The Cowboy Blues Band

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Columbian Progress
Vernelle Equinox celebration Saturday in City Park
Posted:  03/24/2011 4:29  
The third annual Vernelle Equinox celebration will begin at 12 noon in City Park, Saturday and continue through the afternoon until 6 p.m.-ish in City Park, John Sabine of the Columbia Society for Infernal Combustion recently announced.

Sabine said this is a great opportunity to listen to “Live music by real musicians,” and enjoy the outdoors on a spring day.

Although organizers have scheduled the presentation of an award to Vernelle each year, the neighborly citizen has yet to make his appearance at the event held in his honor.

According to Sabine, Vernelle is well-known to the community. “He’s a person who mostly keeps to himself but always does his bit to help his neighbors. He goes to church when applicable and always gives to his local causes, often lending a hand and using his talents to enrich the lives of those around him,” said Sabine. According to Sabine, Vernelle supports the  troops, recycles, buys Girl Scout cookies, even though he is watching what he eats, and helps those who are down on their luck.

“He’s a model citizen who embodies all of the best in all of us. That is why we have chosen to honor him,” said Sabine. “Plans are for him to be there this year,” Sabine said, adding the good neighbor couldn’t come last year because he was helping a widow-lady in Sandy Hook roof her house. “The thing is, if a call for help comes, Vernelle will go to answer it because he knows receiving an award doesn’t help anybody but him,” Sabine said.

Live music will begin around 1 p.m. Bands performing at the event include Wes Lee and the Miscellaneous Blues Band, the Cowboy Blues Band and Cold Shot, from New Orleans.

The Marion County Development Partnership is helping to sponsor the event this year, as the kick-off to the county’s Bi-centennial Celebration.

Pioneer Aerospace and Zellco Federal Credit Union Relay for Life teams will sell food during the event to help a good cause, although personal picnics are also encouraged, as are personal lawn chairs or blankets on which to enjoy the spring day.

Leader Call

March 16, 2011

Art Museum hosts Spring Break Festival

Photo/Amy Beets
Laurel Leader-Call

LAUREL — The Lauren Rogers Museum of Art held its 4th Annual Spring Break Festival Tuesday on the front lawn. Spring-breakers enjoyed participating in various art activities, music by Jessie Howell of the Cowboy Blues Band, animals from the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science and refreshments. Above, LRMA’s Curator of Education Mandy Buchanan assists participants in creating silly puppets. Look in Sunday’s  People Section for more photos.

Several Musical Acts Highlight 'Dancing for DuBard' Event on Nov. 6

The Cowboy Blues Band is sponsoring the second annual “Dancing for DuBard” fundraiser Saturday, Nov. 6 at Mugshots in Hattiesburg. (Submitted photo)

Musical tastes to whet any appetite will be on tap Saturday, Nov. 6 at Mugshots restaurant in Hattiesburg when the second annual “Dancing for DuBard” event gets underway.

Sponsored by The Cowboy Blues Band, the event is designed as a fundraiser for the DuBard School for Language Disorders at The University of Southern Mississippi. All proceeds from the $10 ticket sales will go to the DuBard School. The evening’s festivities begin at 8 p.m.

“The great generosity of The Cowboy Blues Band and the other participating artists make this event possible,” said Dr. Maureen Martin, director of the DuBard School. “They have a heart for our children and their willingness to help us serve the children is deeply appreciated. Each year approximately 40-50 percent of the cost per child must be raised through private contributions. Without support such as this, services to children would be reduced considerably.”

Last year’s event raised approximately $1,700 for the DuBard School. Acts scheduled to perform Saturday night include The Cowboy Blues Band, Vasti Jackson, Wes Brooks and Brandon Webb of Triple Lindy, Ashley Barding, The Leaf River Blues Band and Natalie Long with Clifton Kirby of Buffalo Nickel.

The DuBard School currently includes 80 children in the full-time enrollment program with another 40 children enrolled in the out-client therapy program.

The DuBard School for Language Disorders was established in 1962 and is a clinical division of the Southern Miss Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences. The school serves children with severe language/speech disorders and/or hearing impairments and provides guidance and counseling for parents and families of the children. The school is a practicum site for university students majoring in speech-language pathology, audiology, or deaf education. For more information visit

A language for everyone

MIKE BLOUNT • American Staff Writer • November 4, 2010

MUSIC IS A LANGUAGE we can all understand. That being said, it's apropos that music will take center stage at Mugshots Bar & Grill Saturday night to raise money for the DuBard School for Language Disorders at the University of Southern Mississippi.

