Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

Columns

October 29, 2013

Rathbun Country Music Theater is better than Branson

(Continued)

Drat! How had I not heard of this place? It’s Southern Iowa’s best kept secret.

But the Dickerson’s will live on. There are CD’s, of course, and a website www.countrymusictheater.com and Dickerson’s email address of willisdickerson@gmail.com. The rest of the group isn’t retiring. They all of have their own gigs. It just took the Dickerson glue to bring them together.

At the risk of leaving out some of the musicians, I’ll mention just a few that stood out for me: Lonnie (Lonzo) Erwin, sax and guitar. Lonzo performed the crowd favorite, “Oh Danny Boy,” all the verses, in a rich, deep baritone that brought tears and a standing ovation. Peggy (Sue) Wardenburg on piano and guitar did a great Connie Smith, “Once a Day.” Steve Head on fiddle, with his old “unknowns,” was a crowd favorite. (You gotta have a fiddle in the band.) David Pitt on guitar and piano did Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley on the piano better than Lewis or Presley combined. Mitchell Dickerson, grandson of Willis and Faye, is an up-and-coming, make-the-devil-pay-his-due fiddle player. Of course, Grandpa Willis, on lead guitar, is a Nashville-class musician. Faye Dickerson, a musician herself, is the business end. Together, they have put together a mean music machine.

I gotta a feeling I’ll be hearing Willis Dickerson again. He’ll be around playing here and there — in church, guest appearances, helping out the would-be owners of the Rathbun Country Western Theater get started; or, no doubt, in heaven — county music heaven.

Jesus likes a little pick’n, too.

Have a good story? Call or text Curt Swarm in Mt. Pleasant at (319) 217-0526 or email him at curtswarm@yahoo.com.

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