LIVE! in NWA: Historic Musical Moment Released On New CD

LIVE! in NWA: Historic Musical Moment Released On New CD

Musician and friend of the NWADG, Sean Harrison writes to tell us news about a 57-year-old recording:

In January 1965, the five young band members who had recently barnstormed the country backing up rock-n-roller Ronny Hawkins were playing a gig at the Fondalite Club in downtown Tulsa. They called themselves Levon and The Hawks. Levon Helm, from Arkansas, was the only non-Canadian in the group. They didn’t know it yet, but they were only a few months away from becoming Bob Dylan’s backing band as the folk hero famously “went electric.” That brief period between Hawkins and Dylan is a telling piece of American music history. The Hawks became The Band.

“They were already considered the best bar band in the country, but they were going through some changes just then,” says Randy Stratton, son of the late Dayton Stratton of Fayetteville, who had managed and booked shows for Levon and The Hawks. “They were experimenting and working on a new sound that would eventually morph into The Band.”

That night in Tulsa, Dayton Stratton granted permission to a local musician, Connell R. Miller, to record the show at Fondalite Club. It was a rudimentary set-up with a reel-to-reel Wollensak tape recorder and a couple of cheap microphones placed in the back of the room.

But the band cooked, Miller said. “It would be their last time performing in the South before setting out for gigs at Tony Mart’s in New Jersey and Canada, where only a few months later they would become Bob Dylan’s backing band.”

The recording was rough and heavy with crowd noise. But the 57-year-old tape held up, and local musician Darren Novotny cajoled the audio into shape using digital sound mixing tools. Miller and Randy Stratton joined forces to produce the CD. It sounds the way it ought to sound — like a hot band on a cold night in 1965, in a crowded Tulsa music club — and is available for $19.70 through PayPal at

Big Damn Band

Two-time Blues Music Awards nominees The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band have announced a winter/spring tour that includes stops April 13 at Beer City Music Hall in Oklahoma City; April 14 at Mercury Lounge in Tulsa; and April 16 ay Outland Ballroom in Springfield, Mo. Get tickets at


• Jenna & Friends play Jan. 19; Vince Turner plays Jan. 20; Git in the Truck plays Jan. 21; and Jeff Fox plays Jan. 25 at JJ’s, 12 Cunningham Corner. 802-6455.


• Honey Collective performs from 8 to 11 p.m. Wednesdays through Jan. 26 at Undercroft Bar, 201 N.W. A St. Free. 445-6065;


• Sprungbilly performs at 8:30 p.m. Jan. 17; there’s an open mic night starting at 8 p.m. Jan. 18; drink and draw starts at 8 p.m. Jan. 19; there’s a late night jam at 9:30 p.m. Jan. 20; Whiskey Mash performs at 9 p.m. followed by a late night jam Jan. 21; and Black Mountain Fever plays at 9 p.m. followed by a midnight jam Jan. 22 at Chelsea’s Cafe, 10 Mountain St. Free. 253-8231;

• The Hawf Brothers play at 7 p.m. Jan. 21; and Brick Fields performs at 7 p.m. Jan. 22 at Wanderoo Lodge & Bar, 216 W. Van Buren. 363-6755;

• Tracy Lawrence performs at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 29; Sierra Ferrell performs at 6 p.m. Feb. 18; and Lyle Lovett performs at 7:30 p.m. March 23 at the Eureka Springs City Auditorium, 36 S. Main St. 253-7788;


• Frisky Squirrels play Jan. 21; Dirty Flannel Shirt plays Jan. 28; and Feats of Strength play Jan. 29 at JJ’s, 324 W. Dickson St.

• Brick Fields will play from 6 to 9 p.m. Jan. 19 at Morano’s, 2179 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. 935-4800.

• J. Ray Davis performs at 7 p.m. Jan. 18; Phoenix Pan performs at 6 p.m. Jan. 19; JerGriffin performs at 8 p.m. Jan. 20; the Cole Birmingham Band plays at 8 p.m. Jan. 21; and David Baxter Band plays at 8 p.m. Jan. 22 at Six-Twelve Coffeehouse, 3980 W. Wedington Drive. 856-6382;

