Cleburne Times-Review, Cleburne, TX

December 17, 2006

John Watson: Warm Country Heart — a band resurrected


The Warm Country Heart Band performed in Glen Rose at the Warm Country Heart Theatre on Barnard Street for about a year and a half. Last May 1 the theater burned down. Nothing was left but the walls of the building. Most of the band’s instruments were also lost.

Just as the mythical Phoenix arose from the ashes, the Warm Country Heart Band has risen from the ashes and is performing in Granbury. The saying goes that you can’t keep a good man down, and neither can you keep a good band down.

The band performs in the “new” Warm Country Heart Theatre, 1310 Texas 51, one mile north of the courthouse square in Granbury. The band has been at this location since early October. The theater is on the left and is wheelchair accessible.

Jack Greubel is the band leader and also the drummer. He has been playing the drums for longer than he would like to say. He was the original drummer for the Masters Festival of Music, which included Floyd Cramer, Chet Atkins and Boots Randolph. Jack performed with them for 15 years in Nashville.

Greubel, while on the drums, puts on a show of his own. He catches your attention with his movements and facial expressions as he plays the drums. You catch yourself watching him rather than the featured performer. Apparently he gets those drum sticks pretty hot because he is the only drummer I have seen playing the drums with gloves on.

Jack played “Caravan” as a drum solo. After he started playing the other band members left the stage and sat in the audience while Jack performed solo. After 10 minutes or so, they went back up on the stage and got in on the finale.

Lead guitarist and male vocalist is John Nash. John had three electric guitars on the stage with him. Each one was tuned differently. One, a pink guitar, he called his sax. This one was really special. He only played this when they performed the tune “Tequila.” If you remember that tune, you know that most of it was played on a saxophone and John made that guitar sound like a saxophone. (Their featured saxophone player left after the fire.)

John’s wife, Alice, was playing bass.

Michelle Winters and Shea Buchanan were the featured female vocalists. Michelle has been with the band a while and has also performed at Granbury Live. Shea is from Fort Worth and teaches high school English. Two of the numbers I really enjoyed were Patsy Cline songs performed by Shea.

They were doing their Christmas show when we were there and the second half of the show was all Christmas songs. These were very enjoyable.

One of the newer band members is Jerry Van Kirk on the fiddle. As the old song goes, you can’t play in Texas unless you have a fiddle in the band. Warm Country Heart now has a fiddle in the band.

Jerry told me that normally they feature him on two fiddle tunes, but during December while they are having their Christmas specials, they have cut his time back. He will be doing more of his fiddle tunes after Christmas.

Albert Talley of Cleburne was playing the steel guitar and his special number was “Steel Guitar Rag.” Albert was just filling in for one of the regular members.

Here you have a Branson-style performance with Western swing reminiscent of the great musicians like Floyd Cramer and Bob Wills. They performed two Bob Wills numbers when we were there.

This is a very informal group with a lot of interaction between the performers and the audience. From time to time audience members may be invited on stage to sing along with the band. During the intermission you have a chance to visit with the band members and get to know them.

Dec. 2 will be their last Christmas show. If you enjoy the Western swing music and like Christmas carols played in this style of music, then take time out from your shopping and drive over to Granbury, have an early dinner and relax with the Warm Country Heart Band for a few hours. There is plenty of off-road parking.

You will see a live Branson-style music show at 7:30 p.m. every Saturday.



Ticket prices are:

F Adults (under 65) — $24.00

F Seniors (65 and older) — 22.00

F Groups (25 and older) — 20.00

F Youth (14 and under) — Free



Jack told me that since the winter months of January and February are generally slow months, he is offering a special for those two months only of $15 tickets for everyone. Remember, Valentine’s Day is in February, and this would be a great place to take your sweetheart. Make your reservations early.

To make reservations, call 817-573-4657 or toll-free 866-751-8263

You can get more information about upcoming shows and book reservations at www.warmcountryheart.com.



John Watson is a Cleburne resident who may be reached at texastraveler@sbcglobal.net.