After greater than a decade and a half of performing in Branson, The Sons Music Celebration has a brand new dwelling at The Little Opry Theatre.
That includes the skills of Tom Johnson, Wealthy Watson and Barry Arwood, The Sons have a powerful Branson historical past, which started at Silver Greenback Metropolis 16 years in the past.
“We had been the Sons of the Silver Greenback on the market (at Silver Greenback Metropolis). We began out as cowboy singers for a cowboy competition. That’s sort of the place we obtained the title, like Sons of the Pioneers, Sons of the San Joaquin, we had been Sons of the Silver Greenback and we had been the hometown group there,” Johnson stated. “After that competition, that they had a bluegrass competition and so they stated, ‘Guys are you able to come again and sing some bluegrass music?’ We checked out one another and stated, ‘Nicely, we realized the cowboy music, I believe we are able to do bluegrass.’ So we did each competition on the market. In actual fact this previous yr we even did a Christmas present and had a blast.”
Situated contained in the Branson Imax Leisure Advanced, The Little Opry Theatre has welcomed a number of new reveals for the 2021 season. Johnson stated after they realized the theatre had a gap, they jumped on the likelihood.
“One thing opened up for the ten o’clock present right here,” Johnson stated. “Wealthy says ‘We’ve obtained to do phrase searches for unemployment, so let’s go audition.’ We auctioned and on the finish of it they stated, ‘When do you wish to begin?’
“It was a chance we had talked about prior to now, to have our personal present. However to go to an enormous theater, we didn’t wish to peddle ourselves, so this was a chance. The theater is superior. 5 rows deep, 200 seats and simply essentially the most intimate of alternatives to have the ability to share our music and do our full live performance versus the little concert events we had been doing prior to now. When that opened up, all three of us checked out one another and stated, ‘Yeah, I believe we must always.’ We’re taking an opportunity and having a blast.”
After nailing the audition and receiving their time slot within the theatre, the singing group solely had three weeks to get issues prepared earlier than they took the stage for the primary time collectively at The Little Opry Theatre.
“We did our very first present on Might 5. We knew that we had a present on April 20. It was a fast turnaround,” Arwood stated. “We get alongside and we work properly collectively. We obtained within the studio, we put our heads collectively and we did what we wanted to do. We’ve been having enjoyable ever since. It actually hasn’t been an extremely hectic yr. It’s actually been a whole lot of enjoyable.”
Throughout The Sons 80 minute efficiency, audiences will hear music from quite a lot of completely different eras and genres.
“It’s a full selection present,” Watson stated. “From the bluegrass music to patriotic, cowboy, nation, ‘50s and ‘60s, comedy and an entire selection, and every thing they might love to listen to and so they can sing alongside to.”
Company of the present may also be handled to a wide range of completely different music artists, in addition to a brand new, distinctive sort of bluegrass.
“We perform a little little bit of John Denver. We do Seashore Boys and Beatles, however we do them in a bluegrass fashion. We name it Beachgrass and Beatlegrass. We do Creedence Clearwater Revival in a bluegrass fashion,” Arwood stated. “We do Chicago. We do comedy songs from the ‘50s and ‘60s. We do The Everly Brothers, The Righteous Brothers and The Statler Brothers. We do The Imperials. We do some basic gospel stuff and we do some little bit newer gospel stuff. We do some nation and just a little little bit of every thing. We’ve obtained a brand new music. We name it ‘Nation Throughout The Nation’ and I believe there may be 5 completely different songs and 5 completely different artists from that ‘90s period of nation music.”
Although they’ve a big catalog of songs, the icing on the cake for every of The Sons reveals — whether or not they’re in Branson or on the street touring — has constantly been the efficiency of 1 single music.
“The ‘Mississippi Squirrel Revival,’” Johnson stated. “It’s our most requested music wherever we go.’
Written and carried out by American Nation Music Singer Ray Stevens, the ‘Mississippi Squirrel Revival’ was launched in 1984. Quick ahead to at the moment and The Sons are unable to go anyplace with out being requested to sing in regards to the day a squirrel went berserk within the First Self-Righteous Church in Pascagoula, Mississippi.
“After we go on tour, we pull into the car parking zone,” Arwood stated. “If the pastor is there ready for us — there have been instances we haven’t even open the automotive doorways, the automotive remains to be working and now we have rolled down the window to ask the place we must always park — and so they’ll go, ‘Simply park across the again and also you’re going to do the squirrel music, proper?’ It’s all the time the very first thing individuals wish to know.”
