Lure of live music and entertainment lands us in.....Branson, Missouri?

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North America » United States » Missouri » Branson
June 19th 2016
Published: June 22nd 2016
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So, we consider ourselves to be pretty well traveled. Lucky quite actually…. been in all 50 states in our own country and many great foreign lands as well.

Our home country is quite a large one and certainly we’ve spent more time in some states than others. The great state of Missouri is well known for St. Louis and Kansas City and rightfully so, but we wanted to wander into a smaller lesser-known town. Most Americans have more than likely heard of Branson, Missouri and mentally made a snap decision, positive or negative, about this town and what interest it would hold for them. Quite frankly, we admit we are among those people who made a snap decision and had our reservations. Having always been curious and wanted to visit but we were worried about the theme park atmosphere and had fears that it might completely turn us off.

On our first visit to Branson we were straight off an amazing and wonderful weekend in Clarksdale, Mississippi, which provided a raw and authentic music experience. What would Branson hold and how would we feel about it the music scene?

In our opinion, it is pleasantly cheesy
Talented MusiciansTalented MusiciansTalented Musicians

The Tribute Theatre
and Branson, Missouri won us over.

We enjoyed a beautiful drive through the Arkansas countryside from Little Rock, Arkansas to southern Missouri. The back roads and byways provided us an amazing drive. Farm fields a plenty and the amazing Ozark Mountains which to us really are not mountains but they certainly are attractive. We passed lakes and rivers and discovered Arkansas has an amazing collection of state parks if you have time to stop and hike, bike, kayak or canoe. Hopefully we can enjoy some of that on one of our next weekend adventures but for now we seek music. We will admit that we enjoyed the entertainment in Branson enough that we went back for a second weekend of music.

Branson, Missouri a small town in southern Missouri located near Table Rock Lake and Lake Taneycomo. Long ago this Ozark location drew people in to enjoy the natural beauty. Branson is famous for Talking Rock Cavern, Lost Canyon Cave, Smallin Civil War Cave, Fantastic Caverns and Marvel Cave. The man who would create the hit TV show “The Beverly Hillbillies” got his inspiration from a visit here about 55 years ago. With all the lakes and caverns
A big forkA big forkA big fork

An Italian restaurant hoping to catch your attention.
you would never need to step foot near the man made entertainment side of town unless you really wanted to. But again– we came for music and entertainment. In a little over 30 years, this town has transformed itself into an entertainment center that rivals major markets…..think Las Vegas without the vices. Instead of casinos, there is the Titanic Museum, Ripley’s Believe it or Not and many family-oriented activities.

Branson has something for everyone. Nature, outlet malls, theme parks for the kids, you can take a train ride into the countryside, laser tag, go-carts….and don’t forget the nature.

We’ve been told there are 50 music venues in town. Several are huge elaborate theatres and others are small intimate venues. Popularity grew in the early 80’s and has continued to do so since that time. It really is an interesting concept for a town. Most theatres have shows daily at 2pm and 8pm. Other show times are available for a small portion of the shows.

1st trip

Lynayrd Skynard & Southern Rock Tribute Show- this was located in the small intimate Tribute Theatre. The house band rocked the roof off the place. (and yes they play Free Bird) Wow…. as far as we are concerned this is a must see. Don’t leave town without checking out this performance. They do some Molly Hatchet, Allman Brothers, ZZ Top, The Marshall Tucker Band and Dr. Hook. The keyboard player was the original keyboard player for Molly Hatchet. This is a really talented group of musicians.

The Letterman – They sang all their hits with gusto and stayed to sign autographs and take photos with guest after the performance. Tony Butala has been with the group for 58 years, Donovan Tea since 1984 and Bobby Poyton was with them from 90 to 95 and came back in 2011 and has stayed. We read some articles after seeing them and learned that music critics find the harmony these three offer is the strongest of all the past combinations of artist.

Million Dollar Quartet – a Tony award winning musical that tells the story of an impromptu jam session in December of 1956 with Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash. All of the performers were top notch. Great show and the Andy Williams Theatre is an excellent venue.

2nd visit
Dancing to the MusicDancing to the MusicDancing to the Music

#1 Hits of the 60's & 50's

Eagles Tribute Show – we enjoyed the Southern Rock Tribute show so much last month that we came back for more. In addition to performing all the Eagles hits they have friendly banter with the audience to get them more engaged with their performance and the stories about the troubles and dislike the Eagles members had for one another. Some day we may come back to see their Creedence Clearwater Revival tribute show.

The 50’s & 60’s Show – a group of talented singers, dancers and musicians who sing all or part of 115 songs from the 50s & 60s. Lots of memories in this show. Well worth the time.

Rick Thomas Illusionists – Wow- now we know why he used to work in Vegas. The show is slick, professional …and amazing! Simply in awe of this performance. We have no idea how he did any of these illusions. Guess that is why he’s on the stage and we are not. Just how does he levitate his lovely assistant? We’ll never know.

