July 4th, 11am – Uncle Kracker
Country rocker Uncle Kracker will headline this year’s July 4th Fireworks and Freedom Celebration in Longview. Local band Dagnabbit is also scheduled to perform the free concert to be held just before the biggest fireworks show in East Texas. The event will be July 4 at the Maude Cobb Convention and Activity Complex, 100 Grand Blvd. Other activities are scheduled during the celebration, including rides, bounce houses and other inflatables, a water foam spray area, weenie dog races, motorcycle ride, car show, Family Feud, two entertainment stages, food, beverages, and vendors.
Admission to the festival, concert, and fireworks show is free. Prices vary for individual activities and rides. For vendor and sponsorship information, call (903)237-1230.
Cowan Center: Pat Benatar, The Color of Purple & More
Wondering what will be showing at the Cowan Center in the next year? The center unveiled their lineup for the upcoming season Thursday. Eighteen live events are planned for the 2019-2020 season for the University of Texas at Tyler Cowan Center.
The events range from Broadway musicals and acrobatics to concerts and guest speakers, and will take place between September 2019 and April 2020.
As part of the Broadway Series, “Jersey Boys” and “The Color Purple” as well as the national tours of “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical” and “Bandstand” will come to stage.
“We’re also ecstatic to welcome both Laura Ingraham and Carly Fiorina to our Distinguished Lecture Series, which are sure to both be incredible evenings,” Cowan Center Executive Director Susan Thomae-Morphew said in a news release.
The Braithwaite Intimate Gatherings Series will feature musical performances by The Pointer Sisters, Martina McBride, and the married team of Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo.
Season tickets and individual tickets can be purchased by calling the Cowan Center box office at (903)566-7424 or visiting in person 9am-4pm Monday-Friday. You can also purchase tickets online at cowancenter.org.
“We couldn’t be more thrilled about the diverse lineup we have planned for the upcoming season,” Thomae-Morphew said. “Audiences will be dancing in the aisles at our splashy Broadway Series, with scores full of both chart-topping hits as well as some soon-to-be favorites. Our Performing Arts Series really has something for everyone – with incredible offerings ranging from back-bending acrobats to Bollywood and everything in between. Headliners like Pat Benatar and The Pointer Sisters are sure to provide unforgettable memories in our Braithwaite Intimate Gathering Series, and that’s only half of the concert schedule!”
Season ticket orders for all series are on sale now. For the 2019-2020 season, the Cowan Center offers four subscription series with the Performing Arts Series (four events as low as $179), Broadway Series (three events as low as $110), Braithwaite Intimate Gatherings Series (three events as low as $177), and the Distinguished Lecture Series (two events as low as $40). The Cowan Center also offers three Arts in Education for Schools events. This year’s Special Events include Jersey Boys, Menopause: The Musical, and Martina McBride.
All events are performed in the Cowan Center located on the campus of The University of Texas at Tyler, 3900 University Boulevard – FAC 1120, Tyler. More information about the new season can be found at CowanCenter.org.
The upcoming season’s acts are:
Tuesday, September 10th, 7:30pm
Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo have been making music together for four decades. Benatar’s staggering vocals and take-no-prisoners attitude, along with Giraldo’s trailblazing artistry as a guitarist, producer, and songwriter forged a unique sound responsible for some of rock’s most memorable hits, including “We Belong,” “Invincible,” and “Love Is A Battlefield.” The duo has created two multi-platinum, five platinum and three gold albums, as well as nineteen Top 40 hits. They have sold over thirty million records worldwide and have won an unprecedented four consecutive Grammy® awards. This summer, the duo will embark on a tour for their 40th anniversary.
Thursday, September 26th, 7:30pm
For more than 25 years, DIAVOLO | Architecture in Motion® has been applauded for its ability to display surprising movement against a backdrop of elaborately designed space, all while entertaining audiences with what is, in fact, a new art form. The company has captivated audiences in 250 cities and 14 countries and has performed to sold out venues throughout the U.S and internationally. In 2017, DIAVOLO enjoyed an extraordinary season, highlighted by the group’s stint on season 12 of “America’s Got Talent.” One of the Top 10 contestants to reach the show’s finale, the company was seen by over 90 million television viewers!
Thursday, October 10th, 7:00pm
Laura Ingraham is the most listened-to woman in political talk radio in the United States. The Laura Ingraham Show is heard on hundreds of stations nationwide and has been addicting legions of listeners since its launch in 2001. She is the editor-in-chief and co-founder of the political news site LifeZette, which launched in 2015. Always smart and entertaining, she is the host of The Ingraham Angle on Fox News. She is the #1 New York Times best-selling author of five books. A former litigator, Ingraham clerked for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Ingraham is an avid supporter of our troops and a variety of military organizations.
