Dallas, Texas (about 100 miles from either city). Not only could music lovers easily congregate there, but the proximity also was convenient for traveling musical artists.

Brothers Bob and Joe Attlesey, natives of the town, had returned from a successful stint as country entertainers. Bob played guitar and fiddle, and Joe provided guitar and mandolin, and both sang. The brothers changed their name to the better known "Shelton Brothers" for commercial reasons.

They invited many country music stars to the stage and the show was broadcast on Saturday nights from KSST in Sulphur Springs, located nine miles away. Those artists included some of the great country music performers of all time: George Jones, Johnny Cash, June Carter and the Carter Family,  Johnny Horton, Ernest Tubb, Stringbean, Al Dexter, and Roger Miller.

The original show closed in 1965, but the community revived it with local talent in 2009, although show dates are infrequent.

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