Summer Lip Sync Showdown II! in support of Ozark Rape Crisis Center Saturday, June 1 at 7:00PM Doors open at 6:00PM to view silent auction items and to grab refreshments and get to your seat!
Check out this video on how you can get involved & support victims of sexual violence in our community.
The Ozark Rape Crisis Center provides 24-Hour Crisis Intervention and Advocacy services for victims of sexual violence, as well as violence prevention education for the general public in Boone, Carroll, Johnson, Marion, Newton, Pope and Searcy Counties in Arkansas.
“Just your run of the mill, post-structuralist cowgirl Americana…” Crooked Creek presents Winona Wilde!
Thursday, May 17 at 7:00PM
“Over simple, well-worn chords, Wilde’s voice sounds weary and wise, and yet still full of life…Her storytelling binds together personal experience and political ideas in relatable ways, the way only the best songwriting can.”
Karl Magi recently profiled Winona Wilde for Spinditty, so we’re going to borrow some quotes from his excellent article there. He shows her love for the Roots Music fans and culture: “If I had known all of these people and festivals existed when I started law school, I probably would have quit instead of suffering through it. The sense of community I have felt from the folkies is unlike anything on this earth. It has made me a better person.”
It’s not having gone to law school that makes people wonder most at her rise to prominence in the Americana scene—nor even her being Canadian, since that’s “North Americana,” at least—but the fact that she is a Canadian of Iraqi descent
who has so embraced—and been embraced by—Western “Roots Music”/Americana and its fans.
Wilde (whose non-stage name is Noosa Al-Sarraj) says that music was a part of her life from her earliest days. “I do not come from a musical family, but opportunities for making music always came into my life at the right time. As a little tiny baby, I used to sing my mother’s lullabies back to her, and as a toddler, I was really good at clapping back rhythms and freakishly repeating back entire verses from the Koran, so my mother suspected there was something at play there.”
Her musical influences are wide-ranging. “I grew up on classical music. My faves were the moody, dense composers like Beethoven and Schumann. I spent hours every day alone with the piano, deciphering the language. To this day, I can still recognize a composer from just a few bars of music. Nobody generally cares when it happens, but it always feels like a little bit of a fist-pump moment.”
“When I hit my teens I got all the way into older blues artists like Ray Charles and Nat King Cole and then started to experiment with the edgier stuff like Tool and Nine Inch Nails. I loved the melodic metal my younger brother Sim listened to, he got me into Opeth, Dream Theatre and stuff like that. The heaviness of my lyrical content might have something to do with that.”
Magi writes: “Her transformation into a country/folk artist is something for which Noosa has an interesting explanation. She says, ‘My parents both worked a ton so we had a nanny whom we affectionately called Nana. She may have had country music radio on all day, so my young brain had the country music of the 80’s hammered into it without my even noticing. When I eventually heard John Prine and Loretta Lynn as an adult, all of this country music came pouring out of me.’”
Eleni Armenakis makes it clear in her review of the Wilnona Wilde album “Wasted Time” that as much as her music can reach the heights and depths of introspection and social commentary, her music is not one dimensional: “‘Buy a Round’ marks a change in the album, as Al-Sarraj laughs into a pure country number that fittingly rolls in and around itself. There’s more of a folk sound to ‘Black Forest Black Forest’ before ‘To The Corner’ finds a balance between the two to quietly see out the album.” Armenakis concludes, “Al-Sarraj knows what she wants to say and how she wants to say it. Despite the title, she’s clearly not wasting any time.”
“The best introduction to troubadour songwriter Winona Wilde’s wry sensibilities is through her delivered-with-a-wink song, ‘Chick Singer’…She sings with both exasperation and good humour, because, as we all know, sometimes the truth is so bleak, it’s hilarious. The same autobiographical song also references the blank stares she gets from people surprised to see an Iraqi-Canadian woman singing country songs. Wilde, whose real name is Noosa Al-Sarraj, fell in love with country music thanks to a nanny she had as a kid. Her kickass songwriting abilities led to win an award at the Kerrville Folk Festival’s New Folk competition this year—one of few Canadians to do so, and certainly the first of Iraqi descent.”
