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Happy homecoming for Gerry Moss

Posted Wednesday, June 16, 2010, at 7:51 AM

LOW DOWN AND DIRTY: Gerry Moss plays the blues at the Omaha Center in Cherokee Village May 1. Photo/Bob Fleming
Apparently, living in Big D agrees with Mr. Gerry Moss.

But as they say - one town's gain is another town's loss.

And that couldn't be any truer than in this case.

After calling Hardy and the Spring River area home for a good two decades, Moss pulled up stakes and headed south to Dallas, Texas about five years ago.

And this area is poorer for his absence.

Just ask any of those that used to flock wherever Moss might be playing, either solo acoustic, with his band The Drive, or as a member of Throttle.

Just ask any of the dozens of youngsters who took their first guitar, bass, drum of keyboard lessons from Moss. Some of who have went on to form their own bands, feeding off the inspiration that Moss delivered.

So it was a real pleasure for those gathered inside Cherokee Village's Omaha Center the first weekend in May to have the chance to once again be dazzled by the impressive talents of Gerry Moss.

Guitarist. Vocalist. Songwriter. Entertainer.

That's Gerry Moss.

And spending a half-decade around the hustle-and-bustle of the Metroplex doesn't seem to have slowed him down one single bit.

His voice was filled with as much gritty authority as ever and his guitar playing ... well ... his guitar playing was pure Gerry Moss.

While his brief trip back into town was to serve as an opening act for Leon Russell, Moss' appearance at the Omaha Center took on an impromptu homecoming and family reunion kind of feel.

The crowd was loud and boisterous from the outset and before Moss could even plug his acoustic guitar in on stage, shouts of "Hey, Moss!", "Welcome home!, and just plain "Gerry!" shot up to the rafters of the Omaha Center like a fistful of bottle rockets.

And by the big grin that slowly crept across his face, Moss couldn't have been any happier at that instant.

That much was confirmed after his set, when he confessed, "Wow. I'm really humbled by that reception. It was really something. I just can't begin to thank these folks enough for how they made me feel tonight."

That feeling was certainly a two-way street as Moss hit the ground running with a set of old favorites with some tasty new offerings sprinkled in.

Armed only with his trusty acoustic guitar, Moss quickly caught his Spring River fans up to speed on what they've been missing -- hankering for - the past several years.

Of course he dusted off "Shoestring," a local favorite about a quirky individual who plays by his own rules. He also delivered a spot-on version of "Here Comes the Sun."

With a tip of his hat to his now home stomping-grounds in the Lone Star state, Moss also broke out a fantastic "Pancho and Lefty" that surely would have received a thumbs-up from the late, great Townes Van Zandt.

But the real jewels during Moss' set were a pair of original tunes -- "Sweet Angel" and "Fried Chicken Blues."

Hopefully one day soon, his fans will be able to add a new CD to their collection, Gerry Moss' latest, with both those tunes front and center.

While it was really impressive to see the way he was welcomed back home, receiving adoring attention is not something new, or foreign, to Moss.

After all, he was once a featured member of country superstar Johnny Lee's ("Looking for Love") band and before that was bass player for Lloyd Price's ("Stagger Lee", "Lawdy Miss Claudy") outfit.

Moss has also shared the stage with the likes of Bobby "Blue" Bland, Albert Collins, Rufus Thomas, Edgar Winter, Joe Walsh, Stevie Winwood, Johnny Rivers, Mose Allison, Albert King, Buddy Guy, Merle Haggard, George Jones, Willie Nelson, Charlie Pride and Hank Williams, Jr., to name a few.

For this occasion, it was the iconic living legend Leon Russell that drew top-billing.

And neither Moss, nor his many friends and fans jammed into the Omaha Center the first weekend in May, had a problem with that.

But one thing's for sure.

Leon Russell may have been the ice cream sundae on this night, but there was no doubt that Gerry Moss' homecoming was the cherry on top of the treat.

Here's hoping we get more of the same in the near future.

A special thank you goes out to Bob Fleming and his family for the pictures he took of the Gerry Moss/Leon Russell show.

Bob was not only an excellent photographer and connoisseur of all things related to a camera, he was also a huge fan and supporter of live music.

He will be greatly missed.

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Terry Mullins, Sports Editor
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Since my own high school sports career fizzled out before it really reached its zenith, I have managed to live vicariously through the student/athletes of the 16 high schools I've covered for Areawide Media since 2001. I've witnessed the highest of highs in the form of state championships. I have also seen first-hand the sting of disappointment when the ultimate prize was within reach, but still eluded the grasp of its pursuer. But through all the ups and downs associated with high school sports, my respect for the young competitors that suit up each night, along with the men and women who guide them, remains unwavering. Blog mission: With my passion for music, especially live music, running second only to my passion for sports, I'll try to devote this space to both. Especially when it concerns our region and what's happening around it. Look for commentary and features on area sports figures and musicians, along with things to get out and do in the beautiful Spring River/Ozarks area. But I'll not totally ignore the outside - I'll also hit on some national happenings in the wide worlds of sports and music.
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