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.

As always, feel free to drop me a line at jclark@bransontrilakesnews.com, or send me a message via our Branson Tri-Lakes News Facebook page.

Now, let’s get to it. 

Lots of fun at ‘Grand Jubilee’  

Well Loyal Reader(s), last week I decided it was time to get some live music in my life, so I decided to cruise by the “Grand Jubilee” show at Grand Country. Featuring a fantastic cast of stellar entertainers performing music from every genre, as well as comedy that’s genuinely funny, is what helps “Grand Jubilee” stand out as one of the area’s best.

The show is fronted by emcee and producer extraordinaire Mike “The Golden Throat of the Ozarks” Patrick, as well as the man, the myth, the legend Jamie “Jim Dandy” Haage, who shares the stage as his co-host/comic relief/star of the show. Their chemistry is effortless, and while they’re endelessly entertaining when they’re on the stage alone, things really cook when they do any of their bits or skits.

Plus, who doesn’t get tickled hearing “The Bird Joke” return to the stage.

While Haage and Patrick are having all the fun, the New South Quartet, David Ragan, Jon Drockelman, Mark McCauley, Luke Menard, take the show to a whole new level. 

Even though they are all gifted vocalists on their own, together, they spout out flawless four-part harmony that is among the best of the best here in Ozark Mountain Country.

While the gospel and Elvis Presley sections are most assuredly highlights of the show, it’s Ragan’s lead work on the Alabama classic “Old Flame,” as well as the Presley classic “Hurt” that truly floored me. 

I could listen to those cats sing for hours and hours.

The “Grand Jubilee” show just wouldn’t be complete without female vocalists Jackie Brown, who sounds better than ever, which is a bold statement, I know. 

Her renditions of the Gladys Knight version of “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” as well as Big Mama Thorton’s “Hound Dog” were both awesome and flat-out fun, but her duet with Menard on “Don’t Fall in Love with a Dreamer” truly showcases the sheer amount of talent both performers possess.

As awesome as New South, Jackie Brown, Mike Patrick and Jamie “Jim Dandy” Haage are, the “straw that stirs the drink,” to steal a quote from Reggie Jackson, is the Grand Band, known locally as the “Rhinestone Mafia.” Featuring steel guitarist and band leader Gene Mulvaney, keyboard player Michael W. Davis, bassist Larry Allred, drummer Rob Blackburn, guitarist Chad Cathell and fiddler Wayne Massengale, these guys can hold their own with any band, any where. 

Plus, when I grow up, I want to be Larry Allred.

So, if you’re looking for a show that gives you everything you need from a Branson show with nothing you expect, the “Grand Jubilee” is the show for you.

“Grand Jubilee” takes the stage Monday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

Visit grandcountry.com for tickets and a full slate of schedules for all the shows at the Grand Country.

‘Bald Knobber’ gets digital release April 2

Following a premiere seen by more than 1,000 folks last year at the Mansion Theatre, the historical western film, “Bald Knobber,” based on a true story that took place and was filmed here locally in Taney and Christian counties, will be released on-demand and on all digital platforms on April 2.

Directed by Michael Dennis Johnson and starring Mel Barber, Angelina Sauber, Keith Thurman, Dakota Jones and Michael Freeman, “Bald Knobber” is based on the true story of the “League of Law and Order” in the Ozark Mountains of Taney County during the 1880s. Their organization grew to be nearly 1,000 strong and their reputation was known as far away as New York and London via news reports. 

Their goal was to rid the land of bushwhackers, murderers and thieves in the county.

This movie is the story of this vigilante group and the effect that it had on the individuals and families involved. This film tells the story of not just the reign of terror during this era, but the story of the people who lived, suffered, loved and survived. 

In all, “Bald Knobber” the movie featured 72 actors, more than 100 riders on horses, 500 background extras and 62 scenes shot in 42 different locations in Missouri and Arkansas. 

Many scenes were shot at the actual location of the original event of the 1880s.

The idea for the film came about many years ago while Johnson was researching the history of Branson for a documentary. Johnson said he knew the story had to be told, and the project officially began in 2013 via a meeting with co-writer Curtis Copeland at the grave site of original Baldknobber leader Nathanial Kinney, which is located in Forsyth.

“Bald Knobber” is being distributed by Random Media, a content company that acquires and distributes films on a worldwide basis through movie theatres, digital platforms, cable and satellite companies, television networks and conventional brick and mortar retailers. Random Media’s library includes such acclaimed films as Escape From Tomorrow, The Visit, Killswitch: The Battle To Control The Internet and The Landing.

To stay up to date on any information about “Bald Knobber,” facebook.com/Baldknobber.film, or baldknobberthemovie.com.

