Lee Greenwood to Star at 60th Anniversary Neewollah Concert with Added Attraction Kyle Dillingham, October 27 at Memorial Hall


Lee Greenwood to Star at 60th Anniversary Neewollah Concert with Added Attraction Kyle Dillingham, October 27 at Memorial Hall

The nine day Halloween themed festival will also feature the festival’s co-founder, Jim Halsey, as Grand Marshal of the Grand Parade on October 27

The Neewollah Festival will celebrate its 60th Anniversary from October 19-27, in downtown Independence, Kansas. The famous nine day Halloween themed festival will feature live theatrical productions, concerts, three different parades, 5K/10K fun runs, pageants, a carnival, a chili cook off, vendors, food and more.

Neewollah was revived into a multi-day celebration in 1958 by legendary music impresario and Independence, Kansas native, Jim Halsey, along with Jerry Webb, Bob Wohltman, and Don Dancer. The first Neewollah celebration actually dates all the way back to 1919 as an effort to provide positive activities for kids of all ages in place of the typical Halloween pranks that occurred in the community. In the beginning the events centered on parades of decorated cars and carriages during the morning, afternoon, and night on October 31.

In 1981 HBO produced a music special from Neewollah – also organized by Jim Halsey, Sherman Halsey, and directed by award winner Marty Calliner – starring Roy Clark, Merle Haggard, Ronnie Milsap, Johnny Lee, Charlie Rich and Lacy J Dalton. Other stars that have headlined the festival over the years have been Don Williams, Mel Tillis, BJ Thomas, Roy Clark, Oak Ridge Boys, Reba McEntire, Ray Price, and The Bellamy Brothers.

Today, Neewollah is the largest annual celebration in Kansas. The city of Independence will grow from a town of just under 10,000 inhabitants to 75,000 in the final days of the now 10-day celebration. Today’s celebration now includes 3 parades, a Doo Dah Parade (adult Kiddie Parade), a Kiddies Parade and a Grand Parade. Other activities include a chili cook-off, a hometown musical, and a queen’s pageant also adds to the festival activities. The main downtown is filled with a variety of food vendors, a large carnival and bandstand for nightly entertainment. The arts and craft show, the band competition, and the fun run provide activities for everyone.

The Neewollah Festival will conclude on Saturday, October 27 with the Grand Parade, featuring the festival’s co-founder Jim Halsey as the Grand Marshal, followed by a concert that evening with iconic Country music star, Lee Greenwood, along with Americana performer Kyle Dillingham at Memorial Hall. This will mark Lee Greenwood’s third appearance at the Neewollah Festival.

Grammy award winner Lee Greenwood has more than 30 albums to his credit, seven #1 songs, 25 charted singles, and a CMA Song of the Year award in 1985 for his most recognizable, and patriotic song, “God Bless the USA.” Other hits from him include “It Turns Me Inside Out,” “ Ring on her Finger Time on her Hands,” “She’s Lying,” “ I Don’t Mind the Thorns if You’re the Rose,” “Dixie Road,” “Somebody’s Gonna Love You,” “Going, Going Gone,” “You Got a Good Love Comin,” “Fools Gold,” and “ Mornin’ Ride.”

Also joining on the stage that evening will be Oklahoma’s official musical ambassador and fiddle extraordinaire, Kyle Dillingham and his band, Horseshoe Road. Dillingham is a classically trained fiddle player who first picked up a violin when he was just nine years old. Eight years later, he gave two featured performances at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. Together, Dillingham and his band have represented America internationally in 37 countries. More recently, Dillingham was nominated by the National Endowment for the Arts to officially represent the United States in the NEA’s American Music Abroad program, and performed at the NEA’s awards banquet in Washington D.C. on September 28. This rare opportunity was a huge honor as Kyle Dillingham also paid homage to famed clothing designer, Manuel Cuevas at the ceremony. Kyle, who often wears suits designed by Manuel on stage has formed a friendship and deep respect for Manuel since their first visit together. On stage, Dillingham performs a mix of his band’s original songs, along with classic covers and fiddlin’ favorites that are sure to have audiences on their feet.

