On Monday, 29 August 2016, at the 41st Annual Old Time Country Music Festival in LeMars, Iowa, in a ceremony on the Main Stage, officiated by Bob Everhart, president of the National Traditional Country Music Association, James Adelsberger was presented the Rural Roots Music Commission 2016 “Instrumental CD of the Year” Award, and Mike Johnson was presented the National Traditional Country Music Association 2016 “Lifetime Achievement” Award for his decades of traditional country music involvement. On 13 August 2016, and just in time for the festival, Roughshod Records released its 51st and 52nd CDs; Mike Johnson’s 14-song “Let Me Die In a Honky Tonk!” and James Adelsberger’s 13-song “My Heart Still Sees.”
James and Mike left Virginia on Saturday 27 August 2016 and arrived in LeMars, Iowa on Sunday 28 August 2016. Two early to check into their room at the Amber Inn Motel, they headed over to the festival grounds to touch base with the Everharts, the festival organizers, and catch up with some old friends. After setting up their product table they did what everyone comes to do. Play music! They started an impromptu jam session in the plaza and soon drew a respectable crowd and accompaniment by Jacob Austin on his mandolin.
Towards noon, Sunday, Bob Everhart, president of the National Traditional Country Music Association, showed up to kick off the week-long 41st Annual Old Time Country Music Festival with a short speech and a prayer. The organization was started in 1976 with the express purpose of preserving America’s roots music; country, bluegrass, gospel, and folk. And he’s done just that with 10 different stages, attracting hundreds of musicians and fans from around the globe!
Mike and James did over a dozen performances throughout the week, together, James solo, and James backing up a number of other acts who love his guitar picking. A big highlight for James was Mike getting his long-time friend Terry Smith to perform on stage with them. Terry is the songwriter of “Far Side Banks of Jordan” and James’ grandmother is his biggest fan. She was tickled to death to get photos and a video of James performing with Terry. Another highlight for James was Mike introducing him to Grand Ole Opry star, Claude Gray, and presenting him with our latest CDs. Claude received the National Traditional Country Music Association 2016 Living Legend award, and did a stand-up performance on the Main Stage. Also a member of the NTCMA Mike and Claude first met back when the festival was being held in Missouri Valley, Iowa, and kept in casual touch.
Though a number of his festival friends have passed on to Hillbilly Heaven, or could no longer travel, Mike was very pleased to re-connect with those who did show; Terry Smith, Bill Lear, Mary Nell Eidson, Marge & John Duttweiller, Fred Lawson, Larry Harms, Jackie Shewey, Francis Hahn, Kathy Dovel, Dale Eichor, Elaine Peacock, Gordon Wilcox, Ben Steneker, Harold Condray, Lee Muller, Rick & Harriett Andersen, to mention a select few. And James was equally excited to meet with the new friends he made in 2015 when he made a solo trip to the festival; Jacob Austin, Rod Brandt, Janine Sherry, Ed & Betty Rydell, and Red Johnson, to mention a few. And to all you new fans and friends they made, Mike and James say “It was a pleasure meeting you and we hope to see you again!”
After a very busy week of playing music and catch-up Mike and James checked out of their motel on Saturday morning, 3 September 2016 and headed over to the festival grounds to say their good-byes. They arrived in Virginia on Sunday evening loaded with lots of good memories, about 1500 photographs and about 20 hours of video footage. They took 2 guitars each, 3 cameras, and 2 camcorders. Check out our YouTube Channel to see some of the performers and Mike and James’ awards presentations.
Joe Arnold, manager Roughshod Records