Kelly Smith, Mary Fae Jackson headline ‘BCUSA’ 

This weekend’s edition of “Branson Country USA,” set for 10:30 p.m. Friday at the Grand Country Music Hall, will feature local entertainer Kelly Smith, “Legends in Concert” tribute artist co-host of “Ozarks Fox A.M.,” as well as Mary Fae Jackson from the Family Friendly Television Network.

Smith has been an entertainer for 25 years, taking the stage all over the United States, Canada, Australia, and the Cayman Islands performing her tributes to Cher, Shania Twain and Olivia Newton-John. When she isn’t performing on stage, Smith is one of the hosts of the “Ozarks Fox A.M.” which airs at 7 a.m. Monday through Friday on KRBK locally.

“Branson Country USA” is a weekly radio and TV show, featuring Patrick and Haage as hosts, as well as the New South Quartet, David Ragan, Jon Drockelman, Mark McCauley, Luke Menard, female vocalists Jackie Brown and Melody Hart, and the Grand Band, known locally as the “Rhinestone Mafia,” which features steel guitarist Gene Mulvaney, keyboard player Michael W. Davis, bassist Larry Allred, drummer Rob Blackburn, guitarist Chad Cathell and fiddler Wayne Massengale. Showtime is 10:30 p.m. Friday at the Grand Country Music Hall.

Next week’s “Branson Country USA” guests will include the cast of “The Blackwoods” from the Branson Famous Theatre, followed by Joe and Tamra Tinoco from the “Magnificent Seven Variety Show” from the Hamner Variety Theatre.

Visit grandcountry.com for more.

Dixie Melody Boys set for Welk

One of the most popular southern gospel quartets in the business, the Dixie Melody Boys, will perform special shows April 8 and 11 at the Welk Resort Theater.

The Dixie Melody Boys will be featured at the Springtime Jubilee Conference during the 7 p.m. evening sessions.

Since organizing over five decades ago, The Dixie Melody Boys have enjoyed much success, including a Grammy nomination and numerous Fan Award nominations from The Singing News Magazine, Southern Gospel Music’s leading fan and trade publication. Led by 50-year veteran and recent Southern Gospel Music Hall of Fame inductee Ed O’Neal, has enjoyed more than 20 Top 40 hits, including eight Top 10s and a No. 1 single.

Some of their biggest hits include “I’m Gonna Lift My Praise,” “I’ll Be Living That Way,” “I Won’t Compromise,” “Welcome Home,” “Antioch Church Choir” and “I’m One Of Them.”

In addition to the Dixie Melody Boys, the Springtime Jubilee Conference will also see performers and speakers including Johnny Hunt, Dino Kartsonakis, Karen Peck & New River, the New Speer Family, Dr. Robert Jefferies, Charles Billingsly, Tom Lovelace, and a special April 9 performance by the Gaither Vocal Band. 

Since the early 1990s, the Gaither Vocal Band has served as a standard-bearer in the world of gospel music. Founded by legendary gospel songwriter and producer, Bill Gaither, this Grammy-winning vocal group has performed in the worlds most prestigious venues, and the list of men who have comprised the Gaither Vocal Band over the past 30 years reads like a “Who’s Who” among the gospel music industry’s best-loved voices. 

Today, the Gaither Vocal Band roster is comprised of five power-packed voices, including Bill Gaither, Wes Hampton, Adam Crabb, Todd Suttles and Reggie Smith.

The Springtime Jubilee Conference runs April 8-10, and the Dixie Melody Boys will perform another show April 11 at 7 p.m. at the Welk Resort Theatre.

‘Buckets N Boards’ wrapping Spring run  

The “Buckets N Boards” show is already wrapping its spring run this weekend at Dick Clark’s American Bandstand Theater with a 7:30 p.m. show Wednesday, and 2 p.m. shows Thursday and Friday. 

Fronted by entertainers Matthew Levingston and Gareth Sever, “Buckets N Boards” is an original show created by the duo when they were working at Dolly Parton’s Stampede Dinner Attraction several years ago. During breaks, they would play around with drumming and tap dancing. Before long, they had a unique act.

They eventually auditioned to be street performers at Branson Landing and were able to perform as part of the Landing’s opening day. After performing at the landing for several years, they were offered a three week run,, which led to them expanding the show to a full two hour presentation by adding more percussion, some guitar, a few funny songs, tap dancing and even a few bits on the oft underused recorder, albeit in a very non-traditional way. 

The show was a hit, and in addition to becoming a popular draw in Ozark Mountain Country, “Buckets N Boards” was recently voted “Best Show for Children” by thebestofbranson.com in 2018. They are also a featured headliner for Disney Cruise Lines.

In addition to wrapping for the spring, the “Buckets N Boards” boys are also offering area appreciation tickets for residents living in Stone, Taney, Christian, Lawrence and Greene counties in Missouri, and 

Carroll, Boone, Marion, Newton, Madison counties in Arkansas.

“Buckets N Boards” will return to the Bandstand stage May 29 for more than 30 shows through August 16.

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