For more information, and to buy advance online tickets for the Neewollah Festival, visit www.neewollah.com or the festival’s Facebook Event Page. Help lines for online ticket sales is 620-330-6834 or 620-330-0675, and will be open from 10:00 am – 6:00 pm CT, Monday thru Friday.

About Neewollah Festival:
The Neewollah (“Halloween” spelled backwards) celebration began in 1919 as an effort to provide positive activities for kids of all ages in place of the typical Halloween pranks that occurred in the community of Independence, Kansas. In the beginning the events centered on parades, morning, afternoon, and night on October 31. The parades consisted mainly of decorated cars and carriages. Queens and princesses from area festivals rode in the parades, along with their own Queen Neelah who was selected based on votes bought at a penny each. The Great Depression and World War II interrupted the Neewollah celebration but in 1958 four businessmen revived and elaborated on the Neewollah theme bringing it back as a 3-day celebration featuring big-name music and recording stars.

Live at Billy Bob’s Texas Series Celebrates 20th Anniversary With Some of Country Music’s Biggest Stars’ Recordings



Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, The Charlie Daniels Band, Asleep at the Wheel, and David Allan Coe Recordings Turned Into AXS-TV Specials

In 1998, in partnership with Smith Music Group, led by Rick Smith, Sr., Billy Bob’s Texas began recording live performances from select artists taking the stage of the award-winning nightclub to be part of their Live at Billy Bob’s Texas series. The series launched with back to back recordings of Pat Green and Merle Haggard. Now, in 2018, the famed series is celebrating its 20th Anniversary.

“The Live at Billy Bob’s recordings give music fans who haven’t been to The World’s Largest Honky Tonk an opportunity to hear and feel the energy of a live show,” says Billy Bob’s VP of Marketing, Pam Minick. “For those who have experienced it in person, it’s another chance to relive it all over again. The series really captures the diversity of Billy Bob’s as we’ve recorded everything from Texas music newcomers to country music legends.”

Artists who have participated in the series range from national country music stars like Tanya Tucker, Roy Clark, T. Graham Brown, Exile, Johnny Lee, Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers, Collin Raye, Mark Wills, Lynn Anderson, Joe Diffie, Janie Fricke, Earl Thomas Conley, Eddy Raven, Michael Martin Murphey, Doug Stone, T.G. Sheppard and John Conlee to the biggest names on the Texas music scene including Cross Canadian Ragweed, Jack Ingram, Jason Boland & the Stragglers, Kevin Fowler, Wade Bowen, Randy Rogers Band, Stoney LaRue, Charlie Robison and more.

Billy Bob’s Texas is known for making cameo appearances in many music videos and several movies, but the Live at Billy Bob’s Texas series made its way to the television screen with Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, The Charlie Daniels Band, Asleep at the Wheel, and David Allan Coe’s concert recordings filmed and aired on AXS-TV, which continue to re-air.

“It was such an honor and thrill to record my CD, Live at Billy Bob’s, because I could take that story all across the country, raving about the biggest honky-tonk in America! – Janie Fricke

“I remember recording my Live at Billy Bob’s project. There was a huge crowd there that night and they were hootin’ & hollerin’. It continues to be one of our best selling CDs and people tell me all the time how much they like it! Thanks to Smith Music Group and Billy Bob’s! – T. Graham Brown


acm honors


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Special Award Recipients, Studio Recording Awards, Industry Awards and
Songwriter of the Year Award Winners Announced

Today, the Academy of Country Music announced the winners of awards that will not be televised during the 49th ANNUAL ACADEMY OF COUNTRY MUSIC AWARDS, due to time constraints. The ceremony will be telecast LIVE from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Sunday, April 6, 2014 at 8:00 PM live ET/delayed PT on the CBS Television Network. Special Awards, Industry Awards, Studio Recording Awards and Songwriter of the Year honorees will be feted at the 8th Annual ACM Honors event on September 9, 2014 at the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville.

