Hortons set to headline Llano Opry tribute

The Llano Country Opry will be staged on Saturday, September 13, at the Llano Junior High School Auditorium in Llano. A Tribute To Johnny Horton by Tommy and Debbie Horton from Branson will highlight the second half of the Llano Country Opry. Johnny Horton was one of Country Music’s greatest stars with hits like North To Alaska, Sink The Bismark, The Battle of New Orleans, and Honky Tonk Man. He was a member of the Louisiana Hayride and was killed in an automobile accident on November 5, 1960, after performing in Austin. Ironically, the young college student that hit Horton was from Brady. Tommy Horton was a regular on the Louisiana Hayride out of Shreveport, Louisiana, from late 1975 until mid 1977. Tommy was part of the Tony Douglas Show, played bass and was a front man for the Norma Jean and Claude Gray road show, and a performer on the Big ‘D’ Jamboree in Dallas. Tommy has even been featured on The Nashville Network. Tommy wrote and recorded a song called ‘The Surveyors of Texas’ for the Texas Society of Professional Surveyors. This song, along with the fact that Tommy worked as a land surveyor for many years, has given him the title ‘The Singing Surveyor’. Tommy has won many awards during his career including the prestigious Male Entertainer of the Year by the Metroplex Country Music Association (MCMA) in Fort Worth/Dallas, Texas. He holds a degree in Commercial Music received from South Plains College in Levelland. In 1997 Tommy released an album ‘Tommy Horton Sings The Electrified Donkey’ and is receiving national airplay from this release. Between shows, Tommy enjoys fishing, amateur leather working and his involvement with the Masonic Lodge. He is also a long time member in good standing with the Texas Society of Professional Surveyors and the Country Music Association. From her earliest days of singing gospel music in the churches of Virginia, Debbie Horton’s music reflects the heart of gospel, bluegrass and country music. Her rendition of the Johnny Cash classic, ‘Tennessee Flat Top Box’ is such a crowd favorite that if she doesn’t perform it, the fans will demand it. Her album entitled, ‘Smooth Talker’, contains ten original compositions including Before the Last Teardrop Dries, a song which received national airplay. Larry Scott at KVOO, Tulsa enthusiastically praised Before the Last Teardrop Dries as: ‘…a great song! Doesn’t that just make you want to dance a two-step’. Debbie holds the distinction of having performed with Johnny Cash as a lead guest guitarist at a Cash concert in Baltimore, Maryland – the only female musician to accomplish such a feat! She has toured with Jerry Clower, The Florida Boys, and opened for Kitty Wells and Kenny Chesney. She was often the feature entertainer at opry shows throughout Texas and Oklahoma, traveling hundreds of miles every weekend to perform. Debbie was the winner of the 1997 KSTV Radio True Value Hardware/Jimmy Dean Country Showdown – a contest where she competed against 40 other acts. She was also named the 1997 Entertainer of the Year and Female Vocalist of the Year at the Cross Timbers Country Opry in Stephenville, Texas (she was voted the best act of year from a pool of over 500 other performers). Debbie was also named the 1997 Female Vocalist of the Year at the Brush Country Jamboree in George West. Tommy and Debbie were married in Nov. 1998 and carefully considered their next move with their professional careers. After guesting on The Ronnie Prophet Radio Show in Branson in Sept. 1998, they decided that Branson was the place to be. They packed up and left Texas to be part of a Branson show at the Ronnie Prophet Theater. In April, 2000, the Hortons moved their show to the legendary BoxCar Willie Theater on the world famous 76 Country Music Boulevard in Branson, Missouri. Jimmy Lancaster, Entertainment Editor for The Branson Daily News, wrote a rave review about their show describing it as ‘excellent’, ‘great’, ‘fantastic’ and ended the review by saying, ‘ …for some good traditional classic country, bluegrass, gospel and a touch of the late Johnny Horton, The Hortons show is the one to see’. Other entertainers on the Mason Country Opry will include Blake Barnes, Scott Harris, Ashley Culler, Marcus David Kennedy, Justin Trevino, Levi Mullen, Don Raby, Mary Mensch, Bucille Snotgrass and Melanie Reeves Tacker. Tracy Pitcox will MC the show. For more information about the Llano and Mason Country Opry, log on to www.hillbillyhits.com The show begins at 7:30 PM and admission is $7 per person. Tickets are now on sale at the Llano Chamber of Commerce, Kingsland Chamber of Commerce, Llano National Bank, Schooley Saddlery, the Pecan House or by calling (325) 597-5354.

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