BLAIRSBURG - There was a lot of toe tapping at the Blairsburg Opera House Saturday night as world travellers Bob and Sheila Everhart performed old time American music.
The performance benefited the Blairsburg Opera House Preservation fund.
Hailing from Anita, Iowa, the Everharts have travelled the world, including a performance with the New Zealand Symphony in Auckland. In the United States, they have performed on PBS' "Old Time Country Music" and RFD-TV's "Midwest Country." They are also recording artists for the Smithsonian Institute.
Performers Shelia and Bob Everhart presented a collection of old-time country music classics at the Blairsburg Opera House on Saturday night. While Sheila mans the upright doghouse bass, Bob sings, plays harmonica and acoustic guitar and weaves the stories of how some folk songs made it into the fabric of our American heritage.
Throughout the Blairsburg performance, Bob told the stories behind how music evolved in America.
"Old songs are the oral tradition of America," said Everhart.
The duo had the audience clapping along was he spoke of the evolution of music from folk tunes to Blue Grass and traditional old time country.
The Everharts performed a rousing "Wabash Cannonball" by Roy Acuff, the
King of Country and Hank Williams' standard, "Your Cheatin' Heart."
Bob told the story of when he met his wife, Sheila. As he was travelling through the Missouri Ozarks and he saw a young lady slopping the hogs by a cabin.
"How many of you know how to slop a hog?" Everhart asked to a nearly unanimous audience response. "This opera house is full of hog sloppers!" he remarked to audience applause.
Everhart continued the tale. Following dinner in that Ozark cabin, Sheila abruptly cleared the table, jumped up on it and began to clog. That is what sealed his love for her, he confessed.
So following the story, Sheila performed a classic clog dance.
Before performing "My Long Journey Home," Everhart related the story of Bill Monroe, the Father of Blue Grass and his brother, Charlie who first worked in Shenandoah, Iowa where they performed daily on a radio program.
They eventually became recording artists on RCA's Blue Bird recording label.
The American standard "Down in the Valley" is also known by a less familiar title, "Birmingham Jail," explained Everhart. He related the story about a young man who kills another man in jealousy over a woman and pens the tune from his jail cell.
Finishing up the performance, the Everharts performed the hymn "Amazing Grace" after telling the story of slave trader John Newton's brush with death and his salvation.
"It is said if you cannot stand anymore, kneel," said Everhart.
The Blairsburg Opera House will host the Iowa Opera House Project performance of Thankful Dirt by Dave Moore, Sam Knutson and John Waite on Friday, July 13 at 7 p.m.