The second annual "Dancing for Dubard" benefit will feature the talents of The Cowboy Blues Band, Ashley Barding, Wes Brooks and Brandon Webb of The Triple Lindy, Vasti Jackson, The Leaf River Blues Band and Natalie Long with Clinton Kirby.

The benefit starts at 8 p.m. and tickets are $10 at the door. All proceeds will go to the DuBard School for Language Disorders.

Development coordinator Wes Brooks said the event was born out of an effort by Jessie Howell - a member of The Cowboy Blues Band.

"Shortly before I started working here, Howell decided he wanted to start a philanthropy event yearly," Brooks said.

"He handles the event by himself - with a little assistance from the school - but he mostly organizes it himself. All proceeds go to our school."

According to Dr. Maurine Martin, Howell approached the school because he has family members that have challenges in communication and he appreciated the work and the mission of the DuBard School.

"For people who are unable to speak and have others understand them, it it a gift and it's something that we take for granted everyday," Martin said. "Not everyone has good oral and written communication so we provide intensive and specialized therapy to help develop speech, language, reading, writing, listening and related academic skills."

The DuBard School for Language Disorders was established in 1962 and is a clinical division of the University of Southern Mississippi's Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences.

According to officials, the school was designed to serve children with severe language-speech disorders, including developmental aphasia and childhood apraxia of speech, deafness and hearing impairments, as well as those with the written language disorder of dyslexia.

Counseling also is provided for the families with children with hearing, speech or written communication disabilities.

Curtis Charles Wand, manager of Mugshots Bar & Grill said he is looking forward to the event.

"We are very happy to host the benefit for the DuBard School for Language Disorders," Wand said. "All the proceeds will go towards the school and we're hoping for a large turnout."

Whatever the turnout, Martin is thankful that the event will help raise money for the school.

"It's wonderful when someone does something for us once. But when they are so committed to their work that they offer to do this long term, we are grateful beyond words."

Doctors raise money for Relay for Life

By David Owens,

February 15, 2010 09:21 am

OncoLogics, Inc., Laurel’s only radiation therapy clinic, hosted its second annual “Krewe of Docs” at the Laurel Train Depot Thursday.
The event was one of many fundraisers companies and other teams are hosting for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.
Paige McCardle, senior community representative for the American Cancer Society, said this year’s “Krewe of Docs” raised several thousand dollars, although a final total has not yet been determined.
“There was an awesome cajun dinner and a performance by the Cowboy Blues Band, who does a lot of work with ACS,” McCardle said. “And, of course, the awesome doctors who served as waiters.
“OncoLogics serves patients all over the Pine Belt,” she added. “This event has really grown because everybody in southern Mississippi gets into Mardi Gras.”
In fact, doctors of all types worked throughout the night, bringing plates of gumbo, cajun rice and other ethnic staples to those who paid the $25 entry fee. Doctors included local dentists, heart doctors and surgeons, some who are far too familiar with cancer.
Dr. Jamie Sisk, a physician with ENT Surgical Clinic, said he had “no doubt” the event was well worth the price of admission.
“Funds are never adequate when taking care of cancer patients,” he said. “We all know someone affected by cancer. It’s also fun as a physician to see patients in a different light.”
Dr. Kevin Ivey of Laurel Surgery Clinic said he also enjoyed seeing people from all walks of life at the event.
“It’s good to see how many different parts of the community turn out to something like this,” he said. “There’s people here I know for sure have been touched by cancer. Others saw that a worthwhile cause was going on and came out to contribute.”
Local dentist Dr. Fred Walters, who served as a waiter, was one of those participating who has been affected by cancer. Both his mother and aunt both died of breast cancer while in their mid-40s.
Some of those fitting in the latter category were Laurel residents Charles and Mary Ann Stevens.
“I read about it in the paper that it was for Relay for Life,” Mary Ann said. “I enjoy things in the city. I really want to thank the doctors for doing this.”

Copyright © 1999-2010 cnhi, inc.


OncoLogics, Inc., recently hosted its second annual “Krewe of Docs” at the Laurel Train Depot. The event raised several thousand dollars for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. Pictured above, from left, are Charles Stevens, Dr. Fred Walters, Mary Ann Stevens and Dr. John Stripling. Walters and Stripling served as waiters for the evening.


