Lowell Opry Show returns to the stage in a new location! | Georgian times
After much anticipation from a large local fan base, the blockbuster classic country music show that had sold out for eleven years is finally returning after the closure and sale of the popular venue that housed the show just before. the COVID-19 pandemic, the new location is at Copeland Hall in Bowdon, Georgia.
The idea for “The Lowell Opry Show” was conceived by George Britt in 2008 at a time when he and his group “The George Britt Band” were performing in the South East at festivals and clubs and hearing repeatedly fans who wanted to see them. perform but wished for a more family atmosphere. Soon George and his son Joseph began a labor of love creating an intimate country retreat in a barn that also served as an airplane hangar on his property in Lowell, Georgia. The vision and hard work paid off and, with the help of his wife Joann, took care of the logistics with occasional appearances on stage as Maw, Joseph portraying Bubba, local celebrity host David Steen With Ric Christman performing the sound and the award-winning house band members who had individually won their own followers on the music scene, tickets for the show had to be purchased well in advance.
“I really didn’t expect the show to become so popular but I soon learned that there were a lot of the locals who wanted this type of entertainment, we quickly had over a hundred from season ticket holders and several local sponsors, ”said Britt. “I am very grateful to have been fortunate enough to have lived in this region during a period where I was able to meet and become friends and share the stage with so many local music legends. When I first started my musical activities, my wife Joann was taking boxing lessons with a local sheriff’s deputy, Pete Smith, who sadly passed away recently.
“Pete and I became friends and he encouraged me to join him on stage. Pete, also known as The Singing Smokey, later introduced me to legendary local steel guitarist Charlie Vaughn who ended up playing with me for many years before he passed away. If you want good classical country music you have to have a great steel player, “added Britt. “Our audience was then introduced to Tommy Dodd. Tommy, perhaps the hottest steel player in the state, had people coming from miles away to catch his. He also became a great friend to us before that. his life is tragically cut short due to an unexpected illness.
The band’s current steel player, Tim Hamilton, has carved his place among the great steel players in Georgia, playing for 10 years with the house band “Cowboys” in Kennesaw, and shared the stage with many country music stars such as Travis Tritt, Daryle Singletary, Tracy Lawrence, Tracy Byrd and Keith Urban to name a few, in addition to being inducted into the Atlanta Country Music Hall of Fame.
“Tim is not only an amazing steel player, but also a very talented singer with a humble and sympathetic personality and we think he will be a great addition to our show,” said Britt.
Following up on his memories with Assistant Pete Smith, Britt added, “Pete also took me to lunch one day at the Maple Street Mansion where, when you walked in, you swore you heard Willie on stage. Then there was a song by Merle Haggard and every nuance of Sing Me Back Home in Merle’s singing style was duplicated.
“Jimmy Caldwell (aka The Man of a Thousand Voices) can barely see, but whatever he lacks in sight he certainly makes up for with the talent he shares with our audience thanks to his place on vocals and many instruments. which he plays. Jimmy has been with the band for over ten years.
Mark Lyle is a singer, guitarist and songwriter who has been with the band since its inception.
“Mark is a great songwriter and he and I first met when I attended a local Nashville Songwriters Association meeting where he was the coordinator,” Britt said. “We then collaborated on some songs and were good friends and played music together for many years.
Lyle has also been honored by the Georgia Country Music Association and owns a digital recording studio where the band records often.
“Another legendary artist and member of the Lowell Opry Show in the early years was singer and pianist Olin Ivey.
“I had often heard of Olin as an incredible artist from the Carrollton area and Joann even had memories of going with her family to the ‘Wild West Amusement Park’ in Panama City when she was a child and ‘hearing the town sheriff sing and play the piano, “Brett said.” “Olin had long since retired from his travels as an artist when I invited him to be a part of our show, but when ‘he joined us on stage, it was obvious he was having as much fun as he was sharing with the crowd, whether he was playing a wonderful rendition of’ Last Date ‘or was responsible for the roaring laughter from the audience responding to the ‘one of his jokes.
Then one New Years Eve with the George Britt Band, after singing and performing his much requested rendition of “Rocky Top”, he released the song “Rainy Night in Georgia” just before collapsing on stage “and it was was the last time we ‘I never heard him play,’ said Britt. “But what a wonderful time we shared while he was here.”
The rhythm section of the George Britt Band consists of local Bowdon musician and businessman Jerry Rollins on bass guitar and Jim Findley, a Bowdon native who now resides in Wedowee, Alabama, at the drums.
“The guys in the background who hold everything together are often overlooked, but without them we wouldn’t really be a group. Britt said. “All musicians know how much a band depends on the rhythm section and it’s rare to find a drummer and bassist as in sync as Jerry and Jim. Of course, it probably helps that they’ve been playing in bands together since they were in high school, probably best known for playing in the popular Bowdon band ‘Collegiates’ which I was told was drunk. talented.
Findley is also known to take on the role of host of The Lowell Opry Show, occasionally sharing a few jokes he picked up along the way.
The Lowell Opry Show has also featured many guest artists over the years including Doug Stone, John Berry, Katie Deal, and many local artists and groups. George says the plan is to continue to feature more emerging artists as part of their show. Local celebrity Mimi Gentry, who has been a frequent guest and performer, is a local favorite and is expected to perform and host other shows to come.
The upcoming show on Saturday, December 4 will feature George Britt’s band performing a variety of new songs as well as original and classical country music and will be hosted by singer-songwriter David Steen with local artist Phil Coley. .
The shows take place on the first Saturday of each month.
The new venue for the show is at Copeland Hall 103 Barr Ave. in Bowdon, which can accommodate up to 550 people and is air conditioned. Admission is $ 10. and tickets are sold at the door. Doors open at 6 p.m. and start of the show at 7 p.m.