Upcoming Episode

57 Merle Travis Thumbpicking Weekend 2016

This week, guitar legend Merle Travis performs live at the Ozark Folk Center State Park in Mountain View, Arkansas. A performance by Merle’s son, Grammy award winning songwriter, guitarist, and actor Tom Bresh. Also, performances from two thumbpicking guitar champions, Danny Dozier & Randy Buckner.

In 1979, the Ozark Folk Center State Park created an event to honor thumbpicking legend Merle Travis. In the early days the weekend featured a thumpicking contest and performances from the late Merle Travis and other popular guitarists. Over the years the event has continued on, and now hosts Merle’s son, Thom Bresh, as the feature performer each year. The event has grown to include traditional thumbpicking and contemporary fingerstyle guitar contests as well as workshops and jam sessions. This week, we feature performances from Thom Bresh, Danny Dozier, Randy Buckner, and an archival recording of Merle Travis himself, performing at the very first Ozark Folk Center Merle Travis Thumbpicking Weekend.

Merle Robert Travis was an American country and western singer, songwriter, and guitarist born in Rosewood, Kentucky. His song's lyrics often discussed both the lives and the economic exploitation of American coal miners. Among his many well-known songs are "Sixteen Tons," "I am a Pilgrim," and "Dark as a Dungeon." However, it is his unique guitar style, still called “Travis Picking” by guitarists, as well as his interpretations of the rich musical traditions of his native Muhlenberg County, Kentucky, for which he is best known today. He was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970 and elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1977.

Thom Bresh has led an incredible, multi-faceted life in the entertainment business. To start, his birth father is guitar royalty, Merle Travis. Thom was raised in California during the golden age of television and worked as a stuntman/actor during his youth. He went on to become one of the premier practitioners of his fathers “thumbpicking” style of guitar. Harnessing a quick wit and an equally quick set of ten fingers, there is nothing like a Thom Bresh performance.

Danny Dozier is an Arkansas native and proud of it. He is one of the area’s premier guitar players, well versed in the Merle Travis “thumbpicking” style. Danny has worked with a wide variety of performers over the years including; Grandpa and Ramona Jones, Omar and the Howlers and regional favorite, The Leatherwoods.

Randy Buckner also plays the Merle Travis style of thumbpicking, as well as teaching guitar, banjo, ukulele, and mandolin in Springfield, Mo. A Springfield native, Randy has been playing guitar since 1973. He studied Jazz at Middle Tennessee State University, and has shared the stage with many great musicians including the legend himself, Merle Travis.

In this week’s “From the Vault” segment, musician, educator, and country music legacy Mark Jones offers an archival recording of Ozark originals Dean Hinesley & Andre Cannard performing the classic song “I Don’t Love Nobody,” from the Ozark Folk Center State Park archives.

Radio from the Ozarks by People who Live There

Ozark Highlands Radio is a weekly radio program that features live music, jam sessions and interviews recorded at Ozark Folk Center State Park’s beautiful 1,000-seat auditorium in Mountain View, Ark. In addition to the music, our “Feature Host” segments take listeners on a musical journey with historians, authors and personalities who explore the people, stories and history of the Ozark region. From popular annual festivals to fun music workshops, there’s always a song in the air in the Ozarks.

You’re invited to be a part of the Ozark Highlands Radio audience. Shows run Thursday through Saturday (Mid-April through the end of October). Stay tuned for our 2017 show line up, so you can start planning your visits.

Admission to most evening shows is $12 and all seating is general admission, available the day of the show. Nightly concerts start at 7 p.m., doors open at 6 p.m. A few select performances will be all reserved seating, so watch our calendar for more information. Book a room at the Cabins at Dry Creek and check out the southern-style cooking at the Skillet Restaurant. Give us a call to learn about discounted combination tickets to Ozark Folk Center State Park and the Arts & Craft Village, annual festivals, season passes and other packages at 800-264-3655.


Tune in to these listener-supported/public radio stations:

KUAR: Little Rock, AR
FRI 8 p.m. 89.1FM
KASU: Jonesboro, AR
SAT 2 p.m. 91.9FM
KUAF: Fayetteville, AR
Sat 6 p.m. 88.9 FM
KFFB: Fairfield Bay, AR
SUN 6 a.m. 106.1FM
KSMU: Springfield, MO
SUN 8 p.m. 91.1 FM
K255AH: Joplin, MO
SUN 8 p.m. 98.9 FM
KSMW: West Plains, MO
SUN 8 p.m. 90.3 FM
K204FX: Mountain Grove, MO
SUN 8 p.m. 88.7 FM
KKRN: Round Mountain, CA
SAT 12 Noon 88.5 FM
KSMS: Point Lookout/Branson, MO
SUN 8 p.m. 90.5 FM
K279AD: Neosho, MO
SUN 8 p.m. 103.7 FM
WETSHD2: Johnson City, TN
WED 9 p.m. and SAT 9.a.m. ET. 89.5 FM

WTIP: Grand Marais, MN
SUN 11 a.m. 90.7 FM

Hosted by Dave Smith

Dave moved to Stone County in 1972 at the age of twenty and began attending the old-time musicals at Lonnie Lee’s house in the community of Fox. He was completely captivated by the old songs and tunes. He would spend Saturday night at Lonnie’s and the rest of week learning what he had heard. He plays guitar, fiddle, claw-hammer banjo, button accordion, and along with Robert and Mary Gillihan, he’s part of the musical group Harmony.