Krewe of Docs event Thursday

By David Owens,

February 10, 2010 10:11 am

OncoLogics, Inc. will sponsor the annual Krewe of Docs dinner and concert Thursday at the Laurel Train Depot. The event, which was held at The Reserve last year, is a American Cancer Society Relay for Life fundraiser for the Laurel-based radiation oncology center.
Kelly McKee, radiation therapist for OncoLogics, Inc., said the center’s seven-member staff is excited about the event, which raised more than $5,000 in 2009.
“The idea came up that this was Mardi Gras season, but there’s really nothing like this in the area,” McKee said of the origins of Krewe of Docs. “We decided to have a Mardi Gras-themed fundraiser for ACS and get local doctors to be the servers.”
Tickets for the event are $25 each and include a variety of Cajun delicacies and a performance by the Cowboy Blues Band, another ACS favorite.
“Our medical dosimetrist Billy LeBlanc, who’s originally from New Iberia, La., will be making gumbo,” McKee said. “We’ll also have red beans and rice, a pasta dish and bread pudding.”
McKee said the night will also include a silent auction and door prizes. In addition to McKee and LeBlanc, OncoLogics’ staff includes radiation therapists Gay Rasberry and Angele Murray, office manager LaDonna Breland, nurse Stacey Welborn and radiation oncologist Dr. Cameron Pimprell.
“OncoLogics offers radiation for cancer patients,” McKee said. “But, cancer touches everyone whatever your profession. It’s close to our heart because we see it every day.”
McKee said the center is a big supporter of Relay for Life just as the American Cancer Society supports them.
“The American Cancer Society does a lot for our patients,” she said. “They provide wigs, prosthetics and money for transportation.”
Paige McCardle, senior community representative for the American Cancer Society, said she is looking forward to Thursday’s event.
“Mardi Gras and the Cowboy Blues Band all for a good cause, you can’t ask for much more than that,” she said. “A lot of people have been questioning the weather. But, the event is still on.”
McCardle said Relay for Life, scheduled for May 7 at the Sportsplex, is quickly taking shape.
“We always say that if you can find 10 friends that you want to spend the night with, you can have Relay team,” McCardle continued. “Our team captain meetings have been a lot better attended because I think people are real excited about the information they get every month.”
McCardle said the Jones County Relay for Life has steadily grown in the past five years and is now the second largest event in the state.
“We’ve never had as much support from our local newspaper and radio stations as we have had in the past four years,” she said. “People are truly becoming ambassadors for what the American Cancer Society is doing in the local community. We may not have a research facility in Jones County, but we do benefits for that research.”
For more information on Krewe of Docs or to purchase tickets, call OncoLogics, Inc. at 601-425-2999.

Copyright © 1999-2010 cnhi, inc.

LRMA event celebrates state’s arts heritage

By Charlotte A. Graham,

October 04, 2009 02:18 pm Laurel Leadercall

Hundreds of people gathered on the grounds of the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art Saturday to join in a celebration of Mississippi’s rich arts heritage.
The museum’s annual “Heritage Arts Festival” drew a steady flow of patrons through the event, which ran from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“This is America right here,” said Paul Moss, who attended the festival with his wife, Rebecca, and five-year-old daughter, Lauren. “It’s good and inspirational to see the community coming out to support the event and the folks backing the entertainment. They have a lot of great activities for the kids. It’s just an all around good place where families can come and have a wonderful time together.”
This year’s festival celebrated “The Wild Wonders of Mississippi.” It featured activities as Mississippi mud painting, a Mississippi mural and making funky alligators, sun paper pictures and water paper sea animals.
“We do this every year in the first Saturday in October,” explained Angie King, LRMA education outreach coordinator. “We celebrate art and bring people from the community in to see the museum and what we have to offer.”
King added that during the festival, they always try to have a wide variety of activities and entertainment for the youth. “We wanted it to be where kids can come in and make art,” she said. “We also always try to focus on the south or Mississippi art activities.”
This year’s festival also featured young Choctaw dancers, Choctaw weaver Jessica Arauz and musical entertainment by the Cowboy Blues Band.
Festival sponsors were the Laurel Arts League, Neel-Schaffer, Coca-Cola of Laurel, The First and Hughes, Inc. The festival is also supported by the Mississippi Arts Commission.

Hattiesburg American October 1, 2009

Musicians 'Dancing for DuBard'

From submitted reports

Inspired by the work being done at the DuBard School for Language Disorders, local musician Jesse Howell decided to put his band's talents to fundraising use.