As The Sons have begun to determine momentum with their new present, Arwood stated they’re making ready to take their manufacturing to the subsequent stage.
“Proper now we’re doing one present. Now that we’ve sort of gotten our toes on the bottom, we’re on the point of change issues up. We’re going to finish up doing two fully completely different reveals, so the individuals can get some extra selection,” Arwood stated. “We’ve 200 plus minutes of music and that was the toughest half. The primary time we went by means of and had been like, ‘Let’s do that, this and this.’ We had been nonetheless at 115 minutes and we nonetheless needed to lower six or seven extra songs.”
As soon as the brand new second present has been created, The Sons may also be taking one other step to evolve their manufacturing by making one in every of their weekly performances a whole gospel present. Earlier than they start the gospel solely present, Arwood stated they’re targeted on creating their Christmas present, which is simply across the nook.
“Our Christmas present will in all probability be a whole lot of Christmas music, however it would even be a whole lot of gospel as properly,” Arwood stated. “These two, they go hand-in-hand. It’s laborious to rejoice the delivery of Christ with out singing gospel music.”
Of their present present, The Sons do embody the music “Mary, Did You Know” as a part of their music line-up. Whereas the music has historically been tied to Christmas time, Johnson defined what led them to maintain the music part of their present year-round.
“Final yr was the primary yr we did the Christmas present at Silver Greenback Metropolis. We felt prefer it was going to be one of many extra highly effective songs,” Johnson stated. “Our supervisor on the market … stated, ‘Guys in spite of everything these years, that is my favourite music for not solely your concord, however the message of the music is so good.’ However actually it’s not only a Christmas music. When you consider it, yeah it references Mary, nevertheless it talks about Jesus’ complete ministry. It simply brings this complete message to the viewers.”
For the stream of the present, the trio has not solely made positive to incorporate a wide range of music genres, however they’ve taken the time to characteristic a gradual combination of each upbeat and slower music picks.
“An excessive amount of hype or an excessive amount of gradual and also you lose the oldsters. Guys will go to sleep, of us will get worn out. After we sat down, we needed to ensure we coated just a little little bit of every thing within the genres, but additionally just a little little bit of every thing within the tempos,” Johnson stated. “It simply maintains quite a lot of consideration from the viewers, as a result of they don’t know what to anticipate subsequent. It retains them on their toes and it’s simply a lot enjoyable for us, as a result of we’re not doing all nation or all bluegrass. We do just a bit little bit of every thing all over.”
Although they’re solely of their first season at The Little Opry Theatre, The Sons are already going to be including new showtimes within the coming months, to offer audiences much more alternatives to soak up a present.
“By way of the summer season and up by means of Labor Day, it’s going to be Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 10 a.m.” Watson stated. “Then from that time on, by means of Christmas, we can be Tuesday by means of Saturday at 10 a.m. We’re enthusiastic about that.”
Johnson is the one founding member of The Sons to nonetheless be with the group. After shifting to the realm in 1988, Johnson obtained his begin in Branson leisure in 1993 performing alongside Rudy Gatlin of The Gatlin Brothers in a manufacturing of “Oklahoma.” In 1996, he joined the solid of the unique manufacturing of The Promise. In 2001 he started his journey with Silver Greenback Metropolis, which led to roles in reveals together with For The Glory, Charles Dickens “A Christmas Carol” after which The Sons in 2005.
Watson is celebrating his fifteenth season in Branson. He obtained into the Branson leisure scene with a job within the second manufacturing of The Promise. Watson is presently in his thirteenth season with Smoke on the Mountain, one other Little Opry Theatre present. Then eight years in the past, Watson went to Silver Greenback Metropolis the place he joined The Sons.
Latest to the group, Arwood has been a member of The Sons since touchdown the place in 2018. He started his Branson leisure journey 4 years in the past with a job in Smoke on the Mountain. Alongside his time with The Sons, Arwood additionally performs within the present Superior 80s at The Americana Theatre and infrequently performs within the reveals New Jersey Nights and Dancing Queen at The King’s Fortress Theatre.
For added details about The Sons present, ticket reservations and a take a look at the total schedule, go to bransonimax.com/opry or go to their new web page on Fb ‘The Sons Branson.’