• The Jake Scott show Jan. 18 is sold out; Kolton Moore & Chayce Beckham play at 8:30 p.m. Jan. 19 ($15-$20); Randall King performs with Aaron Copeland at 8:30 p.m. Jan. 20 ($20); Uncrowned Kings play happy hour at 6 p.m. Jan. 21 ($8); Pecos & The Rooftops play with the Band Laredo at 9:30 p.m. Jan. 21 ($20-$25); and Bones of the Earth perform with Witchsister and TV Preacher 8:30 p.m. Jan. 22 ($10) at George’s Majestic Lounge, 519 W. Dickson St. 527-6618;

• “Phoenix Ascending” will be the next program for the Symphony of Northwest Arkansas at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 22; comic Trey Kennedy brings his “Are You For Real? Tour” to town at 7 p.m. Feb. 5; and the Sullivan Fortner Trio performs at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 18 at Walton Arts Center, 495 W. Dickson St. 443-5600;


• RC & The Ambers perform with Kyle Nix and the 38’s and special guest Lance Roark at 7 p.m. Jan. 22 ($12-$15); and JR Carroll, Drayton Farley and Parker Ryan perform at 7 p.m. Jan. 29 ($10-$12) at The Majestic, 817 Garrison Ave. 551-2424;

• The Brewery Comedy Tour visits the River Valley at 8 p.m. Jan. 29 at Fort Smith Brewing Co., 7500 Fort Chaffee Blvd. Tickets are $12 at 242-3722;

• The Cadillac Three with Ben Chapman perform Feb. 4 ($20-$30); That Arena Rock Show starts at 8 p.m. Feb. 12 ($15-$25); Frank Foster performs Feb. 18 ($20-$27.50); and Cheat Codes perform Feb. 20 ($22-$27) at Temple Live, 200 N. 11th St. 222-6186;

• Lyle Lovett brings his acoustic show to Fort Smith at 8:30 p.m. March 22 at ArcBest Performing Arts Center, 55 S. Seventh St. 788-8932;


• Amber & Kevin play Jan. 19 and Patti Steel on Jan. 26 at Core Brewing, 2470 N. Lowell Road. 717-2231.

• Ashtyn Barbaree performs at 6 p.m. Jan. 14; and Simeon Basil plays at 6 p.m. Feb. 4 at Black Apple Hard Cider, 321 E. Emma Ave. Free. 751-0337;

• Brett & Terri play Jan. 20; One for the Money performs Jan. 21; James Paynter performs Jan. 24; and Presley Drake plays Jan . 25 at JJ’s, 5320 W. Sunset Ave. 419-9220.


• Tickets went on sale Friday for Tab Benoit, performing at 8 p.m. March 10 at Temple Live, 200 N. 11th St. in Fort Smith. Tickets are $30-$39. 222-6186;

• Tickets also went on sale Friday for The Bandwagon Tour with headliners Miranda Lambert and Little Big Town and featuring The Cadillac Three May 8 at the Walmart Arkansas Music Pavilion in Rogers. Tickets are $40-$138.50.

• Tickets for Casting Crowns in concert at 7 p.m. March 24 at Simmons Bank Arena in North Little Rock are on sale. Opening acts will be We Are Messengers and Jonathan Traylor. Tickets range from $19.75 to $89.75, on sale at the arena box office and

• Tickets for Shinedown in concert April 29 at Simmons Bank Arena in North Little Rock went on sale at 10 a.m. Friday. Opening acts will be The Pretty Reckless and Diamante. Tickets range from $39.50 to $79.50, on sale at the Arena box office and

• Tickets are on sale at the Walmart Arkansas Music Pavilion in Rogers for Tim McGraw, April 29; for KING + COUNTRY, May 21; Jimmy Buffett & The Coral Reefer Band, June 9; Steely Dan with Steve Winwood, June 10; REO and Styx, with Loverboy, June 13; Backstreet Boys, June 17; Chicago and Brian Wilson, June 21; Matchbox 20 with The Wallflowers, June 24; 5 Seconds of Summer, June 28; Keith Urban, Aug. 18; Morgan Wallen, Aug. 26; and Goo Goo Dolls, Sept. 18.

• Tickets for a concert by Bonnie Raitt and Lucinda Williams at 8 p.m. May 23 at Robinson Center Performance Hall in Little Rock went on sale Friday at 10 a.m. Prices were not available at press time.

• Tickets are also available for Weird Al Yankovic’s Unfortunate Return of the Ill-Advised Vanity Tour May 31 at Robinson Center Performance Hall in Little Rock. Tickets are $39-$79 at

Send info about your upcoming concerts and events to Becca Martin-Brown, Features editor, at

Categories: LIVE! In NWA