Winona Wilde will perform at the Roots Music Palace of the Ozarks, Harrison, Arkansas’s historic Lyric Theater, on May 17 at 7:00PM,with special guest opener Fayetteville’s Elizabeth Scott. Tickets are available in advance for $10; at the door, they will be $15.
Can you recall the first song you ever wrote?
From age 11-17, my subjects were mainly animals — for example, “Everything tastes like chicken when you’re not around,” a musical adaptation of Dr. Seuss’s One Fish, Two Fish, and a mini-opera about a donkey who eats spaghetti. Although one early song I remember went something like “darkness into darkness” and had some complex chord changes and a heavy subject. I gave it to my teacher and I never got it back, so I am really curious about what was going on in that song. Perhaps she passed it along to a psychiatrist.
“North Americana” — Quebec to Boston to NOLA to Harrison, Arkansas…
Ray Bonneville Returns to the Lyric!
Tuesday, February 13 at 7PM
“Ray Bonneville is THE one songwriter you need if you love to get lost in words. Words that create pictures like the best movies you’ve never seen. Stark. Honest. Stripped to the bone.” – John Hahn
The poetry, the raw honesty of heart and voice and instrument that is Ray Bonneville, is headed back to The Roots Music Palace of the Ozarks, Harrison, Arkansas’s historic Lyric Theater, on Tuesday, February 13 at 7:00PM . Tickets are now available.
Red House recording artist Ray Bonneville is a blues poet of the demimonde whose acclaimed performance groove is the product of a unique, electric guitar style, unrivaled harmonica tone, smoky vocal and unwavering foot percussion. A native French Canadian, Ray is a celebrated songwriter and lives in Austin, Texas. He plays more than 150 shows a year in the US, Canada, and Europe. His performances are riveting and deep, yet full of humor and joy.
Ray has created and mastered a fusion of traditional American Roots and Blues music all his own and deeply influenced by his upbringing in French Canada and the years he spent writing and playing music in New Orleans. He is known as the master of the slow burn, the groove, and is one of the best harmonica players alive today.
Honing his songwriting craft for the last 35 years, “Bonneville’s raw, tell-it-like-it-is storytelling style has won him critical acclaim” (Jim Blum, “Ray Bonneville: True-to-Life Troubadour” NPR Music – Favorite Sessions, May 28, 2008). He has “shared the stage with blues heavyweights B.B. King, Muddy Waters, J.J. Cale, and Robert Cray, and has been nominated for three Juno awards (Canada’s version of the Grammys), winning the 2000 Best Blues Album for his third album Gust of Wind (1999). His fourth release Rough Luck was also nominated, as was his 2004 Red House debut Roll It Down. Since then, his star has been on the rise, with his award-winning release Goin’ By Feel, his folk-charting cover of Bob Dylan’s song “It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry” (featured on A Nod to Bob 2: An Artists Tribute to Bob Dylan on His 70th Birthday).
In 2009, Ray won the Folk Alliance International Song of the Year award for I Am the Big Easy, featuring post-Katrina New Orleans, and in 2012, he won the International Blues Challenge solo category in Memphis. Having released Easy Gone in 2014, Ray announced this past Summer that he would be releasing a new album in the near future, so he brings to the Lyric’s stage both his previous treasury of great songwriting and what is currently inspiring him to write and perform, so we are in for a great show in Harrison!
Ray is a hard driving, blues dipped, song and groove man who writes about people who live on the fringe of society with a vibe that is loose and soulful. With a greasy guitar style, horn-like harmonica, smoky vocals and pulsing foot percussion he rivets audiences. As John Hahn has said,
Ray Bonneville is the master of rainy nights, of black and white footage of bar lights going out as a man turns up his collar and heads home alone. He captures the outsider inside all of us.
Ray’s last appearance at the Lyric was in 2010, so it’s been a long, long wait for us, but the Ozark Arts Council is pleased and proud to present the hard-driving honesty of Ray Bonneville in a special Tuesday night performance at 7:00 on February 13. Tickets are now available.
“Ray Bonneville is like gunpowder and opium.”
– Ray Wylie Hubbard
Gritty Blues from and for the Working Man Albert Cummings Returns to the Lyric!
