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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Dewayne Bowman bringing Western swing music to Kings Prairie

Friday, August 10, 2012

Dewayne Bowman will bring members of his Swingin' West Band to perform Western swing music at the 13th annual Kings Prairie concert on Saturday.
Dewayne Bowman is looking forward to Saturday when he and his band will perform at the 13th annual Kings Prairie benefit concert, east of Monett.

"We try to help community projects like this," Bowman said. "I've known Al Brumley for 50 years. He was a friend of my dad's. I heard him when I was 8 or 9 years old. It was the first live music I'd heard that inspired me."

Bowman has been performing for over 40 years. His band was known as the International Road Show, named to coincide with a promotion for International tractors. In recent years, the group has been known as the Swingin' West Band.

"I traveled for years and years on the road," Bowman said. "I worked in Las Vegas with Johnny Western. We were the backup band for Johnny Russell and played with Johnny Paycheck. I worked with everybody over the years. We're still playing. We just don't travel much any more."

Bowman and his group have completed their season playing as the backup band for "Kelly's Country Junction" TV show. They are one of the groups performing authentic Western swing music, popularized by Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys.

"Western swing makes you want to pat your foot," Bowman said. "It was originally dance music. It's got some life to it. It takes some skill to play. It takes a long time to learn and then you want to enjoy it."

Bowman knew many of Bob Wills' band members and does some of their music. such as "Everything's Rosy Down at the Cozy Inn." They also play music introduced by Asleep at the Wheel in the Western swing style and others.

"We play Hank Williams' 'No Teardrops Tonight' in a Western swing style. It changes the whole outlook of the song," Bowman said.

Bowman comes from a family of musicians. His father, grandfather and uncles used to play for dances in the Wheaton, Stella and Neosho area. He will appear at the Kings Prairie concert with fiddler Ernie Reid, who often works with Mel Tillis; steel guitarist Scotty Henderson, "one of the best in the business;" bass player Gary Hill, who started playing with Bowman when they were both in high school; and Ronnie Bleacker on drums.

Bowman hopes to have some of the band's recordings available. The masters were displaced in the Joplin tornado, but Bowman plans to find some for the Kings Prairie audience.

"Al Brumley is a tremendous singer and a very talented gentleman," Bowman said. "I'm looking forward to working with him again. It will be fun."

Brumley will perform a set of songs by his father, gospel legend Albert E. Brumley, with guitar legend Dwayne Friend. Red Bridge will also play a set of bluegrass.

The music begins at 6 p.m. Concessions will begin serving at 5 p.m. Handicapped parking is available. Those attending are encouraged to bring lawn chairs.

Admission to the concert is free. Donations will be taken to maintain and upgrade the historic school as the local community center.

The concert will be held on the grounds of the historic Kings Prairie Community Center, located south of Highway 60, three miles east of Monett, on Highway Z one mile, then west on Farm Road 2015, across from the New Liberty Church.

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