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An Evening with a Legend — Roy Clark 
By Staff Journalist Helen Peterson

Roy Clark has been entertaining audiences for nearly half a century. His virtuoso guitar playing and his effortless, affable and emotional voice, along with his engaging personality have made him an industry icon and one of the most beloved "pickers" of all time.

A natural-born musician and performer, he is probably best known as a member of longest running series on television, Hee Haw, but Clark also made his way on to the radio charts on numerous occasions and achieved major chart success with classics like "Tips of my Fingers," “If I Had It to Do All Over Again,” “Thank God And Greyhound (She's Gone),” and “Yesterday, When I Was Young.” To date, Clark has been awarded “Entertainer of the Year” by both the Academy of Country Music and the Country Music Association, “Instrumentalist and Comedian of the Year” by the ACM, and “Instrumentalist of the Year” (for both guitar and banjo) six times from the Music City News awards and way too many other awards than we have room to list here. His innovation and flair for entertaining are not limited to music, if you are a fan of "The Beverly Hillbillies," you may remember the characters "Cousin Roy" and "Big Mama Halsey;" both characters were played by Clark. In the late eighties he was finally made a member of the Grand Ole Opry and during the nineties he concentrated on performing at his own theater in Branson, Missouri. His most recent album releases came in 2005 when he released "Hymns from the Old Country Church" and "It's About Time, It's About Me;" a collection of bluegrass tunes.

For all of the aforementioned reasons, in addition to the simple fact that I'm a life long fan, I was thrilled when visiting family members recently asked if I wanted to join them at a local venue to see Roy Clark perform. I went with great expectations and I wasn't disappointed. Clark brought to the stage exactly what I expected and more. He sang several of his hit songs but it was the his soulful and beautiful rendition of ‘Somewhere My Love’ (Lara’s theme from Dr. Zhivago) that sent chills down my spine and reminded me why I was so willing to head for the theater at the mention of his name. 

Along with the hits, Clark’s quick wit had the audience in the palm of his hands throughout his performance. He shared the fact that one of his all time favorite movies was "Brother, Where Art Thou" and brought his band, amicably named Roy’s Toys to the front of the stage to sing the theme song "I am a Man of Constant Sorrow." He continued to share the spotlight with his very talented band as he focused on the different members independently. Clark said that two of the members, David Smith and Justin David, have recorded CDs of their own and Justin David piqued my interest since I am a fan of the program Nashville Star and David was a finalist from the 2005 season. During his performance, David showcased his multiple talents playing fiddle and mandolin, in addition to serenading us with his great voice. I couldn’t resist, on my way out the door I purchased his CD; It’s Just Me and I'm not the least bit hesitant to predict we'll be hearing a lot more about Justin David. 

Clark closed his show encouraging the audience to go out and do nice things for people and then watch the result multiply. His philosophy is simple and ancient; as each person is the recipient of a good deed, they will turn around and follow suit, it will grow and grow and the concept of “Pure Love” will expand. Clark is the perfect ambassador of this concept. He is a magnificent philanthropist, a splendid mentor to his band members, and he left everyone in the audience with a happy heart from the excellent entertainment he delivered from the stage. For Roy Clark, legend, is the most fitting and appropriate adjective.

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