Friday, March 23 at 7PM
The blues is best served up live, with an enthusiastic audience and a killin’ band, and that’s exactly what guitarist Albert Cummings does[…]. Cummings effortlessly shifts from chimney subdued stylings to raucous roadhouse raunch to soaring yet stinging lead lines, driving his audience to frenzy in all the right places.” – Guitar Edge Magazine
Blues-rock guitar in all its glory is headed back to the historic Lyric Theater, as Harrison, Arkansas enjoys “An Evening with Albert Cummings” on Friday, September 23 at 7:00 PM, for which tickets are now available.
Albert Cummings writes, plays and sings the blues like nobody else. He has played with blues legends B.B. King, Johnny Winter, and Buddy Guy. Taken with Albert’s fire and passion bassist Tommy Shannon and drummer Chris Layton, of the band Double Trouble, the late Stevie Ray Vaughan’s rhythm section, volunteered to play on and produce his solo debut recording, 2003’s self-released From the Heart.
From these blues greats to Merle Haggard to Led Zeppelin, Albert’s influences coalesce in lyrics that display a country/working man’s sensibility and the guitar virtuosity that rock fans love—a style that covers the best of hard-driving blues, slides comfortably over to intricate ballads, and comes charging right back again “with unbridled ferocity and deep soulfulness…his depth and expression are matched only by his terrifying technique and tone.”
The Massachusetts native learned the requisite three chords on the guitar from his father, but then switched to playing banjo at age 12 and became a fan of bluegrass music. In his late teens he encountered the early recordings of Stevie Ray Vaughan and was floored by the virtuosity. While in college in 1987 he saw Vaughan perform and he returned to the guitar with a new outlook and resolve.
The whiz-kid carpenter began his ascent to masterful blues rock guitarist at age 27, with his first public performance on guitar. Soon he was on the Northeast blues circuit with his band, Swamp Yankee. In 1998 he walked into a Northeast Blues Society open jam, which led to Cummings’ winning the right to compete in the Blues Foundation’s 1999 International Blues Challenge. The following year Albert released his debut recording, The Long Way.Bluesprint magazine said it was “a barrage of guitar pyrotechnics that calls to mind a grand mix of the styles of past masters like Albert King, Freddie King, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimmie Hendrix.”
That in turn opened up an opportunity for him to work with Double Trouble, the late Stevie Ray Vaughan’s rhythm section. So taken with Albert’s fire and passion were bassist Tommy Shannon and drummer Chris Layton that they volunteered to play on and produce his solo debut recording, 2003’s self-released From the Heart. Recorded in Austin, Texas, it featured Cummings fronting Double Trouble (including Reese Winans) in their first recording project since Stevie Ray’s passing. No less a giant of the blues than B.B. King dubbed Cummings “a great guitarist.”
Cummings’ soulful and explosive approach to blues and rock caught the attention of Blind Pig Records, which signed him to a multi-album deal. On his label debut, True to Yourself, released in 2004, Cummings was again joined by bassist Tommy Shannon. Recorded by producer extraordinaire Jim Gaines (Santana, Stevie Ray, Buddy Guy), the album rocks hard from start to finish. The all-original release showcased Albert’s rapidly developing songwriting chops and deeply emotional vocals as well as stunning guitar pyrotechnics, leading Guitar One to exclaim, “He attacks his axe with unbridled ferocity and deep soulfulness… his depth and expression are matched only by his terrifying technique and tone.”
“a barrage of guitar pyrotechnics that calls to mind a grand mix of the styles of past masters like Albert King, Freddie King, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jimmie Hendrix. – Bluesprint Magazine
Soon tours and shows with blues legends B.B. King, Johnny Winter, Buddy Guy and others brought Albert’s music to a much larger audience.
His second release, Working Man (2006), also produced by Jim Gaines, betrays a growing focus and maturity both in Albert’s stinging, incisive guitar work as well as in his fluently idiomatic songwriting. From the punchy, stomping cover of Merle Haggard’s blue collar standard “Working Man Blues” to the deeply emotive ballad “Last Dance” that closes the disc, Albert’s songs are always concise and direct, driven by his uniquely muscular yet polished guitar wizardry. Billboard said, “This recording is the calling card of a blues star who has arrived. Cummings’ guitar work is sizzling. This is one of the top blues albums of 2006.”
