Just two weeks ago, the modern-day counterpart to an Old West gunfight unfolded in western Arkansas. Folks that witnessed it couldn’t help but think of a gunfighter walking out on to a dusty street to face famous adversaries known to be fast and deadly.
Acclaimed singer/songwriter Royal Wade Kimes rolled into Chester, Ark., population 99, while, just 20 miles away, mainstream country artists Dierks Bentley and Travis Tritt slid into Fort Smith, Ark., population 85,000. The stage was set for a showdown.
Award-winning Royal Wade is not a mainstream artist, but he leads the pack of cowboy/western singers with his unique brand of “cowboy country” music. His impressive success on the U.S. and international charts—and his performances on the road all across America—earned him the prestigious title of the Best Living Western Solo Musician by True West magazine in December 2010
In an enviable career spanning more than 20 years, Royal Wade has amassed a large and incredibly loyal fan base—and they showed up in droves to see him perform at the Sept. 10 concert that capped off the sixth annual Mount Royal Trail Ride. Even though Bentley and Tritt were just down the road, the drawing power of Royal Wade was clear when fans packed the huge circus-size tent—and overflowed on both sides of the massive structure. Fans came from all over the South, Southwest and Mid-West, including New Mexico, Missouri, Kentucky, Virginia, Wisconsin, Oklahoma and, of course, Arkansas. Fans even traveled from the United Kingdom to see Royal Wade!
When Royal Wade was told that there were two other concerts going on the same weekend as his concert, he shrugged off the idea of competition.
“First, it’s all in God’s hands,” he candidly declared. “Second, we’ve done our part. We let the fans know we’re coming—and, guess what, the fans showed up. It made me proud to know that what I am doing in the studio and out on the road is working for my fans.”
After the concert, one of those fans, Anna Dodson from Kentucky, explained why she traveled so far to hear Royal Wade perform. “He’s real, his show is awesome and no one has a voice like that—it’s warm, powerful and it’s what country music was meant to be.”
Often compared to Marty Robbins and Johnny Cash, Royal Wade has in front of hundreds of thousands of fans in 30 states at fairs, festivals, rodeos, conventions, night clubs, theaters and special venues, including NASCAR events, the historic Grand Ole Opry and Disney World. And he just released his latest red-hot single, “500 Miles Away From Home.” The 1963 Bobby Bare classic is the second single from Crossing The Roads, Royal Wade’s tenth album.
Standing inside the towering tent just minutes after his Mount Royal concert, Royal Wade was feeling great about the success of his show in the face of strong mainstream competition. He was also feeling great because he knew that his sold-out concert would help children in need.
“Part of the proceeds from the annual concert raises funds to feed children in Arkansas and Oklahoma through the Back Packs for Children program,” explained Royal Wade, an Arkansas native. “That makes me feel so good deep down inside.”
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