By Leilani Roberts Ott
Tanner Young is a fan of the late country singer Marty Robbins, loves to go to bluegrass festivals — and he’s only 15.
Young of Colbert is bringing his Southern gospel, country and bluegrass music to the Plumb Theatre in Longtown as the opening show for a monthlong celebration. Theater owners Paul and Mattie Malloy are celebrating the venue’s 10th anniversary with 10 special shows in March.
The first weekend features Tanner at 7 p.m. today performing in a free show. The Saturday show will feature international impersonator/entertainer Sherrill Douglas performing “Crazy ’Bout Patsy,” a tribute to country singer Patsy Cline, who died in a plane crash 50 years ago. Tickets are $10 and available by calling (918) 452-2020. Other shows are at 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays with entertainers from as far as Iowa to as close as Muskogee.
The Malloys received a promotion packet from Tanner and his parents, Steve and Kim Young. They were amazed at the talented teen who said he got his love for music from his grandparents Joel and Wanda Harris, who live next door. Besides singing, he plays guitar, mandolin and dobro well, but he can also play fiddle, bass and banjo, his mother said. He won first in the Oklahoma Junior Flat Picking Contest in Davis and was first runner-up in the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame in Carthage, Texas. He will tour with the Hall of Fame Band Road Show.
“I’m so proud,” Kim Young said. “It’s amazing how professional he is. It’s serious business.”
Tanner said his favorite song is “The Master’s Call,” a song done by Marty Robbins. It’s also the title of Tanner’s new CD. Tanner is just the kind of talent Mattie and Paul wanted when they opened their theater.
“We opened it for young people to give them a platform other than church,” said Mattie, who started learning music in seventh grade.
They also wanted a stage for their traditional country music. Paul has been playing music since he was 15. One of his biggest claims to fame is co-writing a song for country great George Strait called “Someone’s Walking Around Upstairs.”
Paul found an old guitar someone had left upstairs in a house in Oklahoma City his family moved into when he was 15. He glued it together and his mother bought him some strings for it. A friend across the street taught him a few chords.
While in the U.S. Army stationed in Korea, he formed a little group performing at clubs. When he came home, he played with bands at VFW dances, making as little as $5 a show. His music took him on the road to St. Louis, Las Vegas and Nashville. His son, Paul David Malloy, who changed his name to David Anthony, played drums in the band sometimes. Anthony later played with Reba McEntire and George Strait.
“Me and David were in Oklahoma City with a tape recorder and a 12-pack when we wrote ‘Someone’s Walking Around Upstairs.’ My first check from that song was $11,600. I thought I’d invest it.”
He used the money to buy the theater, which was originally a junk store and bait shop that Mattie operated. Mattie met Paul at one of his shows in Oklahoma City in 1974. They married the same year.
“He was just cool,” she said.
She grew up helping her father who worked in a meat market in Oklahoma City. That was her trade until Paul and The Jeweltones, a group of three women who perform in his shows, were going to Iowa to play some shows. He bought her an upright bass in 2005 and she became part of the band.
“I love it,” Mattie said. “We did 40 shows in one week. It was hard and fast.”
Paul wants to encourage people to play music like Tanner. He performs almost every weekend with a goal of playing in the theaters in Branson, Mo.
“I like old country and western ballads,” said Tanner, a sophomore at Colbert High School. “I grew up around it.”
Paul and Mattie are expecting a full house of 110 for Tanner’s show. Mattie said they wouldn’t be celebrating the 10th anniversary if it weren’t for the many musicians that perform and keep things going.
“It’s been a fun,” Paul said. “It’s something we love to do and people love coming.”
If you go
WHAT: The 10th anniversary of The Plumb Theatre, 16505 Oklahoma 9 East, Eufaula.
WHEN: 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays in March. Doors open at 6 p.m. Concessions are available.
• Tanner Young of Colbert, teen gospel singer and musician, today.
• Sherrill Douglas of Texas performs “Crazy ‘Bout Patsy,” a tribute to the late Patsy Cline, Saturday.
• The Singing Alversons of Stigler and Iowa’s Jerry and Sharon Mescher, The Bones, March 8.
• Iowa’s Jerry and Sharon Mescher, The Bones, and Herrold Sisters of Tulsa, March 9.
• Jody Green and Crystal River of Muskogee, March 15.
• Tribute Night with several impersonators, March 16.
• Sweetwater of eastern Oklahoma, March 22.
• Terry Smith of Nashville, who wrote “Far Side Banks of Jordan” for Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash, March 23.
• Jeweltone trio of Eufaula, March 29.
• Olen Davis and The Travelers of the Eufaula area, March 30.
TICKETS: Friday gospels shows are free and Saturday shows are $5, except $10 for the Sherrill Douglas and Terry Smith shows with tickets available by calling (918) 452-2020, or at the door.