In 2008 Albert recorded his first live album, Feel So Good, in Pittsfield, Massachusetts at the historic Colonial Theatre, a 95-year-old “little jewel box” – that’s what James Taylor calls it – that’s hosted everyone from Will Rogers to Al Jolson. The audience was so enthralled and supportive they became part of the performance in a way that’s rarely heard. As AllMusic put it, “It sounds like it was one hell of a party that night.”
Albert and his band responded with a blistering set of great originals and killer covers of Zeppelin, Little Feat and Muddy Waters tunes. With producer Jim Gaines again at the controls and Albert’s incredible display of guitar virtuosity and deep emotion, this is one live performance that is bound to become a blues rock classic.
Guitar Edge magazine said, “The blues is best served up live, with an enthusiastic audience and a killin’ band, and that’s exactly what guitarist Albert Cummings does on his new Feel So Good. Cummings effortlessly shifts from chimney subdued stylings to raucous roadhouse raunch to soaring yet stinging lead lines, driving his audience to frenzy in all the right places.”
Music Connection called it “one of the best live albums recorded in a long time” and Blurt added, “Cummings’ first live album provides the perfect showcase for the fiery guitarist’s axe-handling skills and enormous onstage charisma.”
In 2011 Albert released an instructional DVD for the Hal Leonard Corporation entitled Working Man Blues Guitar. Cummings’ next CD, No Regrets, was self-released in 2012. It was a return to his true musical roots for the six-string virtuoso, poignantly capturing the core of his influences, displaying the impact that R&B, Rock, Soul, Country and the Blues have had on both his playing and writing. It debuted at #1 on iTunes music charts in the USA, Canada and France.
“An Evening with Albert Cummings” is scheduled at the historic Lyric Theater on the Harrison, Arkansas square for Friday, March 23 at 7:00PM . Tickets are now available.
Classic Rock and Blues with
The Hedley Lamar Band!
Saturday, September 23 at 7:30PM
Join us on September 23 at 7:30pm, for a party to kick off the OAC’s “90 for 90” campaign, featuring the Rock and Blues trio that is always in demand at festivals and clubs across the area, and that was chosen to open for guitar superhero Albert Cummings when he played the Lyric in 2016, The Hedley Lamar Band!
From the Allman Brothers to Zeppelin and ZZ Top, with possible stops at Clapton, Hendrix, Robin Trower, Skynyrd, and Stevie Ray Vaughn along the way, The Hedley Lamar Band hits that fusion of UK and Southern rock and blues that has been “the best of both worlds” from the ’60s to today. Billy Youngblood (primarily bass and vocals) and Tim Taylor (primarily guitar) often switch roles during their concerts, expanding their repertoire to keep the party going all the time. Joined by Jason Ruff or Will Youngblood on percussion, they remind us that it only takes a trio to fill the Lyric with music that keeps the heart pumping.
The Hedley Lamar is helping us raise money to repair extensive water damage in the Lyric. We already have a grant that will cover a lot of the water damage, but part of the water wasn’t the rain that tore up our walls before the wonderful folks at Harness Roofing donated a new roof a few years ago…it’s from malfunctioning air conditioning units in the Bailey Annex. (It would cost nearly as much to do a non-guaranteed temporary fix as to replace them.) By the time it was discovered, a large section of our ten-year-old building’s floor was already ruined. Before we fix the floor with the money we’ve been given for that purpose, we have to repair the AC…and that’s $8,500 that we need to raise as quickly as we can. (Actually, it would be a lot more than that, but Ken Allen of Conward’s remains a great supporter of the Arts and has worked out a great deal for us.)
This party also kicks off a new campaign for the OAC: 90 for 90. We want to increase our OAC membership by 90 members and raise $90,000 by the end of The Lyric’s 90th birthday in 2019. This money will go, first, toward restoration of parts of the theater that have been out of use for decades, beginning with the (original) balcony restrooms. From there, along with upkeep and programming needs, we want to increase both the beauty and the functionality of our already-wonderful venue.
All of the usual Lyric Theater concessions will be available, including beer and wine in our ‘speakeasy’, The Balcony, as well as guacamole and corn chips.
This two-time Grammy-winner (once with Sir Paul McCartney’s “Wings” and once as a solo artist) thrilled the Lyric audience in 2015, and is returning to continue to dazzle us with his wit, which is as evident in his playing as his absolute mastery of his instrument—not only in its standard implementation, but through a variety of tunings that allow him to express far more than one normally associates with the playing of a single acoustic guitar.
