LeMars, Iowa…..The home of the largest ice cream factory in the world, LeMars, Iowa, is preparing to welcome Fruita, Colorado, resident Joyce Shaffer, to their city.  She is to be inducted into America’s Old Time Country Music Hall of Fame, on Saturday, September 3rd.
     The Hall of Fame has been in existence since 1976, when Bob Everhart, President of the National Traditional Country Music Association, formed a 501(c)3 non-profit group devoted to the preservation, perpetuation, and performance of America’s ‘rural’ country music.  “We called it the National Traditional Country Music Association, and we had to find a way to better define what we do,” Everhart said recently, “because the country music we represent is quite different than the country music we mostly hear coming from Nashville these days.  For the past 36 years, we have been working hard to not only capture the essence of what country music once was, but to keep it alive, and honor those that have made significant contributions to the genre in recent years.  Therefore we have taken up the word ‘rural’ to better define what our ‘country’ music is all about.”
     Country music in Everhart’s opinion might be ‘rural,’ but the contributors come from all walks of life, and offer many different styles from the past.  “We just never cease to be amazed at the wonderful parade of country music performers that come to our annual convention-festival,” Everhart added.  “It’s actually the largest old-time acoustic music event in the entire upper Midwest, and includes great participation from bluegrass, folk, and even rag-time and old-time fiddle music performers, as well as country.  By keeping it acoustic, we are able to better present what country music sounded like during it’s golden age.  We’re also able to present more stages for the performers.  We’re now utilizing ten stages.  Can you imagine that, ten stages running 9am to midnight every day for seven days, and we are still having difficulties getting everyone on that wants to be on.  Performers of America’s classic country, bluegrass, and folk music come from around the world.”
     The 2011 dates for this unique gathering of thousands of old-time country, bluegrass, and folk music fans is August 29 through September 4th, at the Plymouth County Fairgrounds in LeMars, Iowa.  “We have several really large buildings to use for the performances,” Everhart added, “our main-stage building is even air conditioned.  It seats 1,000 comfortably, and the next door adjoining building, which we call the dance-hall, is equally as large.  Last year we had Bill Anderson from the Grand Ole Opry for Hall of Fame induction, and he had to do two shows, one on the main stage, and then another on the dance hall stage.  The legendary Patti Page was with us last year as well, and it was a similar experience.  This year Jim Ed Brown, Helen Cornelius, and Jeannie Seely are with us from the Grand Ole Opry, and we have several performers who were on the Louisiana Hayride.  The legendary Bonnie Guitar will be with us too.  Ms. Guitar recorded “Dark Moon” a number of years ago, but is perhaps best known for her tutoring two groups to fame, the Fleetwoods and the Ventures.  Neither of these groups are ‘country’ music oriented, but it was Bonnie Guitar that showed them how to play unique and different methods and styles on the guitar.  Super-pickers find their way to our corn-field too,” Everhart added.  “We’re not really in a corn-field, but we could be.  Eddie Pennington, a ‘Merle Travis’ style guitar picker will be with us, as will the famous Tut Taylor, who performs on the resonator guitar.  Both of these pickers come from Kentucky.  Oklahoma fiddler Jake Simpson, and three-time world champion flat-picker from the Winfield, Kansas, competitions, Jason Shaw will also be on hand.  Add to that about 600 more pickers and players, and you have a good idea of what this unique event is all about.”
     “Joyce Shaffer of Fruita, Colorado, is also unique,” Everhart added.  “She has attained a sizable fan base in her home-state of Colorado, and devotes much of her music to the composition and style of many of the golden classic country performers and recording artists, and songwriters of traditional country music.  She grew up as the ninth child of a dirt-poor sharecropper, then married young and raised her children amid tremendous hardship, pretty much the same story as the most successful of country music songwriters.  Today Ms. Shaffer is singing an anthem to American voters.  In her newest project “Takin’ Back Our Country,’ she is fighting for the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  According to Shaffer, “I speak and sing on behalf of millions of Americans who are afraid of losing everything to the current economic crises, and the government take over of businesses, health care, and private property.  My only son, Jeff Shaffer served in Desert Storm, and I’m so thankful he come home in one piece, but many haven’t.  Ken Dravis of Aspen Leaf Recording Studio is my music producer, as well as my guitar player.  We also used some other musicians among them Randy Utterback on guitar and fiddle.  When I hear someone playing my records and people like them, I am already successful and proud.  I thank God for helping me find the good people, and the right words, to make it happen.”
     Ms. Shaffer will join a large contingency of Hall of Fame inductees at this year’s ceremonies.  According to Everhart, “Joyce Shaffer is scheduled to be on our main stage on Saturday, September 3rd, at 5pm, for the Hall of Fame induction ceremony.  I can assure anyone who has never heard this woman, or seen her perform, she will receive a standing ovation from a huge crowd of fans.  Her words are what our festival is all about, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  We do it with good old-time absolutely American country music.”
     “We have some of the best mid-west corn-fed beef steaks in the world at our food court too,” added Everhart.  “Super good food, super good music, and super good interaction between musicians make for a lot of impromptu ‘jam sessions.’  There’s also a Tipi Village where a lot of pickers hang-out, and we also have a Pioneer Exposition of Arts, Crafts, and Rural American Lifestyle for those that need extra things to do.  What profits we might make goes to the Pioneer Music Museum which is located in Anita, Iowa, and is home to ‘America’s Old Time Country Music Hall of Fame.’  Great RV camping with electricity ($12 per day), and we caution all visitors to bring lawn chairs for their own comfort.  Admission is $15 per day, per person (which includes all ten stages and all celebrities) or a 7-day open gate pass for $60 per person, which includes all ten stages of entertainment.’
     More information about the festival, and the activities of the National Traditional Country Music Association can be found at their website:

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