If you didn’t get a chance to go to Friday’s tribute to Albert E. Brumley, held at the Neosho Civic Auditorium, you indeed missed a once in a lifetime event.


If you didn’t get a chance to go to Friday’s tribute to Albert E. Brumley, held at the Neosho Civic Auditorium, you indeed missed a once in a lifetime event.

A number of gospel recording artists performed musical tributes to Brumley, probably one of the most prolific songwriters in gospel music history, as he composed more than 800 songs during his lifetime. Many of his songs have been favorites for years, including his best known “I’ll Fly Away” and others such as “Turn Your Radio On,” “I’ll Meet You in the Morning,” and “He Set Me Free.”
Interspersed throughout the evening were snippets of history, the story behind the songs. For instance, in 1936, Brumley got to thinking about his own mortality, with his thoughts leading him to pen “I’ll Meet You in the Morning.”

Duane Garren, a long-time employee of Albert E. Brumley and Sons publishing house in Powell, served as master of ceremonies for the event. Garren promised a fast-paced evening and delivered, as the three-hour event flew by before culminating with “I’ll Fly Away.”

The evening was marked by great performances from many of the performers, including the nationally-known Chuck Wagon Gang and regional and local favorites such as 9th Hour, the Missourians, Canaan Bound, the McCunes, and Duke Mason.

All in all, it was a great night not only for gospel music lovers, but for music lovers in general. Several musical styles were heard, from a lyric recitation by former Canaan Bound singer Keith Schneider to rocking sounds from Duke Mason and everything in between.

Garren also told of his love of traditional gospel music, a sentiment apparently shared by at least 900 people who attended the event.

Grove, Okla., comedian Willamae, also known as Patti Beth Anderson, added mirth to the evening, reminding several in the audience of the late Minnie Pearl.

The concert was the brainchild of local promoter Jon Harden, who said he grew up going to Brumley music festivals such as the sundown to sunup gospel sings in Springdale, Ark., and the Hill and Hollow festivals held annually at the Brumley farm in Powell.

And Harden hit the ball out of the park with this idea, as Friday’s concert was completely sold out. Not only out of the park, but a grand slam as well.

We congratulate everyone involved in Friday’s Brumley tribute for the success of the show. We hope this success means more sold out concerts in the future for The Civic.

DAILY NEWS