As an award-winning fingerstyle acoustic guitarist also known for his electric work as lead guitarist in Wings, LJ has a large following among guitar fans and Beatles/classic rock fans. His shows feature his original compositions along with amazing covers of Beatles and classic rock songs like “Layla” and “Little Wing” where he literally plays every melody of the song on just one guitar!
Pete Townsend of The Who simply exclaims, “A master!”
As a studio musician, LJ can be heard on recordings from artists as diverse as Dan Hicks & the Hot Licks to Seal to Barry Manilow, plus he is featured on the soundtracks to hundreds of TV shows such as Home Improvement and movies including the academy award-winning Dirty Dancing, Good Will Hunting, and Pocahontas.
You like video games? LJ co-composed the soundtrack of the award-winning video game Diablo III.
You watch the news? LJ crafted the score to the NBC Dateline documentary Children Of The Harvest. His music is also featured in the Ken Burns’ documentary The Tenth Inning.
In other words: You’ve Heard Him Even if You Haven’t Heard of Him!
LJ has released 17 critically acclaimed solo albums which feature his celebrated arrangements of popular tunes and genre-crossing compositions. In Fall 2010, he released the highly anticipated LJ Plays the Beatles Vol. 2. He was voted “Guitarist of the Year” by the readers of Fingerstyle Guitar Magazine and named one of the top acoustic guitar players of all time by Acoustic Guitar Magazine. A dynamic, entertaining performer and an accomplished clinician, LJ brings his passion for the guitar to venues around the world, creating a multi-faceted performance that belies the use of only one instrument. In Spring 2013 Laurence Juber released Under an Indigo Sky on Solid Air Records with a special limited edition vinyl for Record Store Day, and has just released LJ Can’t Stop Playing the Beatles.
At the heart of LJ’s sound and style breathes a near-flawless technique where a fiercely emotional underbelly, alternate tunings, and keen sense of melody and rhythm coalesce into something uniquely his own……you don’t have to be a solo-happy guitar worshipper to appreciate his talents.
– Inland Empire Weekly
Sunpie Barnes and the Louisiana Sunspots
March 11, 7:00PM
New Orleans music icon Bruce “Sunpie” Barnes and the Louisiana Sunspots, his world-class 6-piece band, will be performing at 7:00, Saturday, March 11, at the historic Lyric Theater on the Harrison square. Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets are now available for $15.
It is no exaggeration to say that Bruce “Sunpie” Barnes is one of the most talented and compelling artists we have ever welcomed to the Lyric stage. Having interned as a river guide right here on the Buffalo, he has been a National Park Ranger in Louisiana for most of his life, spent time as a professional football player with the Kansas City Chiefs, is a photographer, actor, and author, a former high school biology teacher…and his multi-instrumentalist skills, great band, and beautiful baritone vocals make blues/zydeco fusion music that has to be experienced to be understood—but
from the first chord, you’re hooked for life!
Sunpie recently completed a 58 city tour spanning 34 countries, playing in the bands of both Paul Simon and Sting in their “Paul Simon and Sting Together” tour. Along with his musical group, he has traveled worldwide playing festivals with his unique style of what he calls Afro-Louisiana music incorporating blues, zydeco, gospel, Caribbean and African influenced rhythms and melodies. He is a multi-instrumentalist, master accordion and harmonica player, and also plays piano, rubboard, talking drum, and dejembe. His sound is known as Bouje Bouje music meaning “music that moves” and is Louisiana music at its best. Sunpie has performed for over 20 years at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and shared the stage at festivals with artists from across the globe including Willie Nelson, BB King, Dr. John, The Neville Brothers, Willie Dixon and Phish. He has recorded 6 critically acclaimed CDs with his compositions currently featured in 16 Hollywood film productions.
When Sunpie plays in Harrison, it is always to a packed house!
With sponsorship by Neighbor’s Mill Bakery & Café, the Ozark Arts Council is thrilled to invite you to the return of a Lyric Theater favorite, Sunpie Barnes and the Louisiana Sunspots! Tickets are on sale now; head to our ticketing page or call (870) 391-3504 early to choose your favorite seats!
