May 1997


   The Virginia Country Music Association, held it’s monthly Jamboree on April 20 at Steppin Out night club, the home of the VCMA. Gary Street and the Easy Street Band are the house-band. It’s easy to see why they are one of the best bands around. Between the smooth vocal of the lovely Misty Wright and the presence of keyboard, fiddler extraordinary Billy Batte they are well rounded, high-energy group. One of the highlights from a previous jamboree was a fiddle number between Billy and “Jammer” Jeanie Powell. Easy Street also covers the Jam Sessions. These sessions are new for the jamboree and have proven to be very popular. They showcase some of the fine talent here in Tidewater. This proved to be one the better Jamborees with winning combination of  Wooden Nickel (continuing to broaden their fan base), the regrouped great sound of  Santa Fe and the multitalented Cumberland County Line.

   If you haven’t attended a Jamboree yet, you have two chances in May ­— one on 4th at the Moonlight Room and one on the 18th at Steppin Out. Call 464-4200 Code:VCMA for more information. 

The Noodles has added a new member. Awesome teenage lead guitarist Jake Nawrocki has joined the group. Nawrocki’s debut with the group will prove to be a real asset. The Noodles featuring Van Hughes will perform at Farmer’s Market on May 23.

   A traditional country western line dance expedition team, the Rhinestone Renegades perform a wide variety of line dancers, as well as charity benefits

   John Russell, former drummer with the now defunt Southband, has joined the Southern Country Band. Former Southband bass player Billy Culliton has join Slick Nickel. No word on where the other members of Southband have relocated, but the band will reunited for a one time reunion on May 11, to open for Ricchocet at the Ocean View Festival.

   On May 24, the winning combination of 17-year-old Shannon McCook, a rising senior at Gloucester High School and rising star at Virginia’s Lil’ Ole Opry and Ralph Motley, 47, as featured performers. A mixture of youth (McCook) and experience (Motely), the show will provide entertainment for all ages.

   McCook, daughter of Mary McCook, who makes most of the outfits worn by the Opry artist (including those wild shirts worn by Troy Hedspeth). She began her career singing at beauty pagents at the age of six (the first song she ever sang was “Coat of Many Colors” accompained on guitar by sister Kathy.

   By the age of eight, she was known as the “Sweetheart of the Lil’ Ole Opry.” The Opry gave her to opportunity to share the stage with big Nashville names as Becky Hobbs, Joe Diffie, Billy “Crash” Craddock and Doug Stone.

   Last Christmas she performed at the National Christmas Tree Lighting, accompanied by Motley (this duo has been performing together for the past couple of years).

   Motley has been performing for nearly four decades (since age 8). He grew up on country, bluegrass and gospel. His multi-talent includes the guitar, fiddle, mandolin, banjo, bass, drums, keyboard and the mouth harp — just to name a few. Is there anything he doesn’t play? Motely toured the Southeast U.S. with the Sandy Mountain Boys as well as such names as Lester Flatt, Bill Monroe and Rickey Skaggs.

…and the beat goes on