The Academy of Country Music Special Awards are voted on by the ACM Board of Directors and specific categories are awarded during years where the Board of Directors feels there are clear and deserving candidates. Industry Awards are voted on by all professional members of the Academy. The Studio Recording Awards (formerly known as the Musician-Bandleader-Instrumentalist (MBI) Awards) ballot is voted on by professional members of the Academy classified in the Artist-Entertainer/Musician-Bandleader-Instrumentalist category, and the Producer-Engineer-Studio Manager sub-category (contained within the Affiliated category). The Songwriter of the Year ballot is voted on by professional members of the Academy in the following categories: Artist-Entertainer/Musician-Bandleader-Instrumentalist, Composer, Music Publisher/PRO, Record Company, and the Producer-Engineer-Studio Manager sub-category (contained within the Affiliated category).


Career Achievement Award – Toby Keith and Ronnie Milsap have been chosen to receive the Career Achievement Award, honoring an individual artist, duo, group or multiple artist collaboration that have advanced the popularity and acceptance of country music through their endeavors in the entertainment industry in multiple areas during the preceding calendar year.

Toby Keith has been riding high ever since his 1993 debut single, “Should’ve Been a Cowboy.” The Oklahoma native took the reins in 1999 by switching record labels and releasing the bold album, How Do You Like Me Now? Since that time, he’s won ACM Awards for Entertainer of the Year (2002, 2003), Male Vocalist of the Year (2000, 2003), Album of the Year (2000, 2003) and Video of the Year (2003, 2011). In addition to his 20 No. 1 country singles, he’s enhanced his unmistakable brand through movie roles (Beer For My Horses) and Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar and Grill restaurants. Since 2002, Keith has performed on 11 USO tours in 21 countries, including Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan.

Ronnie Milsap brought a pop and R&B sensibility to country music in the 1970s and 1980s, even as his rich, clear voice rang true as country. Forty years ago, the North Carolina native marched to No. 1 with “Pure Love,” paving the way for a total of 49 Top 10 hits on Billboard’s country chart. He won his first ACM Award as the 1982 Male Vocalist of the Year. Three years later, “Lost in the Fifties (In the Still of the Night)” claimed Song of the Year. Milsap received the 2001 Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award and will release a new album in March.

Past recipients of the Career Achievement Award include John Anderson, Vince Gill, Faith Hill, Tim McGraw, Johnny Paycheck, Carl Perkins, Reba and Kenny Rogers.

Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award – Bob Beckham has been chosen to receive the Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award, honoring individuals who are pioneers in the country music genre.

Bob Beckham is remembered as a true music fan who took chances on unknown songwriters. Beckham was hired by Fred Foster at Combine Music in 1964. In time, its catalog grew to include Kris Kristofferson’s “Me and Bobby McGee,” “Sunday Morning Coming Down” and “Help Me Make It Through the Night,” as well as Chris Gantry’s “Dreams of the Everyday Housewife” and Dennis Linde’s “Burning Love.” Beckham also nurtured the talent of Larry Gatlin, Jerry Reed, Ray Stevens and many more. The Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame recognized him with the inaugural Mentor Award in 2008. Beckham died in 2013.

Past recipients of the Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award include Alabama, Garth Brooks, Johnny Cash, Charlie Daniels, Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers, Merle Haggard, Emmylou Harris, George Jones, The Judds,  Brenda Lee, Loretta Lynn, Willie Nelson, The Oak Ridge Boys, Dolly Parton, Charley Pride, Jerry Reed, Tex Ritter, Marty Robbins, Kenny Rogers, Billy Sherrill, Ricky Skaggs, Mel Tillis, Randy Travis, Conway Twitty, Porter Wagoner, Keith Whitley, Hank Williams, Hank Williams Jr., Bob Wills and Dwight Yoakam, among others.

Crystal Milestone AwardAs previously announced, Merle Haggard has been chosen to receive the Crystal Milestone Award, which is given to an artist or industry leader to commemorate a specific, remarkable achievement.

Merle Haggard became the ACM’s first Entertainer of the Year when the award was presented for 1970. That win marked the Academy’s first Triple Crown achievement, as Haggard had already accepted the Most Promising Male Vocalist of the Year award for 1965 and the first of six Male Vocalist of the Year awards the following year. Two of his most celebrated songs have also collected Single Record and Song of the Year awards from the ACM: “Okie From Muskogee” (1969) and “Are the Good Times Really Over” (1982). A winner of the ACM Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award and Poet’s Award, Haggard joined the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1994. In 2014, he will celebrate the milestone of 50years in country music.