Tuesday, October 22nd, 7:30pm
Taj Express follows the journey of a young composer as he struggles with his music, and it’s only when he begins to follow in the footsteps of his idol, A.R. Rahman, that he discovers his path to success. This spectacular production reveals the secrets of the world’s most prolific film industry, and the people behind the screen who make the magic in India’s factory of dreams. Rhythmically blending explosive dance with the hits of India’s most iconic composers and set to an unforgettable soundtrack by Oscar® winner A.R. Rahman, Taj Express is brought to life by the stars of Bollywood cinema and its greatest musicians performing live on stage!
Monday, October 28th, 7:30pm
They were just four guys from Jersey, until they sang their very first note. They had a sound nobody had ever heard… and the radio just couldn’t get enough. But while their harmonies were perfect on stage, off stage it was a very different story. Go behind the music and inside the story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons in the Tony® and Grammy Award®-winning true -life musical phenomenon, Jersey Boys. From the streets of New Jersey to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, this is the musical that’s just too good to be true.
Thursday, November 14th, 10am and 12:30pm
Based on Hans Christian Andersen’s famous fairy tale, The Little Mermaid swims to life in this new musical featuring puppetry, songs and an inventive set. Deep in the ocean there once lived a mermaid with a voice of gold. She often dreamed of the world above the sea and when she is finally old enough to explore this world, she saves a young prince from a drowning ship. She falls in love and wants to become human as well. The mermaid desperately asks a mean sea witch for help.
Thursday, November 7th, 7:30pm
From three-time Tony Award® winner and Hamilton choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler comes an inspiring new American musical that explodes with infectious music and high-octane, heart-stopping dancing. It’s 1945, and six soldiers return from war to a changed nation. When NBC announces a national competition to find America’s next great musical superstars, they form a band unlike any the nation has ever seen. Along the way, they discover the power of music to face the impossible, find their voice, and finally feel like they have a place to call home. “The show defies you not to be moved” (Time Out New York).
Monday, November 18th, 7:30pm
The Color Purple is the 2016 Tony Award® winner for Best Musical Revival! Hailed as “a direct hit to the heart” (The Hollywood Reporter), this joyous American classic about a young woman’s journey to love and triumph in the American South has conquered Broadway in an all-new “ravishingly reconceived production that is a glory to behold” (The New York Times).
Tuesday, December 3rd, 8pm
With multiple Grammy® nominations, country icon Martina McBride’s incomparable vocals have garnered six No. 1 hits and twenty top ten singles (“Independence Day,” “This One’s For The Girls,” “A Broken Wing”). With her more than 15 major music awards, including four wins from the Country Music Association and three Academy of Country Music Awards for Female Vocalist of the Year, McBride has sold more than 18 million albums to date and has earned multiple Gold, Platinum, Double Platinum and Triple Platinum certifications. This winter, the celebrated singer takes to the stage with an unforgettable Martina McBride concert experience you’ll never forget.
Thursday, February 6th, 2020, 7:30pm
STOMP is explosive, provocative, sophisticated, sexy, utterly unique, and appeals to audiences of all ages. The international percussion sensation has garnered an armful of awards and rave reviews, and has appeared on numerous national television shows. The eight-member troupe uses everything but conventional percussion instruments – matchboxes, wooden poles, brooms, garbage cans, Zippo lighters, hubcaps – to fill the stage with magnificent rhythms. The return of the percussive hit also brings some new surprises, with some sections of the show now updated and restructured; and the addition of two new full-scale routines, utilizing props like tractor tire inner tubes and paint cans. As USA Today says, “STOMP finds beautiful noises in the strangest places.” STOMP. See what all the noise is about.
Thursday, February 20th, 7:30pm
The Pointer Sisters rose from singing at their father’s church to achieving worldwide fame – securing a place in pop music history. After their first performance in Los Angeles at the Troubadour, critics called The Pointer Sisters “the most exciting thing to hit show business in years.” The group boasts countless U.S. top 20 hits including “Slow Hand,” “’Jump (For My Love),” “I’m So Excited,” and “Fire.” The group has been showered with accolades and awards including three Grammys and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Thursday, January 30th, 2020, 7:30pm
For her break-out role as Anita in West Side Story, Moreno landed an Oscar. Decades later, as one of only three Americans to receive a Peabody®, Emmy®, Grammy®, Oscar®, and Tony Award®, Rita Moreno remains one of the busiest stars in show business. Most recently, she starred in the critically-acclaimed Latino remake of Norman Lear’s classic sitcom “One Day at a Time” on Netflix. Prior to that, Rita appeared in guest-starring roles in primetime TV series such as “Getting On,” “Jane The Virgin,” “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Grace and Frankie.” Moreno received the Kennedy Center Honor for her lifetime contributions to American Culture and was honored by her peers as the 50th recipient of the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award.
