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Daredevils celebrating 40 years with concert & New Album
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2011, 07:27:43 AM »
Ozark Mountain Daredevils
celebrating 40 years with concert &
New Album

Springfield's Missouri's own Ozark Mountain
Daredevils, committed to Ozarks music
while finding ways to have fun, is
celebrating its 40th anniversary with a
fresh album and an ambitious concert on
Nov. 11 featuring older and newer friends.

The Veterans Day concert will take place in
the 3,200-seat O'Reilly Family Events
Center. In contrast, the album was
recorded live in the 200-seat auditorium at
historic Wildwood Springs Lodge in
Steelville, an intimate setting that sparked
the band, original Daredevil John Dillon
said. He and fellow founding member Steve
Cash looked ahead to playing in a space
1,500 percent bigger than the Steelville

"I think, in Springfield, it doesn't matter
what venue we play," Cash said. "It's always
like somebody's living room."

Two like-minded bands will join the
concert: Big Smith, the local group steeped
in the regional tradition; and the Nitty Gritty
Dirt Band, the roots-oriented group with
longstanding ties to the Daredevils.

The concert will honor veterans and raise
money for the Ozarks Honor Flight program
that transports World War II veterans to see
their memorial in Washington, D.C.

Brothers Jody and Mark Bilyeu of Big Smith
recently joined Dillon and Cash at Dillon's
residence in Ozark to talk about music

An "amalgamation"

Three original Daredevils -- Michael "Supe"
Granda along with Dillon and Cash -- will
perform in the nine-piece group at the
concert. Dillon emphasized that this mix is
in keeping with the ever-evolving nature of
the Daredevils, which he calls "a weird
amalgamation of all kinds of people over
the last 40 years."

Buddy Brayfield, who left the band in the
late 1970s and now works as a physician
at Osage Beach, will return to appear on
stage and to support Honor Flights, Dillon
said. Brayfield's late father was a strong
supporter of the program, Dillon said.

Founding members Larry Lee and Randle

Chowning will not appear. Having departed
during the band's first decade, they
separately returned to Springfield and
performed at the 2007 Gillioz concert
preserved on the DVD, "Live at the Gillioz."
Since then, they have formed their own

Dillon said the Daredevils did not reach out
to Chowning and Lee.

"They made it very clear," Dillon said. "They
have their group called Beyond Reach, and
they're very interested in doing their own

The expanded version of the Daredevils,
which developed about three years ago, is
documented on the forthcoming album,
"Alive & Wild: Live at Wildwood Springs

The lineup allows the band to play songs
with more complex vocal parts that have
not been performed live in many years,
Dillon said.

"The Colorado Song," from the band's first
album, is such a tune, he said, and the
group plans to play it during the concert.

This "new" group includes Ron Gremp, the
drummer for more than 20 years, as well
as Ruell Chappell and Bill Jones, who
participated in the 1970s. Dave Painter,
Kelly Brown and Nick Sibley are more
recent additions.

The Daredevil crowd

Mark and Jody Bilyeu said the Daredevils
helped paved their way.

"I remember when we first got started, the
fan response was tremendous," Mark Bilyeu
said. "I thought there was a crowd ready
there that we just stepped into." It was a
mixture of young and old fans who seemed
to be responding to more than just the
music, he said.

"And I started thinking, 'This is the
Daredevil crowd.' I thought that a lot of
these people were Daredevils fans, or
there was something -- I almost want to
say spiritually -- where they were ready for
something on the local level to emerge."

"You hit it right on the head," Cash said.
"You were the first group to come along
that had the same size boots."

Big Smith crowds were responding to the
group's authenticity, Jody Bilyeu said.

"That's what drew me to the Daredevils,"
he said. "These guys were just being who

they are. When you're a young man picking
up the guitar and you want to be on stage,
there's a path you could go down: 'I want to
be Robert Cray.' It was a much better
decision to be like Jody Bilyeu. I can pull
that off."

Big Smith has a new CD, "Kin," promoted as
true to its acoustic origins and fortified with
12 new tunes. The group is celebrating its
15-year milestone (for the Dirt Band, it's
45 years).

Tradition and change

The four musicians discussed traditional
music and the need to adapt it for new
musicians and audiences.

To that end, both groups are known for
performing humorous songs as well as
heartfelt ones -- the Daredevils for the d
efiant "If You Wanna Get to Heaven" and
the reverential "You Made It Right"; for Big
Smith, "Old Time Religion" and "Burn Down
the House (And Leave by the Light of the

"The Daredevils were a great template for
that because they wrote about Ozarks e
xperiences. But you could tell it was now,
not 50 years ago," Jody Bilyeu said.

Dillon said he consciously applied this
approach to some of the songs he wrote.

"I remember thinking, I'm going to base this
on something that I heard from
Appalachian or early Ozark Mountain
music. Then I'm going to push the lyrics
into a place that will appeal to my

In the process of naming the band, Dillon
said he initially felt uncomfortable with the
final choice.

However, over the years, he has
appreciated the pivotal nature of that

"As it turns out, the fact that we are
associated with this region is probably one
of the reasons we have the longevity we
have," he said.

"Because of it, we're able to still be here 40
years later, because of the loyalty of the
people who understand the region that
we're from."



Peoples Bank of the Ozarks presented a check for $2,500 to Ozarks Honor Flight at a Sept. 6 news conference at Drury University. Ten percent of merchandise sales from the Daredevils’ Nov. 11 concert will go to support Ozarks Honor Flight. / Jim Mayfield / Drury Marketing and Communications
Concert details

The Ozark Mountain Daredevils 40th Anniversary Bash with special guest The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and opening act Big Smith:

» Nov. 11, O'Reilly Family Event Center
»Tickets: $29-$49 plus fees, starting 10 a.m. Friday: www.drurytickets.com, 417-873-6389

6 p.m.: Doors open.
6:45 p.m.: Opening presentation recognizing military personnel and veterans. National anthem.
7 p.m.: Big Smith
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
Ozark Mountain Daredevils

Honor Flight support

Sponsor's efforts: In a news conference scheduled for today, concert sponsor Peoples Bank of the Ozarks planned to present $2,500 for the Ozarks Honor Flight program. When concert promoter Dwight Glenn met with bank executives to discuss sponsoring the concert and supporting Honor Flight, the bank decided to make a direct donation to bring more recognition to the program, Marketing Officer Robin Rees said in an email. The bank will also have a table at the concert where people can make further donations.
Concert merchandise: 10 percent of all merchandise sales from all three groups will go to the Honor Flight program. In addition, a direct donation from each new Daredevils CD sold at the event will benefit the program.