Country music festival kicks off this year

By Jeff Smith

Harland Allen and Kim Bachman of "Aces & Eights Classic Country Music". They will be one of the performing acts at the “Black Hills Original Music Showcase” .

High Country Guest Ranch is putting on a show unlike any other in the area. The event provides two days of classic country music.

It is going to put cowboys and soulful songwriters out on the outdoor stage at High Country Guest Ranch.

This is the first time the Classic Country Music Festival is going to be held. Seven total artists are going to perform July 21-22.

John Majchrzak  and his wife, Barbara,  who own High Country Guest Ranch, are fans of classic country music and have been looking for a type of festival featuring classic country artists. Not finding one, they decided to create one. With the help of Harland Allen and Kim Bachman, the Classic Country Music Festival was born.

The Majchrzaks have committed to holding the event for three years.

A wide spectrum of artists is going to perform at the event. There are those with a local flavor and have experienced performing all over the Black Hills as well as a nationally-known artist.

Bachman and Allen, also known as the duo “Aces & Eights Classic Country Music,”  found all of the rtists to perform at the event. Bachman said it was important to find the artists who have the classic country sound.

“Musicians in the area are a close knit family,” Bachman said, “We become familiar with the sound and genres that are played.”

Aces & Eights has played with a number of the artists that are going to be at the festival.  They have also been guests at a classic country music festival in Le Mars, Iowa. The organizers of the event are coming out to the Classic Country Music Festival.

She said they will be able to offer a lot of wisdom about their festival and she is excited they are going to be a part of it.

According to Bachman, people of all ages will enjoy the Classic Country Music Festival.

“There’s a real hunger for old country even though hip hop country is dominating the market,” Bachman said.

She has been surprised at the number of young people who have a true appreciation for the older type of country songs and can sing along. Bachman expects the 55 and older crowd to come out in droves to hear some familiar tunes.

Bands will sing covers and perform their own songs. Aces & Eights does a little bit of both as they sing songs from country greats that have been on the radio for years and will perform songs they have written. Allen and Bachman have been performing for two years.

Little David Wilkins is the national artist who is coming from Nashville to perform at the festival. Wilkins released his greatest number of chart hits between 1969 and 1977. He has had record deals with MCA records, Epic Records and Playboy Records. One of his songs, “Georgia Keeps Pulling on My Ring” was also recorded by Conway Twitty.

Pegie Douglas of Gumbo Lily of the West is honored to be part of the Classic Country Music Festival. Douglas has played with Bachman and knows there are other great people who are perfomers that are going to be at the event. Gumbo Lily of the West has been together for two years and is an acoustic Americana band that also plays a blend of bluegrass, country, folk and originals. Everyone in the band ran into each other at jams at a festival and have been playing together since. The band is a regular at Hart Ranch Camping Resort.

They have also performed at the Spearfish Arts Festival, the Buffalo Roundup Arts Festival, the Historic Homestake Opera House and Holy Terror Days.

“We have a good following at Hart Ranch. People are very enthusiastic about it,” Douglas said.

Majchrzak said the coolest thing about the event is that Bob and Sheila Everhart are going to provide a Smithsonian Institute look at classic country music. Their performance will feature tribute performances of songs from the Carter Family, Jimmie Rodgers, Hank Williams, Roy Acuff,  Johnny Cash and Hank Snow. 

The Everharts are also the ones who host the classic country music festival in Iowa. This year it is in its 41st year.

As it is the first year of the event for High Country Guest Ranch Majchrzak is not sure how many people will show up.

“Maybe 200, maybe 800 or somewhere in between,” Majchrzak said.

It will be all outside and Majchrzak said it works since it is pretty dry outside during late July. Majchrzak said it’s going to be neat to see everyone in nature and enjoying the classic country music.

High Country Guest Ranch is the perfect place to host the event, Bachman said.

“It’s absolutely beautiful scenery for classic country,” Bachman said.

The cost for both days of the event is $19. To purchase tickets call High Country Guest Ranch at 605- 574-9003.