Hangin’ with Mark Jones in Mountain View, Arkansas

After driving half way across the country to Minnesota and doing a three week renovation of my childhood home to get it ready for sale (mom and dad passed away earlier this year), I was pretty beat. However, I was pretty excited to get down to Harrison, Arkansas to stain my soon to be retirement home. So with my Expedition loaded to the hilt and my trailer not being able to hold any more stuff, I left Minnesota on my twelve hour trip (September 2nd).

The trip went pretty well. The weather hot, but nice and the traffic was pretty light for a Friday. I made it to my house at 7:30 PM and a friend of mine showed up to help me unload the trailer as it got dark. We visited for a bit, catching up on what we’d been up to and then called it a night.

Mark Jones,George McCormick,Grandpa Jones

Mark Jones, George McCormick and Grandpa Jones

Saturday Morning (September 3rd) I was up early to unload the car and get cleaned up. I was ready for some time just for fun. The Grandpa Jones Tribute show was taking place at the Ozark Folk Center in Mountain View, Arkansas. I knew my good friend Mark Jones (son of Grandpa) would be playing with the Jones Family Band, so I wanted to catch up with him in town.

I gave Mark Jones a call as I left the house and told him I’d be in town in about and hour and a half. He said he would be doing some errands in town and told me to give him a shout when I got there. So when I arrived I called him. Mark Jones was at the Mellon’s Country Store talking to the owner about selling some of his custom made jewelry. In the process, Don (owner) talked Mark Jones into playing banjo with a local musician for a song. Mark was glad to oblige and it was pretty fun when Don joining them with this big pole that had a wash board mounted on it with a frog and wobbly head on top. That was the percussion accompaniment. Lots of fun that all enjoyed.

Then we headed back to the Ozark Folk Center for a get together with WSM radio announcer and the Jones Family Band to tell stories about Grandpa and the band (most of which played at the Grandpa Jones Dinner Theater). It was loads of fun hearing those wild tales and how open the group was to answer visitor’s questions. Of course there was some impromptu music, too.

Afterwards, Mark and I join the band and their families for lunch and I got to meet and talk with most of them. Nowadays, Ramona Jones (Marks mom), Alisa Jones Wall (Mark Jones sister), Ron Wall (Mark Jones brother-in-law), Danny Dozier, Larry Sledge, Ruth McLain Smith, Greg Davis and of course Mark Jones makes up the band, and Greg Moody also joins in when he is available. These are some great musicians and great people too.

Friday night the Jones Family Band had played the first half of the show and The Whites played the second half. The Saturday night show started at 7pm and we all showed up in the main theater at around 6pm.

The Jones Family Band played the first half and Ramona was the best I’ve ever heard her. Her voice was clear and her fiddling was foot stomping good. Alisa wowed everyone with her hammer dulcimer and her husband Ron picks the auto harp like a lead guitar, amazing!

Danny Dozier and Mark played real fancy on Marks song called Bethesda Breakdown. Both of these guys can really play. They feel everything they play and take pride to always go the extra mile every time they play.

Ruth is such a tiny person (in size) and lugs that big stand up bass everywhere. She plays that thing like a drum…literally! She plays really well, sings very well and gets all sorts of percussion out of that bass. She is a hoot to watch.

Larry and Greg play several instruments and sing lead and backup vocals. They can play just about anything as most can in the band. The Jones Family show finished with Grandpa’s “Mountain Dew” which is always a big hit. Greg sang the lead on that one.

The Quebe Sisters out of Texas played the second half of the show. This is a Super little group around mid to late teens. I was talking to one of them during the Jones portion of the show and she was so excited (giddy) that she got to meet Ramona.

After the show was over all the entertainers were talking with people and signing autographs. Ramona was paying special attention to the young gals, had her arm around them as she spoke to them, and took pictures with them. I think it will be a night the girls will never forget.

But the night wasn’t over yet. In Mountain View, they have a town square where people gather on different corners and eating places to play, sing and listen to almost any kind of music you can imagine. So we headed down to jam a bit with some folks. It was a huge good time for me. It was the first time I had a chance to play my guitar on the square and I even kept up some of the time. When I couldn’t keep up, I enjoyed closely watching how Danny Dozier played.

It was a great experience and I can’t wait until the next time I get back down to Arkansas. There is so much fun to have there, riding my motorcycle, watching the elk, hiking, fishing, town events. Then of course the Ozark Folk Center, Bean Fest, out house races and all that stuff in Mountain View.

Life to be continued……..lol

Jay Mueller | Making Money on the Inter.net

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