Art Greenhaw and The Light Crust Doughboys will return to Southern Methodist University at Perkins Chapel on Thursday, December 14 at 7:00PM to perform in their third annual “Cool Yule Christmas Concert.” The group performed for a full house in 2021 and 2022, playing Christmas carols and festive renditions of other well-known pieces. Bridwell director Anthony Elia led the crowd in sing-a-longs including Silent Night, Joy to the World, and White Christmas. The group will return this year to light up the stage again. The show will be followed by a reception at Bridwell Library where fans can mingle with the band while enjoying refreshments and picking up some Light Crust Doughboy memorabilia. The concert is free and open to the public. RSVP: https://libcal.smu.edu/calendar/libraryevents/LCDB
Country & Christmas Blues Meet Country-Folk-Western-Cowboy Traditions
Bridwell Library and The Light Crust Doughboys continue in 2023 as they present their annual gift to the community, a family Christmas concert series with a very special “Light Crust Doughboys 2023 Deep Ellum Christmas Revue at SMU.” This evening concert and reception has become a genuine Dallas family tradition celebrating Texas-style country-western music that The Light Crust Doughboys have been known for worldwide since 1931. In celebration of historic Deep Ellum Dallas’ 150th anniversary, country-folk-western-cowboy traditions continue with the exciting addition of country blues, Christmas blues, and songs associated with the Doughboys and Deep Ellum. This Light Crust Doughboys Christmas concert will include an acoustic-unplugged set that recently debuted and was recorded “live” in Deep Ellum and covered by national news media. Bridwell Library presents an evening of music, history, and folk culture for the Christmas season 2023 to be remembered for years to come.
Read on to learn more about the history and story of The Light Crust Doughboys
This is a story about a band and its members that reads like a classic American novel and contains all the poignant elements that demand the eventual telling of the tale in some epoch feature film. It is a story of music and politics, perseverance and commitment, talent and luck. This is a Texas story that all Texans will be proud to tell from generation to generation. It is a story that everyone can personally relate to, and it has a series of happy endings despite the many challenges that all successful organizations encounter on their journey to the top.
In 1931, a man who would become a Texas music legend named Bob Wills brought a band soon-to-be-called The Light Crust Doughboys to the Burrus Mill Flour Company. It was the beginning of the great American Jazz age, and the glorious time of Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, Glenn Miller and Gene Krupa. Bob Wills and his band, The Light Crust Doughboys, introduced the music genre of Texas Western Swing. Though most of the other great big bands disappeared along with the flour company, The Light Crust Doughboys are still performing, recording and “On The Air.”
The band initially performed live on the high tech phenomenon of that generation – the radio – and sang commercials for the Burrus Mill Flour Company. W. Lee “Pappy” O’Daniel ran the company and the flour company owned the band. Although he fired Wills a couple of years after the tremendous initial success of the band, The Light Crust Doughboys continued performing for huge audiences around the country for decades. Despite O’Daniel’s rise to political fame by becoming Governor and U.S. Senator from Texas, and the only politician who ever defeated Lyndon Johnson, O’Daniel believed he would best be remembered for starting The Light Crust Doughboys, one of the most popular bands in music history.
Some of the premier country and western musicians in the world have filled the ranks of the Doughboys, and hundreds of musicians claim to have played with the band when it came through their towns. Over the years, the band boasted its own touring buses and private planes. As with all stories in history, the sad times came with the passing of the once bright stars into their years of illness and ultimate deaths. But somehow, new members came along, and the band would reorganize itself into a cohesive crowd-pleaser that just would not disappear. Each new generation of musicians had a cadre of even brighter stars to lead the upward way.
Enter music prodigy Art Greenhaw, a Mesquite, Texas native who began his musical calling at age 3. A master of several instruments with a vocal range that is the envy of his peers, Greenhaw started working professionally with the band in 1983. By 1993, he had become the youngest official member and co-bandleader of The Light Crust Doughboys. Upon the death of perhaps the greatest four-string banjo player in history, Smokey Montgomery, Greenhaw became the bandleader. In 2003, he produced and won the Grammy Award for “Best Southern, Country or Bluegrass Gospel Album of the Year” for the album We Called Him Mr. Gospel: The James Blackwood Tribute Album. This album featured The Light Crust Doughboys, the Jordanaires and Larry Ford.
The Light Crust Doughboys have played prestigious festivals throughout the United States, have toured Austria, and make frequent television appearances. Current Light Crust Doughboys are some of the most acclaimed and award-winning musicians in the band’s 90+ year unparalleled history. The Light Crust Doughboys were named The State of Texas’ Official Music Ambassadors by the 74th Texas Legislature, and are inductees in the Texas Cowboy, Texas Western Swing, Rockabilly, Texas Music, Texas Radio, and Cowtown Society of Western Music Halls of Fame. In every personal appearance by The Light Crust Doughboys, the band pays tribute to its legacy by honoring the musical contributions of Bob Wills, Milton Brown, Hank Thompson, and especially, Marvin “Smokey” Montgomery, a Light Crust Doughboy from 1935 until his passing in 2001.
In 2013, classically trained violin virtuoso, Marek Eneti, surprised the world by joining The Light Crust Doughboys. His handsome looks and magnificent showmanship highlight his artistry of playing electric lighted violins and his ability to embrace Western and Texas music with an immediate proficiency never seen in the annals of country music before this astonishing alliance. In 2015, guitar and western-cowgirl sensation Kristyn Harris joined The Light Crust Doughboys becoming the youngest member of the band since the days of rockabilly Ronnie Dawson in the early 1960s. In 2021, steel guitarist Matthew Walton became an official Light Crust Doughboy, playing upright, non-pedal steel guitar in the tradition of the original Light Crust Doughboys’ steel guitarist, Leon McAuliffe.
What makes all this a true American dream story is that Greenhaw Records is a small independent label succeeding without the financial marketing power of the major labels from Nashville and Los Angeles and New York. Though the industry titans said it couldn’t be done, Greenhaw’s knack for collaboration and outside-the-box concepts have propelled The Light Crust Doughboys’ fame to new heights year after year. The Light Crust Doughboys are also known for their Christmas shows and Christmas music, Christmas record albums available digitally around the world include A Cool Yule Christmas, A Surf N Swing Fret N String Christmas, and Christmas in Guitarland, all starring The Light Crust Doughboys. Entire books have been written about The Light Crust Doughboys and there are many exciting chapters yet to be told. If you would like to learn much more of the history of Texas music, visit The Light Crust Doughboys Archives at Hill College Library, Hill College, Hillsboro, Texas.