Past recipients of the Crystal Milestone Awardinclude Jason Aldean, Garth Brooks, Kenny Chesney, Gayle Holcomb, Jennifer Nettles and Taylor Swift.

Gene Weed Special Achievement Award – Carrie Underwood has been chosen to receive the Gene Weed Special Achievement Award, which acknowledges unprecedented, unique and outstanding individual achievement in country music.

Carrie Underwood represents country music with class, whether she’s dazzling viewers of NFL Sunday Night Football or starring in a live broadcast of The Sound of Music. Her Blown Away Tour traveled to London’s Royal Albert Hall, followed by extensive dates across the U.S. and Canada. Upon completing the tour, she donated $1 million to the American Red Cross for disaster relief. She continues to support her hometown of Checotah, Okla., through her C.A.T.S. Foundation. Underwood is a rare ACM Triple Crown recipient, following wins as New Female Vocalist of the Year (2005), Female Vocalist of the Year (2006, 2007, 2008) and Entertainer of the Year (2008, 2009).

Past recipients of the Gene Weed Special Achievement Awardinclude Garth Brooks, George Burns, Jeff Foxworthy, Willie Nelson, Blake Shelton and George Strait.

Jim Reeves International Award – Steve Buchanan and Rascal Flatts have been chosen to receive the Jim Reeves International Award, which is presented to an artist for outstanding contributions to the acceptance of country music throughout the world.

Steve Buchanan strives to provide a gateway for fans around the globe to discover country music. A Tennessee native, Buchanan is the president of the Opry Entertainment Group. In that role, he has positioned the Grand Ole Opry to be viewed as a vital, world-class tourist destination that embraces contemporary and classic artists. After the Nashville flood of 2010, he led efforts to modernize the venue during its renovation. In addition, his executive producer role for ABC’s Nashville gives insight to the inner workings of Music Row. He is currently working on mounting a Broadway show based on the long-running TV show Hee Haw.

Rascal Flatts carried their high-energy Live & Loud Tour to Europe in July 2013, enjoying sold-out crowds, widespread television exposure and significant digital sales. The group performed a total of seven shows across Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom and Ireland. Along with packed houses, the trio appeared on BBC’s Breakfast TV and grabbed the No. 1 spot on the UK iTunes country chart. They will return in March to Dublin and London as part of the all-star Country to Country 2014 event. Rascal Flatts will launch their Rewind Tour this spring, with dates scheduled throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Past recipients of the Jim Reeves International Award include Garth Brooks, Dick Clark, Roy Clark, Merv Griffin, Alan Jackson, Charlie Nagatani, Buck Owens, Dolly Parton, Taylor Swift, Keith Urban, and Lady Antebellum, among others.

Mae Boren Axton Award – Paul Moore has been chosen as the recipient of the Mae Boren Axton Award, which is given in recognition of years of dedication and service by an outstanding individual to the Academy of Country Music.

Paul Moore has been an integral part of the William Morris team in Nashville for more than 35 years. He began his career there in 1978 as a secretary to the head of the office. In time, he became part of the management team for William Morris and later William Morris Endeavor. For 23 years, he was co-head of the agency’s Nashville office. He remains involved in booking concert dates for WME clients at major fairs, rodeos, outdoor events and festivals, and oversees tour commitments for numerous country legends. Moore is a longtime board member for the Academy of Country Music and currently serves as Parliamentarian.

Past recipients of the Mae Boren Axton Award include John Dorris, Rod Essig, Gayle Holcomb, Jack Lameier, Marge Meoli, Ray Pilzak, Gaynelle Pitts, Gene Weed, Tommy Wiggins and David Young.

Poet’s Award – Jack Clement (awarded posthumously), Dean Dillon, Kris Kristofferson, and Buck Owens (awarded posthumously),have been selected to receive the Poet’s Award, which honors songwriters for outstanding musical and/or lyrical contributions throughout their careers in the field of country music.

