Saturday, August 23, 2014

"Dixie Rising": The family comes together

Revised Oct. 25, 2014 and Dec. 28, 2014

This week, I have taken a complete break from Photoshop.  For one thing, I have nothing else to try to picture in my mind at the moment.  For another, I went back to revise another personal project, one having to do with sportscasters who called mythical sporting events using all-time player rosters of pro and college teams.  As Stone Cold Steve Austin famously said, "That's all I gotta say about that!"

What I will share here, however, is the playbill for Dixie Rising.  As I have implied before, this is the entertainment and cultural show created to showcase all 13 members of my "second family."  I feel this is a natural project for them.  After all, head of household Buddy Wayne is a well-known singer, songwriter, record producer, and TV executive; he knows how to bring the best out of everyone he works with.  As with any clan, some have natural talent, while others have to develop it.  But all of them have to find a way to come together to entertain the world as part of a cultural fair organized to celebrate the grace and blessings of the Trinity of God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.

Dixie Rising is the official United States entry and part of the World Christian Festival - organized by reformed business leader Dylan Bryan-Brown (see page 196 of The Buddy Wayne Chronicles for more on his previous life).  At that show, some 30 countries participate by showing off their best songs, dances, and other folk entertainments that are in accord with Christian principles.

If this show had existed, the world premiere would have been scheduled for Aug. 24 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on BMN TV on the season finale of Gone Barefoot.

The show begins with B.W. singing his hit song "Bluebird."  After that, he welcomes the crowd at the All-American Theater (modeled after the pictured Nokia Theater L.A. Live, Radio City Music Hall, and the Grand Ole Opry) and explains that Dixie Rising is a celebration of rural American life, particularly in the Southern United States.  Next will be three songs by the Barefoot Boys, Popeye, Ralph, and Harvey.  In order, they are "How Great Thou Art," "Amazing Grace," and "Blessed Assurance."  The last song, for which southern gospel star Bonnie Baldridge is the guest vocalist, was part of the program at the Gospel Singing Convention in Benson, NC, in 1921.

This is followed by two more B.W. songs, "The Ballad of Beulah Mae" and "Southern Rhapsody," and a song by the McLamb Madrigals.  The a cappella Madrigals consist of two sets of sisters - Rachel and Rebecca, and their third cousins LaRae, LaRetta, and LaRayne.

More narration follows, and then come the Barefoot Mommas' Club - Brenda, Brandy, Annie, and Jennifer.  Their contribution is a reading of Proverbs 31:10-31, the last section of that book of the Bible.  Called "The Good Wife" in many Bibles, it is a tribute to the virtuous qualities of women.  Brenda reads verses 10-14, Jennifer 15-19, Brandy 20-24, Annie 25-29, and Brenda returns for the last two verses.  Meanwhile, the violinists Baylee, Brandee, and Ashlee MacKnight set the reading to music. When the reading ends, Brandy dances a waltz with Hylton Tripp, her professional partner and friend, with Blondie (pianist) providing the backing track. 

The action then moves to another part of the set, where Bunky plays with his drum set.  Then, he receives the wild idea to become a one-man band.  Suddenly, a parade starts with Bunky in the lead while Bryson and Belinda hold banners signaling the start of the parade.  Some family members are part of the parade, including Ralph (as outdoorsman/preacher), Brandy (beauty queen), Harvey (part of the football team, as well as Bam Bam Plumpkin, Billy Bob Ribble, and others), and Hambone (as a member of the Honey Bees).  Also in the parade are bead-thrower Amber LaBelliard, cowgirl Krista Bamburg Ribble, Cherokee folk dancer Ricky Mantooth, and military hero Brett Bartlett (though not this one), among others.

B.W. then explains that Southerners love to make everything into a big production, especially on summer nights on the porch.  With that in mind, Bobby Ray takes to the stage and starts to fiddle, and seconds later Hambone jumps on board and plays music with her body.  A huge crowd comes to the stage as she interprets the classic country hit song "The Devil Went Down to Georgia."  She has lots of help: Bubba Brister is the backup singer, and All That does backup dancing.  The only real-life performers in this show, the cloggers from South Carolina make up the only act to make the live rounds of America's Got Talent twice.

Dixie Rising closes with "When We Rise," a "bluntry" (blues plus country) anthem co-written by B.W. and Brittany Raylene and performed by the couple and the Barefoot Boys.  It's sure to be the best-selling hit song in America this year!

(The MacKnight triplets are played by real-life violinists Barbara Barber and Brittany MacWilliams.  MacWilliams provides all three bodies and the violins on the left and right; Barber's instrument is in the middle.)

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