We are always amazed how many good musicians there are in the world. Branson is chock full of talent of all kind. If
Going ApeGoing ApeGoing Ape

Something for everyone in Branson
you enjoy live performances this is the place to go. Don’t expect anything fancy….this town caters to the “come as you are” crowd. Typical American fare is what you will find at the restaurants. Branson has marketed itself to Middle-America in a grand way and makes no pretenses about who it is.

We say farewell to Branson but would recommend a visit and if you have a convertible or motorcycle take it with you so you can enjoy the drive all the more.

Additional photos below
Photos: 27, Displayed: 26


Rocking OutRocking Out
Rocking Out

Southern Rock Tribute Band
The LettermanThe Letterman
The Letterman

In concert Branson, Missouri
MJ & The LettermanMJ & The Letterman
MJ & The Letterman

Branson, Missouri
Dancing to the oldiesDancing to the oldies
Dancing to the oldies

An excellent production.
At the Tribute TheatreAt the Tribute Theatre
At the Tribute Theatre

Southern Rock Tribute
Lynyrd SkynyrdLynyrd Skynyrd
Lynyrd Skynyrd

The Tribute Theatre
Really impressed with this groupReally impressed with this group
Really impressed with this group

Eager to see their other performances
Southern MissouriSouthern Missouri
Southern Missouri

A beautiful drive
Dick Clark TheatreDick Clark Theatre
Dick Clark Theatre

Many people have a piece of the pie
Eagles Tribute BandEagles Tribute Band
Eagles Tribute Band

Branson, Missouri
Branson, MissouriBranson, Missouri
Branson, Missouri

The Eagles Tribute Band
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Just one more shot

The Eagles Tribute Band
Small Intimate TheatreSmall Intimate Theatre
Small Intimate Theatre

The Tribute Theatre

22nd June 2016

A man named Jed
I feel like I have lived my life under a rock, as I have never heard of Branson. It sounds like an incredible bend of music, family tackiness and beautiful scenery, but what I am impressed with is this is potentially the area Jed Clampett came from - I have to get there now.
22nd June 2016

Yes Clampett-
It is unique. Southern fried foods and buffets a plenty. I really would like to go back some day and take advantage of the amazing nature in this area. It does not get the exposure it should. I'm also amazed at the number of state parks in Arkansas. Our drive was beautiful.
22nd June 2016

Fun in our own counry
You remind us that we don't have to go abroad to find interesting and beautiful places. We have to start exploring our own country. Glad to see that you are still traveling and blogging. Sonja
22nd June 2016

Hello Sonja,
Good hearing from you and glad you are still following our travels. There are so many hidden gems in this country. The good thing about Branson is the tickets to shows are generally $35 to $40 where you'd pay a lot more in other locations. Great entertainment.
22nd June 2016

"We are always amazed how many good musicians there are in the world"
It's great to know all about these music talents in North America. It's great learning from you. I'm keeping the names of all these places in my bucket-list! Thanks for sharing the article David and MJ, lot to learn!
22nd June 2016

Good musicians in the world
We are truly lucky to live in a place where music abounds. I'm glad you are keeping a list because the U.S. has so much to offer besides LA, NYC and Vegas. Let us know when you come this way.
22nd June 2016

"but for now we seek music"
Sounds like a good long life kicking up your darn Binkleys. Sounds like you may need some like minded company! Denise & I are determined to return to explore the Blues Highway in greater depth before our dance shoes can tread the boards no more...maybe that's where we should get the band back together...again!!!
22nd June 2016

"but for now we seek music"
You name the date and we are there for you. We'd love to explore with you along the Blues Highway or any other location of your choice. The band needs to get back together. You would have loved the band at the Tribute Theatre....they rocked the roof off the place.
22nd June 2016
Arkansas highways

Lovely drive
Thanks for sharing MJ, this is a side of the US I would love to explore when we eventually plan our road trip. And southern food! :)
22nd June 2016
Arkansas highways

Lovely drive
Southern food a plenty in this part of the world. This area is famous for ribs.
23rd June 2016

Hidden byways
Must admit I've crossed the country a dozen times, but always missed the Midwest, so I've never heard of Branson. But what a charming, fun, slice of Americana, and so wonderful that your got to enjoy so much music! That Arkansas scenery is gorgeous, so not just the destination, but the journey was also great. Great explorations--something for everyone in our grand country!
23rd June 2016

Hidden byways
We agree that there is so much to see in the U.S. Branson is indeed a slice of Americana.
24th June 2016

Could you two be any cooler?
Beautiful MJ and Dave: I love love love reading your blogs. Please keep the musical travel updates coming! 2nd Annual Utah Blues Festival last weekend here in Salt Lake City. Finale was Toronzo Cannon and Bernard Allison jamming with Ronnie Baker Brooks... can't get any better than that! Okay-- maybe if you threw in an ocean... Oh WAIT! We are surrounded by our glorious mountains! Best to you both, xoxo
25th June 2016

The Wonderful Stephanie
We drove to Fort Smith Arkansas and saw Mr. Sipp perform at the local Blues Festival. Sounds like the Blues Festival in Salt Lake was excellent. Mr. Sipp is opening his own club in Mississippi. It was supposed to open in November but it got pushed back to March. I think we should organize a group to go to the club shortly after it opens. What do you think? Enjoy the mountains.

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