“Cowboy” Jack Clement’scareer stretched back to Sun Records, where the Memphis native mixed 1950s recording sessions by Johnny Cash. Two of Cash’s early hits were written by Clement: “Ballad of a Teenage Queen” and “Guess Things Happen That Way.” A few years later in Texas, George Jones cut Clement’s “A Girl I Used to Know.” In Nashville, Clement opened a publishing company and signed Bob McDill, Allen Reynolds and Don Williams. Clement joined the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1973. He was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in April 2013, four months before his death.

Tennessee native Dean Dillon hitchhiked to Nashville to pursue a music career as a recording artist, but he found his biggest successes as a prolific songwriter. He penned hits for George Jones (“Tennessee Whiskey”), Keith Whitley (“Miami My Amy”), Toby Keith (“A Little Too Late”) and Kenny Chesney (“A Lot of Things Different”). Dillon truly found his muse in George Strait, who built his legendary career on Dillon’s unique songs, including his debut single “Unwound” followed by “The Chair,” “Nobody in His Right Mind Would’ve Left Her,” “It Ain’t Cool to Be Crazy About You,” “Ocean Front Property,” “Marina Del Rey” and “If I Know Me” to name a few. He was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2002.

Kris Kristofferson emerged as a songwriting force in the 1970s. He used his widely varied experiences—from Rhodes Scholar to Army helicopter pilot to janitor at Nashville’s Columbia Studios—to craft some of the most emotionally compelling story songs ever written. His composition “For the Good Times,” recorded by Ray Price, received 1970 ACM Awards for Single Record and Song of the Year. In addition to solo success with “Why Me,” Kristofferson’s songs have been immortalized by Johnny Cash (“Sunday Morning Coming Down”), Janis Joplin (“Me and Bobbie McGee”), Ronnie Milsap (“Please Don’t Tell Me How the Story Ends”) and Sammi Smith (“Help Me Make It Through the Night”). Born in Texas, Kristofferson joined the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2004 and received the ACM Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award in 2005.

Buck Owens’ boisterous single “Love’s Gonna Live Here” spent an astonishing 16 weeks atop the country airplay chart in 1963. He followed that composition with more original material like “My Heart Skips a Beat,” “Together Again” and “I’ve Got a Tiger by the Tail,” writing the latter with Harlan Howard. An icon in the Bakersfield, Calif., country scene, Owens received the 1965 ACM Award for Male Vocalist of the Year and his band The Buckaroos won three consecutive ACM trophies. He joined the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1996 and accepted the ACM Pioneer Award in 1988. Owens died in 2006.

Previous recipients of the Poet’s Award include Bill Anderson, Bobby Braddock, Guy Clark, Hank Cochran, Merle Haggard, Tom T. Hall, Harlan Howard, Roger Miller, Fred Rose, Don Schlitz, Cindy Walker and Hank Williams.


  • CASINO OF THE YEAR:                   Small Capacity – Mohegan Sun Wolf Den – Uncasville, CT

Medium Capacity – Mohegan Sun Arena – Uncasville, CT

  • NIGHTCLUB OF THE YEAR:              Billy Bob’s Texas – Fort Worth, TX
  • VENUE OF THE YEAR :                     Small Capacity – Austin City Limits Live at The Moody Theater – Austin, TX

Medium Capacity – Grand Ole Opry House – Nashville, TN

Large Capacity – Bridgestone Arena – Nashville, TN

  • DON ROMEO TALENT BUYER OF THE YEAR: Nicole More – Neste Event Marketing
  • PROMOTER OF THE YEAR:            Brian O’Connell – Live Nation


  • BASS PLAYER OF THE YEAR:         Michael Rhodes
  • DRUMMER OF THE YEAR:             Shannon Forrest
  • PRODUCER OF THE YEAR:             Dann Huff



About the Academy of Country Music Awards
The 49th Academy of Country Music Awards is dedicated to honoring and showcasing the biggest names and emerging talent in the country music industry.  The show is produced for television by dick clark productions and will be broadcast LIVE from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas Sunday, April 6, 2014 at 8:00 PM live ET/delayed PT on the CBS Television Network. Allen Shapiro, Mike Mahan, R.A. Clark and Barry Adelman are executive producers.  Bob Romeo is executive producer for the Academy of Country Music.