One of Branson’s most iconic structures of the past is getting a new lease on life as award-winning singer/songwriter and Branson favorite Billy Yates recently unveiled plans for Billy Yates’ Choices Concert Hall, a new restaurant and concert/dance hall set to host new shows, as well as touring acts, set to open next month.
The new venture takes its name from the Grammy award-winning George Jones classic, “Choices,” which was penned by Yates.
“It’s been a long-time dream to create a venue dedicated to great dining, dancing, and music,” Yates said. “Our family loves Branson, and we believe in its future. We are excited to offer something that’s been needed in this town for a while now, a place for family and friends to gather and enjoy some great food and some great country music with a dance floor for those who want to kick up their heels.”
According to Yates, Choices will feature a full restaurant and bar, a “huge” dance floor and two stages for live shows and concerts. Various country music memorabilia will be displayed throughout, including all of Yates’ gold and platinum record awards, autographed guitars, hand-written lyrics of some of the biggest country songs ever, and more.
The venue, formerly known as Guitars and Cadillacs and Planet Branson, saw many major celebrities such as Merle Haggard, Delbert McClinton, John Kay from Steppenwolf, Kenny Chesney and countless others.
In addition to the new venue, Yates also announced a new show called “Nashville Nights” will call the venue home. According to a release, “Nashville Nights” will “feature actual country music stars performing their own hits, plus a few of their favorites as well.”
The cast is set to include Yates, who penned “Choices” and “I Don’t Need Your Rockin’ Chair” for Jones, as well as his own hit tune “Flowers.”
Joining Yates is Heath Wright, founding member and lead vocalist and guitar player for the ACM Award-winning band, Ricochet. Wright and Ricochet are best known for their hits “Daddy’s Money,” “What Do I Know,” and “Love Is Stronger Than Pride.”
Also joining the “Nashville Nights” cast is Michelle Poe, the current bass player for Hank Williams Jr., and past bass player for Dierks Bentley and Brooks and Dunn. She also had her own hit record called “Just One of the Boys.” Longtime local favorite Melody Hart will also be a part of the show.
In addition to being one of the most popular entertainers in Ozark Mountain Country, Hart has also played fiddle and acoustic guitar player for Joe Diffie, Brenda Lee, the Cox Family, and stars on the “Branson Country USA” TV show.
Rounding out the “Nashville Nights” cast will be Kevin Clemons, former steel guitar player for Gary Stewart, Crystal Gayle, Rex Allen Jr. and the Presleys; David Smith, former keyboard and banjo player for Roy Clark; and Pete Generous, past drummer for Roy Clark, Tony Orlando, and The Lawrence Welk Orchestra.
“Nashville Nights” is set to open Sept. 9, and run through mid-December with 7:30 p.m. shows Monday through Thursday.
In addition to “Nashville Nights,” Yates’ other show, “Billy Yates Hit Songwriters in the Round,” will also call Choices home this fall. The show is billed as an “unscripted, unplugged” 90-minute show where Yates is joined by two other singer/songwriters from Nashville, casually telling the stories behind the songs they play.
Yates is set to perform a version of his “Songwriters” show at Silver Dollar City Sept. 6-22 in conjunction with their Country Music Days Celebration.
Billy Yates Hit Songwriters in the Round” will then move from its current home at the Americana Theatre to Choices on Sept. 27. Showtimes will be 2 p.m. Sunday through Tuesday.
Finally, the venue will also host the Choices Concert Series, set to begin Sept. 28 with T. Graham Brown, followed by Gary Morris Oct. 5, former Little Texas frontman Tim Rushlow Nov. 16, and Ricochet Nov. 23.
Brown is best known for his hits “Hell and High Water,” “Darlene,” and “I Tell It Like It Used to Be.” Morris is the man behind “The Wind Beneath My Wings,” “Velvet Chains,” and “Why Lady Why.”
Rushlow provided the vocals for the Little Texas hits “God Blessed Texas” and “What Might’ve Been.”
The Choices Saloon and Concert Hall will also feature a full restaurant, line dance lessons, jam nights and more.