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Newcomers join in Haggard salute night

Posted on Wednesday, February 28, 2018 at 3:19 pm

Chris Thompson, a newcomer to the open mic stage, sang and accompanied himself on a Fender electric guitar during the most recent performing arts night.
Photo by Ron Hackett

All the rain in the Tennessee Valley over the past week couldn’t dampen anyone’s spirts as folks gathered for the twice-monthly performing arts and open mic show at the Arts Center on Saturday, Feb. 17.

“This is a great environment for people to share their talents with their friends, neighbors and families,” said Arts Center President Ron Hackett.

Host Robert Foster started the show with a trio of country favorites that started with “Almost Home” by Kerry Kurt Phillips. He finished with a pair of tunes by Merle Haggard entitled “Mama’s Hungry Eyes” and “Daddy Frank.”

Randall Mills finally returned to the stage after a long absence. He performed “People are Crazy”, by Billy Currington, “Check Yes or No” by George Strait and “Hotel California” by the Eagles.

Elliott from Petersburg was on a postal theme for the evening that was inspired by Foster, who retired from the U.S. Post Office. His set included “Love Letters in the Sand” by J. Fred Coots and the lyrics by Nick Kenny and Charles Kenny and “Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter” by Fred E. Ahlert and Joe Young.

Newcomer J. D. Honea sang more country favorites while Drew Tucker accompanied him on guitar. Honea’s set included three more Haggard favorites, “Things Ain’t Funny Anymore”, “I’m Always on a Mountain When I Fall” and “What Am I Going to Do with the Rest of My Life.”

Another newcomer, Marty Scott, took the stage to sing three more country favorites. Tucker also accompanied Scott on guitar. Scott’s set included “Cold Beer Conversation” that was made famous by George Strait, “I’m Going to Live Forever” by Billy Joe Shaver and “Making Me Look Again” by Drake White.

The third newcomer of the night was Chris Thompson, who sang and accompanied himself on a Fender electric guitar. His selections included “Dixie Land Delight” by Ronnie Rogers, “One More Last Chance” by Vince Gill and Gary Nicholson and “That’s Alright Now” by Arthur Crudup. The last song is best known as the first single recorded and released by Elvis Presley.

Avant-gard songwriter Thunderbyrd Newman returned with two new songs that were written in Hawaiian Slack Key. Newman was inspired by a song Ron Hackett plays in this alternative guitar tuning and decided to learn it. He was surprised to find that Hawaiian Slack Key is a collection of alternate open tunings for the guitar. He used the Taro Patch tuning for his original songs, “Smile in My Heart” and “Your Baby Sister Will.”

Apprentice host Travis Leimer performed next. His set included “Yours” by Russell Dickerson, “Beth” by Peter Criss and Stan Penridge of the band Kiss and “Perfect” by Ed Sheeran.

President and co-host Ron Hackett always gets the anchor position and performs last in the regular round. He invited his friend, Tucker, back to the stage for an impromptu jazz jam. They performed three jazz standards that included “All of Me” by Seymour Simons and Gerald Marks, “Girl from Ipanema” by Antonio Carlos Jobim and “Blue Bossa” by Kenny Dorham.

There wasn’t time for an encore round this week, so Hackett closed the show with his jazz guitar arrangement of “Besame Mucho.” The title means Kiss Me Much, which is ironic because the songwriter was a young Mexican pianist named Consuelo Velazquez who had not yet been kissed, and she had heard that kissing was considered a sin.

Pictures from the show can be found on the Arts Center’s website and on their Facebook page.

“We now video the shows for broadcast on FPU’s Channel 6,” said Hackett.

The next show will be Saturday, March 3, in the gallery of the Arts Center at 7 p.m. The twice monthly performing arts and open mic held on the first and third Saturday of each month is free and open to the public. The Arts Center is a non-profit corporation, so donations are appreciated.

Each act is allowed 15 minutes for their performance. Soloists who would like musical accompaniment for their performance or anyone who would like to participate in an open jam session, please contact Ron and Taylor before the show. Questions about the show are also welcome. Their email address is openmic@flc-artscenter.com.

The Art Center is located at 303 Main Avenue South in Fayetteville. Doors open and sign-ups begin at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, and the show begins at 7 p.m. A limited number of advance sign-ups are available on the website. For more information, please visit the Art Center website at http://www.flc-artscenter.com/openmic.