A special TRIBUTE goes to Dr. Bobby Jones and to Jay Mebane for helping to start the OPRY itself and eventually to begin the radio show production for WGWG 88.3 FM.  Without these individuals (and many others) the OPRY would never have been a success and might not even become a reality.

Dr. Bobby Jones (Mr. Mandolin) was a major force in the beginning of the OPRY as a place to gather on Saturday nights and along with his bands and fellow musicians over the years, helped to make it a successful and wonderful experience.  Without Dr. Bobby, we would have been at a terrible loss and might not have even begun.  His band "River Bend Bluegrass" was one of the first bands to ever perform at the OPRY and eventually "NEW RIVER" and "FLINTHILL" bands took their place on the OPRY stage.  A DEEP SENSE of GRATITUDE and THANKS to Dr. Bobby Jones for his caring and support over all the years the OPRY continued. 

Jay Mebane "Mr. Promoter" was instrumental helping to establish The OPRY "LiveAtLeatherwoods" as a radio broadcast beginning in 1995 with the cooperation of WGWG 88.3 FM, Jeff Powell and Noel Manning.  Jay recorded several of the first performances and also loaned the OPRY a studio quality mixing board along with other sound equipment that resulted in a "special sound".  In addition, John Reid with Shelby Music provided equipment to help kick start the shows and to him we are also grateful.   Many of the bands commented on how good the sound was and how much they enjoyed playing at "LEATHERWOODS".  Steve Leatherwood was the regular 'sound man' and managed to record all of the 600 some shows.  Those performances were edited and remixed to broadcast over WGWG-FM (Gardner-Webb), WSGE-FM (Gaston College) and CLASSIC COUNTRY 1390 AM Shelby.  Thanks to all these individuals for their support and encouragement over the years.

Without a doubt, one of the most talented musicians to ever grace the stage of the OPRY was DEMPSEY YOUNG, a "stylist" as Alan Mills dubbed him on the MANDOLIN.  His special style of picking, his humor and smile and his exceptional knowledge of bluegrass music as well as other styles of music made DEMPSEY 'outstanding in his field'.  He was emulated my many but equalled by none.  He was a SPECIAL MAN and it was such a pleasure to know and experience him in real time.

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