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PHARR – The Riverside Club in Mission is hosting a line-up of music legends—Gene Watson, Moe Bandy and T.G. Sheppard—for one night in a “Classic Country Concert” on Friday, Jan. 31, at the Pharr Events Center, 3000 N. Cage. Show time is 7 p.m.
Ticket prices start at $25.50 plus fees for the “Standing Room Only” crowd. Reserved seat tickets at the tables are $37.50 plus fees. Purchase tickets online at the Pharr Events Center, the Riverside Club in Mission, ticketmaster.com or any Ticketmaster outlet.
It’s been over 50 years since Gene Watson began his professional career in 1962 by recording his first single.
Reflecting on that first recording as a 19-year-old, he said, “I didn’t know what I was doing. I think maybe I was dreaming a little bit. Who knows what’s going through your mind back then? I was playing nightclubs here and there and decided it might be good if I could record a song…. I wrote the record, ‘If It Was That Easy.’ It was not any good, but, boy, I thought that was something. I had my own record.”
He always felt he came by it naturally with the entire family—all seven siblings and his parents—
Singing. But, he paid his learning curve dues from that first record and it paid off in a decades-long success earning the respect of his fans and his peers, including Trace Adkins, Brad Paisley, Alan Jackson, Randy Travis and Vince Gill.
It’s a career that’s produced a vast legacy of songs, with 20 of them hitting the Top 10 on the country music charts, such as his signature song, “Farewell Party,” No. 5; “Love in the Hot Afternoon,” No. 3; “Fourteen Carat Mind,” No. 1; and “You’re Out Doing What I’m Here Doing Without,” No. 2.
His career has survived and thrived, and Watson has, too—with a few changes along the way. He quit drinking in 1980 and quit smoking in 1990. He underwent surgery and survived colon cancer at the beginning of the new Millennium. Yet he continued to record one critically-acclaimed collection after another through it all, and he was recognized for that success when he was inducted into the Texas Music Hall of Fame in 2002.
Some say he’s talented for “being at the right place at the right time,” but it takes talent to have a tight string of 21 No. 1 singles on the country music charts. That’s what T. G. Sheppard did in the 70s and 80s. Fifteen other singles were ranked in the Top 10 during that time.
Born in Humboldt, Tenn., Sheppard dropped out of school at age 15 to run away from home and pursue his music career in Memphis. That was 1959.
But, it was in 1974 he was signed under a Motown country label and his career seemed to take off before the ink was dry on the contract. That was the year “Devil in the Bottle” hit the No. 1 spot quickly followed by “Tryin’ to Beat the Morning Home” in 1975. He kept pumping them out and hit a long streak of chart-topping No. 1 singles from 1979-1983, with a few record label changes along the way. He was just hitting the U.S. country charts, but he was making it on Billboard and the Canadian charts as well.
Sheppard started out as Brian Stacy and when he released his first record, “High School Days,” he became an opening artist for legendaries like the Beach Boys, Jan & Dean, and the Animals.
His track to success earned him the “Best New Male Artist” by Cashbox. But, his style positioned him to this crossover success when the public was ready for the changes country music was making with its updated “pop” sound.
They say “What goes around comes around.” Maybe that’s why he’s been so successful. Sheppard gives back. He is not only musically talented and a savvy businessman, he’s counted his blessings and shared them with others, working for causes such as Childhelp USA, St. Jude Children’s Hospital, United Way, Cerebral Palsy, Alzheimer’s Association and other organizations.
Moe Bandy is one of America’s all-time leading classic country music and has one of the smoothest-sounding voices in the industry, giving you a sense of true country “Americana.” It’s only fitting that’s the name of one of his signature songs.
His longevity in the industry is reflected in ten No. 1 hits, 40 Top Ten hits, 66 Chart hits and five gold albums. That success is further exemplified in receiving the ACM Song of The Year, ACM Most Promising Male Vocalist of the Year, American Video of the Year and ACM and CMA Duet of the Year.
That line-up of hits includes "Bandy The Rodeo Clown," "Hank Williams, You Wrote My Life," "Till I’m Too Old To Die Young," "Americana," "It's A Cheatin' Situation," "Just good Ol' Boys," "Barstool Mountain," "I Cheated Me Right Out of You," "I Just Started Hatin' Cheatin' Songs Today," and "Rodeo Romeo."
His roots run deep in all things country, from his bull riding days in Texas to working as a sheet metal worker by day and playing Honkey Tonks at night—singing his traditional sound. The same tenacity that keeps the cowboy on the bull—and his way with a song—is what kept Bandy firmly rooted in country music scene when the pop country music was making its way into America’s music fabric.
The way the story is told by his publicist, “The Texas singer with twin fiddles and steel guitar in the band, he kept Texas-style Honkey Tonk music alive, but it wasn't easy. In 1972 Moe met record producer Ray Baker on a hunting trip and convinced him to listen to some demo tapes he had made. Baker agreed to produce Moe if he was willing to pay for recording session. Moe agreed and out of that session came Moe's first hit song ‘I just Started Hatin Cheatin' Songs Today.’”
The song was picked up, released and became a Top 20 hit. That was the beginning, so why change things? He “never strayed far from the traditionally Honky Tonk fare” as he climbed his ladder of success. To put it simply, Moe Bandy likes to perform, and he does a good job of it.
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The Progress Times is the hometown newspaper for the local communities of Mission, Sharyland, Alton, Palmview, La Joya and surrounding areas in Western Hidalgo County. We have a staff of veteran reporters who work diligently every week to bring our readers the latest news as it affects their hometown area and people.