Dennis Stroughmatt will play tribute show at Espenschied

News-DemocratApril 2, 2014 

If you like the '50s and '60 music of Ray Price and the Cherokee Cowboys, don't miss fiddler Dennis Stroughmatt's tribute to the legendary group Sunday in Mascoutah.

"I'll be playing a tribute to the legendary band with a full swing band, Swing'n'Country out of Marion," said Stroughmatt, who hails from southeastern Illinois.

They will perform at 2 p.m. Sunday at Espenschied Chapel, 317 Country Road. Tickets are $10 at the door.

"We'll take the audience on a musical journey, teaching a little history as well an entertaining," Stroughmatt said. "There will be music from the late '40s to the '70s and into the '80s. Not only the music of the Cherokee Cowboys, but also their influences, including the hoky-tonk music of Hank Williams and the western swing of Bob Wills, and the people Ray influenced, like Willie Nelson."

The concert ties in nicely with Stroughmatt's new CD, "Talk to My Heart: A Tribute to the Cherokee Cowboys." The CD will be available at the concert on Sunday, even before its official April 15 release date.

"I grew up listening to Ray Price," said Stroughmatt, whose high-energy shows have made him a favorite at Espenscheid. "My dad was a huge fan. It's kind of fun that I'm half the age of all of the Cherokee Cowboys and I got the opportunity to work with them."

For the new CD, Stroughmatt got to record classic Cherokee Cowboys songs with legendary musicians Buddy spicher, Hargus "Pig Robbins, Lloyd Green, Willie Candtue, Wade Bernard, Mike Sweeney and, as a guest vocalist, Tony Booth.

Ray Price died in December.

"Now the Cherokee Cowboys are all in their 70s," Stroughmatt said. "It was a great thrill to work with them."

What he is most proud of and what fans will discover Sunday in Mascoutah:

"We play the Cherokee Cowboys' music the way they wanted it to be played."

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