Jewell House Day set in Texarkana

TEXARKANA, Ark. – In a salute showcasing the revival and restoration of the city’s


An old postcard showed the Arkansas Municipal Auditorium in its heyday.

historic Arkansas Municipal Auditorium (AMA), Mayor Allen L. Brown has proclaimed Saturday, April 13, as Jewell House Day.

The honor spotlights the late, charismatic Texarkana Country music songwriter, promoter and radio personality who brought top Country and Rockabilly stars to the AMA during Country music’s golden age – the early to mid-’50s.

“The historic value of the auditorium was shaped and greatly influenced by the individuals who were instrumental in bringing legendary performers and notoriety to its stage,” Brown states in the proclamation.

As director and booking agent for the highly successful Texarkana Hayloft


Jewell and Texarkana Hayloft Jamboree emcee Casey Strong of KOSY Radio prepare for the Jamboree’s inaugural performance in February 1953 at the Arkansas Municipal Auditorium. The show was sold out and featured Louisiana Hayride acts such as Red Sovine and the Carlisles along with local talent, including Jeanette Hicks. Worth noting: the fellow in the plaid shirt behind Strong is Texarkana steel guitarist Jimmy Evans. He and his friend, steel guitarist Jay Riley, were mentored by Jewell and went on to become highly regarded and sought-after steel guitarists. Evans invented the world-famous Evans amplifier.

Jamboree and earlier shows, Jewell House leveraged “her enormous circle of influence and extensive connections with the Grand Ole Opry and Louisiana Hayride” to bring stars and future stars to the AMA.

Among them were Hank Williams, Webb Pierce, Red Sovine, Carl Perkins, Elvis Presley, the Wilburn Brothers, Johnny Horton and many others. She showcased local talent at AMA shows as well, helping to launch the careers of gifted Texarkana entertainers such as Jeanette Hicks and steel guitarists Jimmy Evans and Jay Riley.

Restoration of the Art Deco/Collegiate Gothic AMA, shuttered for 45 years but now on the National Register of Historic Places, is led by the AMA Commission and supporters who have made significant progress in reclaiming the cultural treasure that opened in 1928 on East Third Street as part of a city hall-jail-fire station complex.

Jewell House’s family, friends and supporters will gather at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 13, at the AMA for a tribute program – the third event marking the auditorium’s reopening. The House family will be presented with a Jewell House Tribute plaque on behalf of the AMA Commission.
The program will include a discussion with her eldest son, David, and nephew, Carl Teel, regarding her contributions in helping to build the AMA’s prominence as a prized concert venue.

David House also will provide highlights of his mother’s Country music career, beginning in 1948 with Hank Williams and expanding to include songwriting for artists such as Sovine, Pierce and others.

A highlight of the celebration will feature Jewell House’s nephew, Chuck Hancock of Sandersville, Ga., who is an award-winning Country and Country Gospel music songwriter and recording artist.

He will sing “My Son Calls Another Man Daddy” – Jewell House’s song that Hank Williams recorded in 1950, cementing a friendship and ongoing collaboration between them that opened doors for her at the Louisiana Hayride, the Grand Ole Opry and Nashville, Tenn., music publishers Acuff-Rose and Cedarwood.

The song was on the B side of Williams’ No. 1 hit “Long Gone Lonesome Blues” but reached No. 9 in Country & Western charts and has been covered by many artists, including Charley Pride, David Allan Coe and Willie Nelson. It has been recorded by artists from Ireland to Australia and Europe, continuing to earn royalties 70 years later.

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