Recent Episodes

56 OHR Offstage: Dom Flemons, Don Edwards, & Jerron Paxton

This week, two Grammy Award winning old time musicians and an up and coming folk/blues sensation perform live at the Ozark Folk Center State Park Craft Village. Featured on this special episode are Dom Flemons, Don Edwards, and Jerron Paxton.

One of the unique experiences for visitors to the Ozark Folk Center is the intimate matinee performances by our guest musicians. The shows are a unique way for musicians and guests share a time and space much different than a traditional indoor performance venue. There are often Q &A sessions, jokes, stories and of course, the occasional request from an audience member that make these sets so popular.

These performances take place in the backdrop of the Ozark Folk Center State Park Craft Village, a large outdoor area, home to over 20 artisans who demonstrate traditional and contemporary craftsmanship on site. Nestled in the center of the Craft Village is an old wooden covered stage. The area seats about 50 people but is always overflowing with people for the matinee sets by our guest artists.

Dom Flemons is a Grammy Award winning musician & singer-songwriter. Carrying on the songster tradition, Flemons strives to mix traditional music forms with a contemporary approach, to create new sounds that will appeal to wider audiences. Flemons co-found the Carolina Chocolate Drops, an African-American string band that won a Grammy for its 2010 album Genuine Negro Jig. Today, he tours throughout the United States and internationally as “The American Songster.

One of America’s best loved and most enduring cowboy singers, Don Edwards is indeed an American treasure. His love and passion for traditional cowboy songs is second to none and has earned him a fan base worldwide. He knows the songs, the stories, and even some of the old trails that made the old West famous. Accompanied by his trusty guitar, Don takes us on a trip back in time when cowboy singers and songs echoed through the trails, taverns, and cattle drive camps of yesterday.

Jerron "Blind Boy" Paxton is an American musician from Los Angeles. A vocalist and multi-instrumentalist, Paxton's style draws from blues and jazz music before World War II and was influenced by Fats Waller and "Blind" Lemon Jefferson. According to Will Friedwald in the Wall Street Journal, Paxton is "virtually the only music-maker of his generation—playing guitar, banjo, piano and violin, among other implements—to fully assimilate the blues idiom of the 1920s and '30s, the blues of Bessie Smith and Lonnie Johnson."

In this week’s “From the Vault” segment, musician, educator, and country music legacy Mark Jones offers an archival recording of Ozark original Adrian Parks performing the classic song “Under the Double Eagle,” from the Ozark Folk Center State Park archives.

From his series entitled “Fine Fiddlers of the Ozarks,” old time and Ozark fiddle aesthete Roy Pilgrim profiles the legendary Ozark fiddler Uncle Dick Hutchinson. This installment features archival recordings of the classic fiddle tunes “Christmas Eve, Judge Parker Take Your Shackles Off, Hell on the Nine Mile, and Sharecropper’s Blues.”

55 David Holt & Josh Goforth

This week, Grammy Award winning old time musician and TV personality David Holt performs live at the Ozark Folk Center State Park. Performing with David is his talented protégé Josh Goforth. Also, interviews with David & Josh.

In the early 1970’s David Holt made a journey to the rural Southeastern U.S. in search of the roots of American music. What he discovered had a profound effect on him as a person and a musician. Over the years David has been a sideman with Doc Watson, performed at the Grand Ole Opry, was a cast member on Hee Haw with Grandpa Jones, and even won a Grammy Award for his work with Doc Watson. Today, David enjoys a successful solo career and performers regularly with a variety of other musicians. For this show, David was joined by long- time friend and former protégé Josh Goforth. The two met when Josh was in grade school, where David was performing for a group of students. As fate would have it, they kept in touch and are now band mates all these years later.

In this week’s “From the Vault” segment, musician, educator, and country music legacy Mark Jones offers an archival recording of Ozark original Guyman Gammill singing a rare traditional song “White Dove,” from the Ozark Folk Center State Park archives.

From his series entitled “Fine Fiddlers of the Ozarks,” old time and Ozark fiddle aesthete Roy Pilgrim profiles the legendary Ozark fiddler Pete Howard. This installment features modern recordings of the classic fiddle tunes “Fire on the Mountain, Natchez Under the Hill, and Bear Creek.”


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