Thursday, February 27th, 2020, 10am and 12:30pm
Cuentos paints a vivid picture of the people and the rich cultures of the Spanish-speaking world with colorful tales from the Caribbean, South America and the Bronx! From the silly antics of the Puerto Rican anti-hero “Juan Bobo” to the mysterious dealings and powers of the Orishas in a suite of Afro-Cuban stories, these tales are filled with memorable characters, fantastic plots and positive messages for children. Spanish language words are sprinkled throughout the stories and songs in such a way that young audiences can repeat and retain their sound and meaning. Solid entertainment and a great introduction to the marvelous world of Latino literature and culture.
Saturday, February 29th, 2020, 7:30pm
Cirque Éloize Hotel is the story of a place and its transient travelers. A stopover where lives intersect briefly, just long enough for tales and memories to be forged! Let acrobatics, theatre, dance and live music guide you through this intimate refuge, styled with an avant-garde scenography inspired by the elegance of only the greatest hotels. Cross the lobby doors and discover the grandiose and poetic universe of Hotel: Cirque Éloize’s new creation celebrating its 25th anniversary.
Thursday, March 26th, 2020, 7:30pm
Beautiful: The Carole King Musical tells the Tony® and Grammy® Award-winning inspiring true story of King’s remarkable rise to stardom, from being part of a hit songwriting team with her husband Gerry Goffin, to her relationship with fellow writers and best friends Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann, to becoming one of the most successful solo acts in popular music history. Along the way, she made more than beautiful music: she wrote the soundtrack to a generation.
Thursday, April 2nd, 2020, 7:30pm
Menopause The Musical® – COME JOIN OUR SISTERHOOD! Four women at a lingerie sale have nothing in common but a black lace bra AND memory loss, hot flashes, night sweats, not enough sex, too much sex and more! This hilarious musical parody set to classic tunes from the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s will have you cheering and dancing in the aisles! See what millions of women worldwide have been laughing about for 18 years! It’s the Hilarious Celebration of Women and The Change!®
Tuesday, April 14th, 2020, 7:30pm
A true leader, Carly Fiorina is a passionate advocate for problem-solving, innovation, and effective leadership. Starting out as a secretary for a 9-person real-estate business, she eventually became the first woman to lead a Fortune 50 company. Recruited to lead HP in 1999, Carly’s leadership lifted HP to become the 11th largest company in the U.S. With Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Carly co-founded the One-Woman Initiative to engage and empower women in Pakistan, Egypt, India, and the Philippines. Carly was appointed by President Bush and CIA Director Michael Hayden to serve as the Chairman of the External Advisory Board of the CIA after 9/11. In 2015, Carly launched a campaign for President, focused on empowering and engaging citizens to take back government from a political ruling class that has failed to deliver results.
It’s Heating up the Big Stage with Big Concerts
“There’s nothing to do in East Texas!” We’ve all heard someone say this but we have to argue that this is totally not true. There are thousands of things to do, including watching some pretty big names in the music industry gracing our stages. Here are some upcoming concerts we think you need to know about. Be sure to get tickets soon before they sell out.
Cody Wayne: Road Warrior
By Johnny Griffith
Cody Wayne just doesn’t know how to stop. Since we last spoke to him, almost two years ago, Cody has been on a mission to bring seriously good music to anyone who will put him on a stage. With a high energy show, one of the best bands around, and a growing list of superb originals, Wayne feels like his best days are in front of him. We sat back down with Cody this month to get an update on what’s new in his world.
Johnny: It’s been a couple of years since we last talked and it’s been a busy couple of years we’ve got to catch up on so let’s start with the band. What is the current lineup?
Cody: I am very lucky with the group of musicians that are in our current lineup. Trent Procell plays bass and is the guy who really put everything together. I’ve known him for about 10 years and I started trying to get him to play bass for me since 2011. I finally convinced him to join me and he brought in Zach Early on guitar and Tyler Williamson on drums. Vic Andrews is our fiddle, harmonica, dobro, shoe string, spoons, and pretty much he can get his hands on. Trent, Zach, and Tyler have been playing together for their entire lives and it’s amazing to watch what they can do on stage. Music has been a huge part of these guys’ lives since birth and it shows when they play. I’m very lucky and thankful to have them.
Johnny: About how many shows a month are you guys averaging these days?
