Almost Patsy Cline Band to perform in Edna
By BY CAROLINA ASTRAIN
April 10, 2013 at 2:05 p.m.
Updated April 9, 2013 at 11:10 p.m.
A young mother washes the dishes, belting out a country favorite as her son and daughters sing along.
"I walk for miles along the highway. Well that's just my way of sayin' I love you. I'm always walkin' after midnight, searchin' for you."
The third stanza brings a 3-year-old Lanette Pennell's voice to a higher pitch than the one before.
Soon, her father, who has just come home from a long day at work, joins in the family's spontaneous karaoke session.
"I've loved country music all my life," said Pennell, now 55, of Bandera. "As children, we all sang and danced at home."
In 2001, Pennell formed "The Almost Patsy Cline Band," a Patsy Cline tribute band, with a couple of her close friends.
They'll be playing Saturday night at Edna's Texas Country Oaks Dance Hall.
They sing a country version of Frank Sinatra's "Summer Wind" that I'm dying to see.
And I'm not even a country-musicperson, per se, but for Patsy, I'm willing to convert for one night.
Pennell has been playing music professionally since 1977.
"I Fall to Pieces" was the song that served as inspiration for Pennell and bandmate Vicki Gillespie, 64, for naming the band.
"We do a lot of harmony with her music," Pennell said. "There's a lot of vocal depth in the band."
Larry Nolen Jr., 55, and Larry Lucas, 61, play guitar, Gillespie sings and pounds away at the keyboard, Rick Reynolds, 58, is the drummer and Pennell plays bass.
All five band members play full time and spend their days touring across the world but mostly in Texas.
The group likes to play two different types of shows.
One is meant for dancing; another is meant for enrichment.
In 2008, "The Almost Patsy Cline Band" was listed on the Texas Touring Commission on the Arts roster.
On the Texas Touring Commission on the Arts' website, a public or concert performance by the tribute band ranges from $3,000 to $5,000 and a school performance costs between $600 to $1,500.
They're set to receive state funding through 2014 and are constantly looking for venues to perform their more educational shows.
Denise Griffin, the mayor of Bandera, named them the Official City Goodwill Ambassadors in 2003.
"We're not a cover band," Pennell said. "When I think of cover bands, I think of groups that play songs that are popular on the radio; we don't do that."
The educational shows are somewhat like a tribute band show you'd see in Branson, said Pennell.
Between sets of "Three Cigarettes in an Ashtray," and "Stop the World and Let Me Off," the legacy musicians talk about the history and back-stories behind each song and how they might have mirrored Cline's life.
They'll be playing at an Abilene Philharmonic Orchestra fundraiser Thursday and at the Poteet Strawberry Festival this Sunday.
Their fourth CD will be released in a few weeks, featuring original music and legendary country songs made famous by Cline and other artists.
"We'll go anywhere," Pennell said. "We've haven't been to Victoria yet, but we would if we ever got the chance."
I'm supposed to be hosting a house-warming party that night, but I might sneak away for a two-step lesson from Pennell and her bandmates.