Saturday, June 29th
Central Park Bandstand
6:00 pm Frank Grasso
7:00 pm American Pride - A Tribute to the Statler Brothers
8:00 pm Ronnie McDowell
A name that is recognized worldwide in any genre of music, The Statler Brothers. First performing at local churches until fate brought them together with Country giant Johnny Cash in 1964. Entering that relationship as the backup vocals for Johnny on stage, records, and T.V. During their eight and a half years with the Man in Black, they recorded their first hit record, "Flowers on the Wall", and became regulars on the weekly Johnny Cash Show, seen on ABC T.V.
Leaving Cash in 1972, they continued with such hits as "Bed of Roses", "Class of '57", and "I'll Go to My Grave Loving You." The original harmonies, sense of humor, and lyrical style of writing highlighted a career that led them to the top of the music charts countless times and to a concert touring success that packed arenas and theaters.
From 1990 to 1998, they hosted The Statler Brothers Show, their own weekly top-rated variety show on the Nashville Network. With more than forty albums to their credit, The Statler Brothers have been honored with three Grammy Awards, nine country Music Association awards for vocal group of the year, and two Academy of Country Music awards. They have also been inducted into The Country Music Hall of Fame, and have been awarded more than any other Country Music act. Their songs have been featured on several movie soundtracks, such as "Charlotte's Web" in Smokey and the Bandit II, and "Flowers on the Wall" in Pulp Fiction. Legends Radio, to this date, favors The Statler Brothers. They have been called America's Poets.
Today you can relive the musical memories of The Statler Brothers through American Pride. They have captured the true authenticity of The Statler Brothers sound, keeping the legacy alive and promoting traditional Country Music, which is generational, yet crosses age boundaries.
Just as The Statler Brothers had two members who are actually brothers, Harold and Don Reid, so does American Pride, as Mike and Jimmy Whetsel are also brothers. Both the Reid brothers and the Whetsel brothers have a life-long love for Southern Gospel quartet music, and still find that audiences at all venues cannot help but clap their hands and pat their feet to "I'll Fly Away" or "Heaven's Jubilee."
Ronnie McDowell has an amazing string of hit songs that he has amassed over the years, but it is his riveting stage presence and genuine warmth that fills the seats again and again. Like all great entertainers, Ronnie McDowell has a personality that remains luminous long after the lights go dim. These qualities have inspired a nationwide network of fan-clubs with thousands of members, each one a devoted promoter of everything McDowell does.
Following the death of Elvis Presley in 1977, Ronnie McDowell came out of nowhere to dazzle the world with his heartfelt and self-penned tribute song “The King Is Gone” on the independent Scorpion label. The record took off immediately, gaining airplay on country and pop stations across the country and around the world. To date, “The King Is Gone” has sold more than 5 Million copies.
All of a sudden, the young Vietnam Veteran from Portland, Tennessee was a star, and he quickly proved that he wasn’t just a one-trick pony. McDowell scored a second hit for the Scorpion label titled “I Love You, I Love You, I Love You” before being wooed and signed by CBS Records – Epic label in 1979.
Ronnie McDowell charted a string of hit singles and albums for Epic between 1979 and 1986. Every single release with the exception of just one became a Top 10 Hit including the chart toppers “Older Women” and “You’re Gonna Ruin My Bad Reputation.” Other hits during his Epic years included “Watchin Girls Go By,” “Personally,” “You Made A Wanted Man Of Me,” “All Tied Up,” and “In A New York Minute.”
McDowell toured constantly to support each album release and consequently built an astounding fan base throughout the country. He sought the advice of artists such as Conway Twitty who became, in essence, not only his mentor but his friend as well. Twitty helped the young singer with advise about touring, recording and most of all entertaining the fans. Twitty was certainly the master and Ronnie McDowell quickly became his prize pupil.
Moving to Curb Records in 1986, his current label to date, McDowell scored a Top 10 hit with “It’s Only Make Believe,” a duet with Conway Twitty on what was Twitty’s breakthrough hit from 1958. Two years later Ronnie teamed up with Jerry Lee Lewis for a rocking duet that McDowell wrote titled,”You’re Never Too Old To Rock N’ Roll.” He also recorded yet another Top 10 hit with his version of the pop standard “Unchained Melody,” which also became a #1 country music video. To date, McDowell has scored over 30 top ten records. His entertaining abilities soared and he began to draw larger crowds. He started appearing in larger venues and touring with artists such as Conway Twitty, Tammy Wynette and Loretta Lynn before headlining his own shows.
Two of McDowell’s most recent projects on Curb Records include an album of beach music with Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Bill Pinkney’s Original Drifters, entitled, “Ronnie McDowell with Bill Pinkney’s Original Drifters”. The second project is a new country album titled “Ronnie McDowell Country”, a collection of six new McDowell penned songs, and a few country standards by such Legendary writers as Buck Owens, Harlan Howard and Dallas Frazier.
Ronnie McDowell is still constantly in demand on the road and he tours relentlessly with his band. Additionally, he often tours with Elvis Presley’s original sideman D.J. Fontana along with Ray Walker a longtime member of The Jordanaires staging a tribute to Elvis Presley’s music. Ronnie McDowell sang 36 songs on the soundtrack “Elvis,” the Dick Clark-produced television movie that featured Kurt Russell as the performer. He also was the singing voice for the television movie “Elvis And Me”, the ABC television series about the early years of Elvis’ career titled simply “Elvis” as well as, the 1997 Showtime special “Elvis Meets Nixon.”
While Elvis Presley has played a big part in Ronnie McDowell’s musical career over the years, Ronnie continues to entertain audiences with his own blend of romantic intimacy and country excitement! He looks great, he sounds great, and judging from the longtime adoration of his fans, he seems to grow better with each passing year!