Cody: Usually we average anywhere from 10 to 15 shows a month. Like any business having a band is up and down. We’ve had times where we’ve played 20 shows in 7 days all the way from Texas to Minnesota. We’ve been very lucky for that demand for our music and we are very thankful for that.
Johnny: What has been the most memorable gig the last couple of years?
Cody: Honestly, there have been so many amazing, landmark, and bucket list shows it’s hard to pinpoint one. One that really made me sit back and say “Man! Did we really just do that?” Was getting to open for Alan Jackson at the San Antonio Rodeo. I never sat down and thought about what we were actually doing until he got on stage and sang every song that I grew up on. I still get goosebumps thinking about it.
Johnny: What have been the biggest challenges you and the band have dealt with since we last talked?
Cody: Being away from my/our families. The band is great and everyone gets along so well that it makes the road life a lot easier. We are all also very family-oriented and being away is hard. Family comes first and the band comes second.
Johnny: What is the biggest thing that helps you push through the grind and sacrifice being a professional musician extracts?
Cody: Family! My beautiful wife Tamra is really the method behind the madness. She knew how to turn a hobby into a career. She also keeps the schedule full, merch stocked, social media up to date, and keeps the house running while I am gone. And that goes for all of our member’s families. It takes a lot of hard work, sacrifice, and love to keep the band moving.
Johnny: So you’ve recently enjoyed a pretty good run on the Texas Regional Radio Report Top 100 Chart with your single “Small Town.” Tell us a little about that experience, how it feels to be a top 20 artist in Texas, sitting above some rather legendary names by the way.
Cody: I still can’t believe it honestly. Tamra and I do all of our radio promotions as well. To have our name next to the likes of Randy Rogers Band, Aaron Watson, Kevin Fowler, and all the greats is mind blowing. I honestly could never imagine that a song I wrote sitting at my kitchen table would be a Top 20 single.
Johnny: Your next single set to release is “Remember The Lost Ones.” What inspired the song and how do you feel you being a Marine gave you a unique perspective in the writing process?
Cody: I started writing this song when I got back from Iraq. I wanted to tell a first person point of view story about the war that up until that point hadn’t been done that I knew of. It had always been from the 3rd person perspective. However, once I started writing I had an overwhelming sense of grief and selfishness. It was almost like shame because I made it back. I could tell my story. There are so many service members that don’t have a voice anymore because they gave their lives for me/us to be here and be able to write songs. So I let the song say what it felt like it wanted to say. Literally up to when I was driving to the studio the words were still changing and becoming something those who are no longer with us would be proud of. Also, I wanted the listener to see and feel this song before they heard it. From the first note of the lone dobro, to the kick drum that sounds like a distant mortar shell exploding, to the snare drum that sounds like a 5 round burst from a machine gun, I wanted the listeners to be able to close their eyes and see the dirt, smell the sweat, and hear the sounds of war and get the first person perspective that way. It’s still hard for me to sing this song but I hope it gives a voice to the ones who gave it all up.
Johnny: You’ve got some fun shows coming up the back half of the year. Anything you’re really excited about?
Cody: Absolutely! On July 27th, we get to open for Koe Wetzel at the Great East Texas Balloon Race. He is a fellow East Texan and one of the hottest acts in Texas currently. This is a huge and professionally run event every year that does great things for our area. To have two East Texas boys playing this year is something I think we can all be proud of. Plus, we have a lot of energy that we bring and they have a lot of energy that they bring so it’s gonna be one of the biggest events of the year.
Johnny: What’s the next big move for you and the band? New album? Tour more outside of Texas?
Cody: We are always writing and integrating new songs into the set so we can get an idea if the people like them. My song “Fly High” is going to be in a bull riding documentary coming soon. I am always working with the USO, Boots for Troops, and The Boot Campaign, local VFWs, and other veterans organizations to help bring awareness and help for fellow service members.
Johnny: Okay, last question: Who do you listen to when you need a break from writing or performing and just want to get lost in some music?
Cody: My playlist usually consists of Jason Boland, The Cadillac Three, The Black Crowes, Chris LeDoux, and Trent Willmon. One day I am going to write a song with Trent Willmon – he just doesn’t know it yet. So Trent if you happen to read this let’s make it happen.
Johnny: Anything else on your mind before we wrap it up?
Cody: I want to give credit where credit is due. None of this would be possible if it wasn’t for my family. We literally do everything ourselves and I want to give them the “thank you” they deserve. They inspire the songs I write and they are the ones that help them come to life.
To everyone who has ever come to a show, listened to a song, bought merch, or told someone about a song of ours, I want to give a huge “thank you” as well. Every tomorrow is because of the people who help today. Thank you for the love and support and we’ll see you down the road.
Check out Cody Wayne on the world wide web:
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