After visiting and writing about several Texas Towns, I have adopted several. One of my favorites is Tyler, the “Rose Capitol of the United States”! The “Vision” of this fine city is “To be the standard for performance excellence in local government”. The “Vision” of Liberty Hall is “To support the City of Tyler’s efforts to revitalize downtown by creating an arts and entertainment culture, thereby attracting residents and visitors to the downtown district.
Liberty Hall’s mission is to create an exciting, stimulating, arts and entertainment experience, that will integrate the arts into the downtown’s social, economic and community fabric, by providing diverse opportunities for entertainment, through film, theater, comedy and music.
Celebrating its Grand Opening in September of 2011, the theater is now and will continue presenting an array of quality entertainment, ranging from nationally known artists to regional and local entertainers from all genres of music, comedy, theater as well as classic movies. To be absolutely frank, I wasn’t aware that Liberty Hall was actually attracting the headline acts it has secured. If you are a fan of Texas music, you will definitely enjoy the next few months line up.
I apologize for the brief window of the first act, but I guess its better than overlooking the coming acts. First up, this Saturday night December 5, 2015 is “Gaelic Storm” the chart-topping, multi-national Celtic band. Their new release “Matching Sweaters” mixes traditional Irish music with modern influences, creating a sound that is as wide-ranging as the band’s own audience. From bluegrass and country fans, to Deadheads, rock & rollers and Celtic fanatics, Gaelic Storm has built one of the most diverse fan bases in modern music.
“We’re a Touring Band,” says percussionist Ryan Lacey, who joined the lineup in 2003.
Those live shows date all the way back to the mid-1990’s, when Gaelic Storm kicked off its career as a pub band in Santa Monica, California. By the end of the decade, the musicians had appeared in the blockbuster film “Titanic” (where they performed “Irish Party in Third Class”) and laid the groundwork for a career that would eventually find them topping the Billboard World Chart five times, making appearances at mainstream music festivals such as Summerfest, Telluride and The Rock Boat Cruise, and regularly headlining the largest Irish Festivals across the country, all the while gaining a reputation as a genre-bending Irish band whose songs mix Celtic traditions with something new and unexpected. Now, with the band’s 20th anniversary on the horizon, they’re putting even more emphasis on those newer directions.
“Playing for a new crowd is great,” says Twigger. “It takes you back to those early days, where you’ve got something to prove. We could just do Irish festivals, but why not play a crossover show where 90% of the audience doesn’t know you, and you have to make them know you? That’s what makes your band good.”
When it came time to write Matching Sweaters’ 12 songs, Murphy and Twigger teamed up with longtime friend and co-writer Steve Wehmeyer. Together, the three found inspiration in everything from old Irish newspapers (“The Rustling Goat Gang,” whose details were gleaned from an article about a vanishing goat herd from Waterford) to bits of conversation overheard in local pubs (“Paddy’s Rubber Arm”).
“Playing for a new crowd is great,” says Twigger. “It takes you back to those early days, where you’ve got something to prove.
The following weekend, December 12th, Tyler and the Liberty Hall is thrilled to welcome back comedian Henry Cho to Liberty Hall. Cho was in Tyler in 2013 and sold out his comedy show. Cho is of Korean American descent, and was born and raised in Knoxville and went into stand-up comedy in 1986. He often uses his childhood experiences as an Asian American in the South, as a basis for his comedy. Cho’s TV and film credits include appearances on NBC ’s The Tonight Show, CBS’s The Late, Late, Show, and NBC ’s Young Comedians Special.
In 2012, Henry sold a special/pilot to GAC (Great American Country) in which he served as host, co-writer, and co-producer. “The Henry Cho Show” aired in Fall 2012 and Henry awaits the chance to do more shows for GAC for the network.
Henry was the keynote entertainer for The 59th Annual Radio & Television Correspondents’ Dinner attended by the Bush Administration and has worked extensively with Vince Gill, Amy Grant, Willie Nelson, Carrie Underwood and many, others. Henry’s clean comedy is so versatile that he can headline Vegas and then tour with Michael W. Smith in the same month.
Henry Cho is an American stand-up comedian. His work can be heard nationwide several times weekly on XM Radio’s Channel 151, Laugh USA and Sirius Radio’s Blue Collar Radio channel 103, Pandora Radio’s PG Comedy Radio channel
Cho appeared on many television shows in the late-1980s and early-1990s, including ” The Arsenio Hall Show,” Bob Hope’s Young Comedians Special, MTV’s 1/2 Hour Comedy Hour and VH-1’s Stand-Up Spotlight. His other TV credits include guest roles on various sitcoms such as Designing Women, Lenny, The New WKRP in Cincinnati and a starring role in the TV movie Revenge of the Nerds III: The Next Generation. In 1994, after he moved back to Tennessee, Cho got a call from NBC to host a revamped version of Friday Night Videos titled Friday Night. He commuted to L.A. weekly for two years. Most recently, he has appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.” He was also the keynote speaker for the 59th Annual Radio and Television Correspondents’ Dinner. Henry Cho recently earned his nickname, “Mr. Clean” for his always-clean comedy.
Liberty Hall will start the New Year 2016 off right, with the legendary Texas swing Band, “Asleep at the Wheel and its illustrious leader Ray Benson. Asleep at the Wheel will be in concert at Liberty Hall Saturday, Jan. 23 at 8 p.m. at 8 p.m. Liberty Hall is pleased to once again host Asleep at the Wheel, live in concert. Ray Benson founded Asleep at the Wheel in Paw Paw, West Virginia over 40 years ago. Now based in Austin, the band holds nine Grammy awards, 20 studio albums and 20 singles on the Billboard country charts with over 1.5 million records sold. “Still The King: Celebrating the Music of Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys” marks the bands third full-length Bob Wills tribute album, following 1999’s Ride with Bob and 1993’s A Tribute to the Music of Bob Wills, with four Grammy awards and over 500,000 copies sold collectively.
Singer/guitarist Benson was born Ray Benson Seifert and grew up listening to a variety of music in Philadelphia, especially jazz.
Asleep at the Wheel has been presented with numerous awards such as the 16th Annual Mid-south Regional Emmy Award for the making of “A Ride With Bob”, the Darrel K. Royal Music Patron Award by The Texas Heritage Songwriters’ Association and an astounding nine Grammy Awards. In 2007, the Austin Chronicle recognized Asleep at the Wheel as Band of the Year, Best Country Band and inducted them into their Hall of Fame. Band member Ray Benson was inducted into the Austin Music Hall of Fame in 2002, was given the Texas Music Association Lifetime Achievement Award in 1996, and recognized as an Outstanding Producer by the National Academy of Recording Arts in 1988.
In reviving the freewheeling, eclectic sensibility of Western swing godfather Bob Wills, the Wheel have earned enthusiastic critical praise throughout their lengthy career; they have not only preserved classic sounds that had all but disappeared from country music, but have also been able to update the music, keeping it a living, breathing art form.
It’s not often you can see a band of this calendar in such an intimate setting. Tickets for the show are on sale now at www.LibertyTyler.com . For up to date info on all Liberty Hall events check Liberty Hall out on Facebook and Twitter.
Since the early ’70s, Asleep at the Wheel have been the most important force in keeping the sound of Western swing alive.
If you aren’t busy any of these weekends, I highly recommend you catch one of these shows, at the Liberty Hall in Tyler. I a!ssure you the show will be grand