After many years playing music on stages around the world, Dennie Crisp no longer has a desire to do his picking where people are drinking and smoking.
With the opening of the new Boyd County Community Center, the veteran musician is spreading the word about the area’s newest place to see a show or host a gathering in a smoke- and alcohol-free setting.
“I think people will love it. I think it is one of the finest things Boyd County has come up with in forever,” Crisp said this week as he and family members prepare for a Saturday night concert appearance with headliner Ronnie McDowell.
“It will be a place where people can go and hear music and not worry about getting knocked in the head with a beer bottle.”
For Saturday’s show, Crisp will share the stage with a band of musicians he is quite familiar with. “Oh yeah, that’s my family — that’s my kids,” he said, reporting his son, Rodney, will be playing guitar and steel guitar, while his son, Ronald, will handle the bass. He said his vocalist daughter, Amber Martin, “is the star of our show.”
The Crisp Family will be joined on stage by two Grand Ole Opry veterans, Lynn Owsley, who was Ernest Tubb’s steel guitar player, and fiddler James Price.
“And, Johnny Hall will be playing drums,” he added. “He’s played drums with me since he was a kid.”
Crisp said the show is essentially a chance to introduce the public to the new community center, and country music fans should be familiar with everything they plan to play and sing.
“We do all the old country ... all the classics hit songs from back in the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s,” he said, adding he will likely sing favorites by Merle Haggard and Jimmy Rogers. In honor of having Tubb’s former bandmate for the show, Crisp said he will probably add “Waltz Across Texas” to the set.
Boyd County Judge-Executive William “Bud” Stevens said the community center has already proven itself by serving as the site for events, including a high school prom, several wedding receptions and even a National Wild Turkey Federation meeting. The building has flooded once during the past decade, he said, but the county engineered the structure to handle most high-water concerns. Because of drainage work, the facility can be ready to use within six hours of a flooding event.
Stevens said the doors are the only way water can get in. “We engineered it for that.”
Stevens said the center will be rented numerous times before year’s end, and he suspects the facility will be booked solid by this time next year.
“I can say one thing. My critics have dried up,” Stevens said. “It’s a nice facility and we’re going to keep it that way.”
Tickets for the show are $15 in advance or $20 the day of the show. They are available at Boyd County clerk’s offices, the Ashland Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, Stevens Gun and Pawn and Manning Furniture. For more information, call (606) 325-3547.
TIM PRESTON can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.