Texas Country Music Hall of Fame to host entertainment-filled weekend Aug. 11-13 | Business

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The 2023 Texas Country Music Halls of Fame Classic Music Festival will provide guests with one jam-packed weekend of entertainment with some of the top names in Country and Gospel music on stage.

The 26th annual festival weekend is set for Aug. 11-13.

K.T. Oslin and Clay Cooper are the 2023 inductees in the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame. Their induction will take place at the Saturday, Aug. 12 show.

“It’s a whole weekend filled with the celebration of good Texas Country music,” said Tommie Ritter-Smith, executive director of the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame.

While the planning for the weekend is nearly a year-long process, Smith said she has lots of help from the TCMHOF board of directors, a small army of volunteers, contacts in the entertainment world, and Carthage Main Street Executive Director Cindy Deloney.

“I’ve been so blessed with so many people that I’ve met in the business and so many people who have helped over the years,” Smith said. “It takes a lot of people to make this happen. It’s been amazing.”

Smith said the successes of the past for the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame Classic help attract a line-up of entertainers people want to see.

“We have a great reputation,” she said.

While the weekend serves up a whole lot of music, it also serves as a boost to the local economy, according to Keri Perot-Vance, executive director of the Panola County Chamber of Commerce.

“We expect 2,000 visitors,” she said of the weekend. “Most of them will be based right here in Carthage.”

Loads of Music

The John Ritter Tribute Showcase kicks off entertainment for the weekend on Friday, Aug. 11, at the Carthage Civic Center with hometown Carthage favorite Linda Davis serving as emcee. She will be joined by the 30 finalists in the showcase along with the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame Band.

“The finalists will audition in front of celebrity judges,” Smith said. “The winner will be the 2024 Ambassador for the Texas County Music Hall of Fame.”

The winner will receive a prize package, including $1,000 cash, she said.

Special guests on stage will include Billie Jo Jones, the Tribute winner from 2013, and Tony Booth. Chase Dawson, the JRTS winner from 2022 will also be on hand.

Tickets are $20 in advance at the TCMHOF or $25 at the door on Aug. 11.

On Saturday, Aug. 12, the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame induction of Clay Cooper and K.T. Oslin will take center stage at the civic center for the 26th Annual Classic Country Music Festival.

Special guests include Moe Bandy and Joe Stampley, Smith said.

“They only do 10 shows together each year and they are tremendous together,” Smith said. “They each have solo careers.”

Dallas Wayne is scheduled to be back as emcee this year, with an all-star line-up rounding out the night’s entertainment.

Linda Davis and husband Lang Scott will perform along with Bobby Tomberlin, Tess Frizzell, Chase Dawson, Randy C. Moore and the TCMHOF Band.

The Pioneer Award for the 2023 TCMHOF will go to Mattie Castleberry. She was the owner of Mattie’s Ballroom, a famed oil-boom era dance hall located between Longview and Kilgore. She later operated the venue known as the Reo Palm Isle.

“All our floor seats are sold out for Saturday, but there are still some tickets left for other seats,” Smith said. For tickets and information, please call (903) 694-9561.

Sunday’s “Gospel at the Hall” will round out the weekend with a free performance open to the public at the Hall of Fame. The Gospel show begins at 9 a.m. and will feature Rudy Gatlin, award winning Gospel singer Gena Hamilton, Bobby Tomberlin, Tess Frizzell , Lang Scott and Linda Davis.

K.T. Oslin

Oslin’s induction comes posthumously after her death in 2020 from COVID complications, Ritter-Smith said. She had moved to Texas at an early age and attended Lon Morris College in Jacksonville, where she majored in theater.

Oslin’s family is excited about her induction, Ritter-Smith said.

“K.T. Oslin’s brother and her aunt are going to be here to accept the award on her behalf,” Smith said.

“An unusual thing about her is that she didn’t release her first album until she was 45 years old,” she said. Oslin produced her first hit, “80s Lady.”

Smith said Oslin went on to have many major hits and earned four Grammy Awards. Those included, “DD Ya,” “Come Next Monday,” “Hold Me” and “Hey Bobby.”

Clay Cooper

Smith said Clay Cooper’s induction and his high energy will add a layer of excitement to the weekend.

“Clay Cooper has been promoting our kind of Texas Country music for the last 30 years in Branson (MO),” Smith said. His show at the Clay Cooper Theatre is among one of her favorite shows to see when she heads to the entertainment mecca in the Ozarks.

Cooper was born in Wylie and grew up performing at the local Wylie Opry. He and his wife Tina have sons Colton and Caden, all who are actively involved in the shows.

“He’s going to bring his whole show to Carthage,” she said. Cooper served as emcee for the Hall of Fame show one year and she has had a number of requests over the years from fans wanting him to come back.

“He was just amazing, everybody just loved him,” Smith said.

“It’s a little different category for us, but the board and voting members felt like he has been in Branson for 30 years promoting Texas country music,” Smith said.

Smith and TCMHOF board members headed to Branson in late May to visit with Cooper, surprise him with his own Texas Country Music Hall of Fame jacket at a show and promote Carthage and the festival.

“His Branson show is very successful and has done a lot to keep traditional country music live and well,” she said. The show includes his wife, Tina, and the couple’s three children, Colton, Caden and Cassidy.

“He wrote the song ‘A Little Ground in Texas,’ which charted on Cash Box,” Ritter-Smith said. “He has been a great ambassador for the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame.”

2023 Texas Country Music Hall of Fame Schedule

Friday, August 11:

• 8 a.m. — Hall of Fame Gift Shop & Museum open — FREE tours. New & exciting things to auction at our silent auction at the museum. All proceeds go to the TCMHOF.

• 3:30 p.m. — TCMHOF annual Meeting at the Hall of Fame. Come hear the annual report. Ask how you can be a member (everyone welcome)

• 4 p.m. — Museum/gift shop closes

• 6 p.m. — Doors open for the John Ritter Tribute Showcase at the Carthage Civic Center. Tickets are $20 advance and $25 at the door. Come vote for your favorite performer!

• 7 p.m. — TCMHOF John Ritter Tribute Showcase with special guest emcee Linda Davis, the Texas Country music Hall of Fame Band and 24 finalists vying for the title of “Texas Country Music Hall of Fame Ambassador” for 2024. Special guests performing include 2022 Showcase winner Chase Dawson and others to be announced at a later date.

Saturday, August 12:

• 8 a.m. — TCMHOF Gift Shop & Museum opens — FREE tours. Auction continues, The “Tex Ritter Round-Up” with book signings, KGAS Country Music Showdown, top prize $1000. With Dusty Boots Band, free museum tours, special guests and autographs

• 2 p.m. — The Country Music Hayride Matinee at the Esquire Theater downtown Carthage, 114 W. Sabine Street, featuring Southern Impact. Admission $5

• 4 p.m. — Museum/Gift Shop Closes

• 6 p.m. — 26th Annual Texas Country Music Hall of Fame Show & Celebration at the Carthage Civic Center, 1702 S. Adams Street, Carthage. Tickets — $70 to $125. Special Guests: Moe Bandy and Joe Stampley. Entertainers will be TCMHOF Band, Bobby Tomberlin, Linda Davis, Lang Scott, Dallas Wayne, Randy C. Moore and Chase Dawson. 100th birthday tribute to Jim Reeves. Pioneer Award presented to Reo Palm Isle.

Sunday, August 13:

• 8 a.m. — Gift shop opens — Come by and tell us goodbye!

• 9 a.m. — 11 a.m. — Gospel at the Hall featuring host Randy C. Moore; special guests TBA. Held at the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum, 310 W. Panola. Free admission.

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