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Music Notes - October

Matthew Davidson

Debuts Step Up

New from young Shreveport guitar picker Matthew Davidson is Step Up, a four-song CD with three cover songs and one, the title song, of his own.

Davidson is 14-year-old blues-rocker who’s already played AlleyFest in Longview, the T-Bone Walker BlueFestival in Linden, the B.B. King Homecoming concert in Indianola, Mississippi, the Delta Blues Fest in Greenville, Mississippi, and more.

He won his first electric guitar in the 2007 James Burton Guitar Showdown and was one of eight student guitarists selected to play with Kenny Wayne Shepherd at the 2009 Artbreak Concert.

His influences range from his dad Alan’s CD collection – The Beatles, Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Doobie Brothers, ZZ Top, Jimi Hendrix, Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry – and others including Joe Bonamassa and John Mayer.

For more information, go to www.MatthewDavidson.net.

Bluegrass Plans in Place
at Dogwood Jamboree

Dogwood Jamboree has a long history of presenting classic country music in Palestine, and it’s planning a special show for October 27 in conjunction with the Hot Pepper Festival.

The lineup for the “Autumn Country” show includes jamboree producer Dan Manuel.

“This show is different and will leave the audience with wonderful memories” Manuel said.

He’s also added, in response to audience requests, some bluegrass: The Coleman Brothers from Longview and The Sowell Family Pickers from Houston.

On the schedule with Manuel will be regulars including Mandy Seale, Sissy Perry, Shelia Wheat, George Lester, and Mike Kellogg plus a return performance by Joe Hancock. Comedians Dean Robertson and Flo also are on the bill.

The ongoing talent search contest will feature three young performers, one of whom will advance to the December 8 finals.

Manuel expects a big audience, citing chartered buses from several cities and numerous out-of-state ticket buyers as the jamboree nears completion of its eighth year.

Advance tickets for adults are $12.50. They’re $15 at the door. Children younger than five years get in free and tickets are $6 for children eight to 10.

It begins at 7 p.m. at the Palestine Civic Center, Hwy. 19 at Loop 256. For more information, call 903.729.7080

Bellamy Brothers Help
Raise Canton ISD $$$

One of country music’s most enduring groups, the Bellamy Brothers, with a dozen #1 singles, come to Canton High School’s 1,100-seat Larry Davis Auditorium on Nov. 3 to help raise funds for students. All proceeds will be divided among the Canton ISD campuses to directly benefit the students.

As part of the new CISD leadership program, Eagle Vision, students will also be the opening act, greeters, and ushers the night of the show. CHS students will also design and produce the pre-show advertisements for corporate sponsors.

Howard and David Bellamy have toured more than 65 countries and released 52 albums.

The show’s at 7 p.m. Tickets are $30 each at the CISD Administration Building, 225 W. Elm, and at www.cantonisd.net. For more information, call 903.567.4179.

Reo Palm Isle is Back
with Longview Music

Juan Ruiz is on a mission to restore the Reo Palm Isle Ballroom to its glory days as one of the oldest, most well known clubs in the Upper East Side of Texas.

The Longview club first opened in 1935, promising to be the “largest and most elaborate night club in the South,” and boasted a 3,000-square-foot dance floor that could accommodate 1,500 cozy couples.

Eddy Duchin and the New York Central Park Casino Orchestra performed at the grand opening; other performers over the years included Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Louis Armstrong, and Bob Wills, and in more modern times Elvis Presley, Jim Reeves, Ray Price, Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard, Loretta Lynn, Jerry Lee Lewis, Willie Nelson, and many more.

In 1976, Texas Monthly magazine named the Reo Palm Isle as the best dance hall in Texas.

But the club finally ran out of steam, closing for about a year until it opened again last January. Ruiz took over the lease by himself in April and began to bring the club back, featuring hip hop on Thursday nights and Mexican music on Friday nights. Sometimes it’s live music; sometimes DJs.

This summer, Ruiz brought back country music on Saturday nights.

Right now, because of parking restrictions, the club is limited to 650 occupants at any one time. That’s something Ruiz hopes to fix. “We plan to have bigger acts as the occupancy limit goes up, plus local talent, Texas country, and a big name whenever we can.”

Ruiz calls KYKX in Longview a partner for helping bring in some of the newer Texas country, and Tom Perryman at KKUS in Tyler to help promote to the traditional country crowd. “I hope people support our format, and as long as they do we’ll be around,” Ruiz said.

Perryman and his wife, Billie, originally began promoting and booking at the Reo Palm Isle in the early 1950s when he worked with artists at the old Louisiana Hayride.

“Everybody I knew and played their records, I’d book them there. Billie would sell the tickets, and we’d add everything up and split it at the end of the night.“Elvis came several times. He got his start in East Texas and the Hayride.”
Perryman often booked the club on Friday nights.

“We always had a great big band, a full country band with 10 or 12 pieces with horns and all,” he said. “On Friday nights, some of those single acts weren’t working too much, so I had several pretty big names in there. I got Al Dexter with ‘Pistol Packin’ Mama’ down there on a Friday night with the band. That night after the show, the old Reo Palm Isle burned down. Later, the owners built back the one that’s there now.”

Perryman is glad to see the ballroom open again. “Ruiz decided – along with the radio station in Longview and the Ranch here in Tyler – to join in and start doing things in there. KYKX is doing the Texas music, and I’m going to do some with big swing bands and other things. We’re going to put some things with that like we had back then. Ray Price and George Jones were there many times. And Fats Domino.

“We hope to do great things again at the Reo. I’m glad to be a part of what they are doing over there. And a lot of the younger people will like it, too.”  — Tom Geddie

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