by Claudia Johnson
Real Country Music fans will not want to miss this! Ronnie Moore and the Almost Strangers are playing at STAAR Theater at Antoinette Hall on the historic Pulaski, Tennessee, courthouse square on Sept. 15. Joining Moore is Leona Williams and her son, Ron Williams.
Moore said that on a trip somewhere between Kansas and Tennessee, he tuned into what was supposed to be a No. 1 Country station and shook his head.
“As I drove back toward Nashville, I listened to the modern hits and wondered how my old stomping grounds had wandered so astray,” he recalled. Recently, a prominent pop-country singer had called classic country a genre for “old farts” and “grandpas.”
“I wondered if any of these new songs on the radio would still be played in 20 years. Or 30 or 40 or 50,” he mused, concluding, “Probably not.”
When Moore got home, he grabbed a pen and quickly wrote his first tune in several years, “Where Did Real Country Go?” The song led to several other recordings, and soon Moore had a full-fledged live show featuring some of Tennessee’s best players and Country’s classics hits.
Leona Williams, who recently appeared on “Country Family Reunion,” will be headlining with Moore. During Williams’ five-year marriage to Merle Haggard, the couple toured together and had a Top 10 hit “The Bull and the Beaver.” They charted in the Top 50 with a duet “We’re Strangers Again.” Williams wrote two of Haggard’s No. 1 hits, “Someday When Things Are Good” and “You Take Me For Granted.”
Active in the music industry since 1958, Williams worked as a bass guitarist and backing vocalist in Loretta Lynn ‘s road band. By 1968, Williams signed to the Hickory record label and released two singles: “Once More” and “Country Girl with Hot Pants On.” In 1976, she recorded the album “San Quentin’s First Lady” for MCA Records with The Strangers, which was the first country album recorded by a female artist inside a prison.
A talented songwriter, she also wrote songs for Connie Smith, including “Dallas,” and Loretta Lynn’s “Get Whatcha Got And Go” as well as others. In 2017, Williams won the Honky Tonk Female honor at the Ameripolitan Music Awards She regularly performs on the ”Grand Ole Opry” at Branson, Missouri.
The Sept. 15 concert benefits the non-profit activities of STAAR Theatre, including production of live theatre, arts and theatre education for children, preservation of the 1868 Antoinette Hall Opera House, which will be open for tours after the concert, and presentation of traveling acts, musicians and shows, including an upcoming presentation of “The Ryman Dairies” in September.
Tickets are $15, and a food truck will be on hand to offer dinner beginning at 6 p.m. until the show starts at 7 p.m. Reserve tickets online at antoinettehall.com.