Rausch to headline opry performance

Country Music Association of Texas Hall of Famer Leon Rausch will headline a special tribute to Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys at the Llano Country Opry on Saturday, April 12, at the Lantex Theater. Born in Missouri, Rausch played several instruments from an early age and began performing with his father at local dances and fairs. After World War II, Rausch returned to Springfield and began concentrating on his performing career. He moved to Tulsa, Okla. in 1955, to work more dances and shows. On March 14, 1958, Bob Wills asked Rausch to become a Texas Playboy as lead vocalist. Rausch became the first permanent lead vocalist for Wills and his Texas Playboys since Tommy Duncan left the band a decade earlier. Rausch recorded several songs while working with Wills including San Antonio Rose, My Confession, Deep Water, Bubbles In My Beer, Big Balls In Cowtown, Time Changes Everything, Cherokee Maiden and Faded Love. Rausch worked for Wills through the sixties, as well for younger brother Johnnie Lee Wills from 1962-1964. After Wills retired, Rausch formed his own New Texas Playboys and began recording for the Longhorn Label. When Wills was coaxed out of retirement for his “last sessions” in 1973, Rausch came back on board as lead vocalist and continued to perform with the revised Texas Playboys throughout the seventies and eighties. Today Rausch still headlines the Bob Wills Day in Turkey, Texas, and performs in several overseas dates promoting Texas for the Texas Tourist Bureau. He has just released a new live album with the remaining Texas Playboys and is one of the most awarded country music entertainers in Texas. The first half of the Llano Country Opry will feature a variety of great local and up-and-coming talent including Blake Barnes, Scott Harris, Big Lloyd Dalton, Justin Trevino, Michael Lange, Don Raby, Melanie Tacker, Don Ricketson and Levi Mullen. Tracy Pitcox will emcee the show. “We have already had an incredible year,” band leader Justin Trevino said. “We are excited about the line up for the rest of the year including Cal Smith, Jean Shepard, Gene Watson, Johnny Gimble, Tommy Cash and more.” Tickets are on sale at the Llano and Kingsland Chamber of Commerce, Pleasingly Plus, Llano National Bank, Schooley Saddlery in Mason and KNEL in Brady. Tickets are $7.00 each. The show begins at 7:30 pm. Tickets can be reserved by calling (915) 247-5354.

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