New Year’s Eve EVE Party
w/The Downtown Livewires!
December 30, 2016 – 7:00PM to Midnight
(Party Begins at 7:00, Live Music Begins at 8:00)
The Downtown Livewires, based in one of the fastest growing regions in the nation, Northwest Arkansas (Bentonville/Fayetteville), play high energy Electric Blues/Rock, Memphis blues, and legacy blues. Audiences of their shows love to dance and sing along, no matter the venue, whether it be clubs, festivals, private parties, concerts, or city events. Now, they’re coming to The Lyric to provide music for our five-hour-long New Year’s Eve EVE Party! Come at 7 to grab some drinks and food, find a seat with your friends, and be ready for the show to begin at 8!
Down home Memphis blues in Northwest Arkansas? You bet—Just call THE DOWNTOWN LIVEWIRES! I’ve mixed countless bands over the years and these guys lay it down right. Always a pleasure to work with, too!
The Downtown Livewires are exactly that! LIVEWIRES! It’s like hiring a party in a box; They come with enthusiasm, talent, energy and always bring a happy crowd! The Downtown Livewires is a group of dedicated, knowledgeable, well- rehearsed and hardworking professional musicians who come to play their hearts out and raise the roof every time…
~ Andy Green, Director of Productions, Downtown Bentonville, Inc.
The leader of the band is Roger Thomas from Bentonville, Arkansas. Roger was born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee (South-Central, Oakhaven neighborhood) until he was 30 (with some time in Harrison, Arkansas, during high school), playing professionally there through his 20’s. Roger is known for talking and picking out people in the audiences with whom to have on-stage conversations, sometimes jumping off the stage and playing, dancing and singing within the crowd. He also invites guests to sing songs on-stage, and maybe even play tambourine.
Bob “Super Harp” Coleman is out of New Haven, Connecticut, and is a world-class harmonica player who also sings some of the lead vocals. Bob has played with blues legends all over the country throughout his illustrious career.
Dan Doebele from Kansas City, Missouri is an absolute beast on lead electric guitar, is known by all other professional musicians to be one of the elite guitarists in the region, and plays slide with anything handy!
Kurt “Where’s Kurt?” Haas is on keyboards and vocals from Lone Star, Texas, and is known for his stellar new arrangements of old blues songs.
The rhythm section of Mark Vanderhoof on drums and Jan Sallings on bass is one of the most tenured blues rhythm sections in the country, and audience members often find themselves fixated on their musicianship and killer beats and fretboard runs.
The Downtown Livewires put on a show that is out of this world, absolutely engaging, full of fun and great party music, in which audiences keep calling them back for more!
I am never surprised when Roger Thomas and The Downtown Livewires Band brings the largest crowd of the summer to our City of Bentonville’s Orchard Concert Series. They bring their own crowd, and they have a great following. Over the last two years, they have proven to be professional, and one of the best sounds of any band we hire. We will continue to hire them for events in our city.
~ David Wright, Director of Parks and Recreation for the City of Bentonville
Need more recommendations? See Roger’s personal Facebook page where he not only has 4,200+ “Likes,” but segments them by town/city based on where the band plays for events. The Downtown Livewires have fans from all over—and a lot of them travel to every show within a few hours’ drive…so don’t sleep on this, thinking that you’ll always be able to get tickets! This will be a sold out show!
Kaz Hawkins—winner of Blues and Soul Magazine’s 2014 “Rising Star” Award and Blues Matters Magazine’s “Best Studio Album of 2015” award, among many others—is taking a little trip away from Ireland in December…because, where else would anyone be when they could be downtown on the Harrison, Arkansas square at our historic Lyric Theater!
Tickets are on sale now for the December 17 appearance of Kaz Hawkins. Kaz has been favorably compared to both Etta James and Janis Joplin; mixing through the genres of music she finally found her niche in roots music bringing a fun,
inspiring and hopeful message with her debut album Get Ready self-released in August 2014…and, as indicated in the first paragraph, she’s been out conquering the world ever since!
Called “A Vocal Force” on stage, Kaz Hawkins envelops the fighting spirit of a true powerhouse singer. Kaz is loved for her down to earth attitude, brings fun to every performance and is loved not only by her fans, but anyone who meets her.