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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

DuPue Brothers Band at the Woodlands

The DuPue Brothers Band rocks, waltzes and plays toe-tapping bluegrass with abandonment. Last night's concert at the Woodlands Auditorium was full of energy and plain old fun.

The DuPue Brothers Band was the second serving of the Hot Springs Village Concerts Association season and it was delicious. The good news being the group will appear here in the Village for three more nights, tonight through Friday night at 7:30.

The three DuPue Brothers, Jason, Alex and Wallace were charming and endlessly talented violin virtuosos. Each brother and each member of the band had multiple opportunities to shine. During the concert I kept thinking this is the best jam session ever. In a jam session musicians come together to play the music for the utter joy of making music together with a big dose of one-upping each other with flair.

I loved Mike Munford picking away on his banjo, a look of utter concentration always on his face.

Award-winning flatpicking guitar player Mark Cosgrove brought tremendous talent, a good singing voice and a delightful sense of humor to the mix.

Kevin MacConnell wailed on his upright bass and floored with his bass guitar. He's been on the music scene since the mid-80's and has played for a smorgasbord of who's who in the music world.

That leaves us with the band manager and percussionist extraordinaire Don Liuzzi.  Not only can he play the heck out of everything that makes noise at the back of the stage but has a smooth singing voice I could listen to all night.

The DuPue brothers themselves bring so much to the table. Jason doesn't talk much but clearly made a deal with the devil for his talent on the violin. He also playfully shows off his mastery of the mandolin.

Wallace and Alex are the talkers of the group. Wallace, a steady workhorse stopped the show with his yodelling number. His variations on Little Brown Jug with styles from Viennese to contemporary was a real crowd pleaser.

Alex is a showman and takes several opportunities to show how to make fun sounds from his violin with a synthesizer. Hear the violin singing birds, sirens and exploding bombs. Fun, fun, fun.

Tickets to the remaining three DuPue concerts are available for purchase at the will call table in the lobby at concert time and from the POA during normal working hours and on-line.

Don't have to kick yourself later for missing this musician fest, get to the DuPue Brothers Band concert today. Oh, and for those of you that think all bands are loud, this one is set just right and won't make your hearing aids ring.

There still three concerts remaining in the Hot Springs Village Concerts Association 23rd season. Call 922-4231 to secure your seats to the Many Characters of Pete Peterkin, November 11 through 14, Adam Trent Illusionist, February 3 through 6 and 100 Years of Broadway, March 3 through 6.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Jeff Smith killed in head-on collision

Hot Springs Sentinel Record special sections editor, 49-year old Jeff Smith was killed in a head-on collision near Bismark on Highway 7, Friday, October 10, at 4:25 p.m. Smith was a 17 year resident of Hot Springs Village.

In addition to his coverage of Hot Springs Village and Northern Garland County, Smith was a prolific writer of books, both fiction and non-fiction. Many of the books are set in the Hot Springs area, all are available on Amazon or at All Things Arkansas on Central Avenue in Hot Springs.

His titles include: Within the Gates, 7 Days of Panic, Between the Elders, Memories of Spearsville, Secrets of Island 27, Death in the Darkness, Escape from the Big Easy, The East Mountain Murders, Death Comes to a Small Town, Vanished on the Vista and The Charleston Connection. He has at least one unpublished manuscript ready to go to press.

Smith has been active with the Hot Springs Village Players for the last six years. He was set to make his directing debut with Murder Can be Habit Forming. Lee Iafrate has agreed to step in and carry through his vision with the play coming to the Woodlands on November 7, 8 and 9.

Jeff Smith was a good reporter, writer and friend, a truly nice man and will be missed. His viewing is Thursday, October 16 from 6 to 8 p.m. His funeral is on Friday, October 17 at 2 p.m. at Ruggles-Wilcox funeral home in Arkadelphia.

Again, there was a fatal car wreck on Highway 7 near Bismark on Friday, October 10. Stephanie Philyaw's car crossed into on-coming traffic hitting two vehicles. Of the two cars Philyaw hit, driver Darren Brewster was not injured, driver Jeff Smith was killed.