What began as a budding idea has grown into a full-fledged "Dancing for DuBard" concert set for Friday at the Bottling Company in downtown Hattiesburg. Howell's Cowboy Blues Band will perform, along with fellow Pine Belt artists Travis Clark and Ashley Barding. All proceeds from the $10 tickets will go to the DuBard School.

"It is my hope that we raise at least $1,000 on that night, but we're shooting for a lot more," said Howell, lead singer for the Cowboy Blues Band.

The evening's festivities begin at 8 p.m. when Clark takes the stage. Barding is scheduled to perform around 9:30 p.m. with the Cowboy Blues Band taking over from 10 p.m. to midnight.

The DuBard School was established in 1962 and serves as a clinical division of the Southern Miss Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences. The school assists children with severe language/speech disorders and/or hearing impairments and provides guidance and counseling for families of the children.

"The generosity of the Cowboy Blues Band, The Bottling Company and the other artists will allow us to better serve children with language, speech and hearing disorders," said Dr. Maureen Martin, DuBard School director.

Howell, a 1999 Southern Miss graduate, also holds down a full-time job as a vocational evaluator for the Mississippi Department of Rehabilitation Services. He witnesses the benefits from programs like the DuBard School.

"We hear all the time about a university's athletic programs and other academic successes but there's a lot of other great humanitarian work going on behind the scenes," said Howell. "The DuBard School is a prime example of that.

"This area has been so great to our band that we wanted to give back to the community in some way. Helping out the DuBard School seemed like the perfect choice."

For ticket information, call The Bottling Company at 450-2653.

To learn more about the DuBard School, call 266-5223 or visit /index.html.

Posted on Mon, Oct. 08, 2007 The Sun Herald.

Cruisin' into record books


Cruisers wait in line to get into Jones Park in Gulfport on the last day of Crusin' the Coast

Cruisin' The Coast 11 wrapped up on Sunday, and I think it's fair to say this was one for the record books. There seemed to be more classic cars at each of the venues and events than we've seen since 2004, and at a few, I dare say, more than ever.

By Thursday, Cruisin' The Coast officials said, registration numbers matched last year's total of 3,500 cars and finished up above that with 3,800 registered cars.

Everywhere people were talking "bigger and better." It is an amazing thing to talk with hundreds of people over the course of a week and hear the same comments being made over and over.

They are still talking about the Long Beach parade, back again and a big hit. The Biloxi block party, Hardy Court cruise-in, and VA cruise-in all had more cars than I remember seeing before.

Saturday afternoon the city venues were packed and U.S. 90 was crawling with cruisers. The Coast Cruisers car club went ahead with its regularly scheduled cruise-in at the Edgewater site, and altogether about 1,200 cars showed up - classic-car heaven.

Saturday night there was rubber being burned from Beach Boulevard to Government Street, and Sunday morning they were back on the streets again. Ah, good times.

Larry Burdeshaw said the Cruisin' officials are "quite pleased." He said by Sunday morning, more than 700 cruisers had already registered for 2008.

Can't wait to see you all back on the roads next year.


The Cowboy Blues Band makes a splash at local venues

By Lacey Walters,

The Cowboy Blues Band is making a splash in the area with its eclectic style of music that is a mix of country, rock and of course the blues. The band has landed gigs at several major local events and hopes to become a crowd pleasing favorite.
Saturday, the band will be playing beginning at 11:30 a.m. at the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art’s Heritage Festival. They will also take the B-95 Stage at the South Mississippi Fair Oct. 21 from 6-9 p.m.
“We are really excited about it,” said lead vocalist Jessie Howell. “That’s a pretty big gig for us.”
The band began playing as a group in December of 2005, but music has been a major part of the band members’ lives long before the start of the Cowboy Blues Band. Each person brings his or her own style, favorite songs and genre to the group, making it a unique blend of style favorites such as rhythm and blues, rock and country.
Bass player Johnny Dickens laughed and said, “We can go from Conway Twitty to ZZ Top.”
Not only does the band play a wide variety of radio hits, it also has several original works. The Cowboy Blues Band is currently in the process of researching recording studios and hopes to put together a CD soon.
The band members all have a great since of humor which adds to their persona. When talking about the types of events they play, bars, restaurants and festivals were mentioned, but guitar player Brad Miller interjected, “The only thing we don’t play is funerals, but we got asked to play a divorce once.”
The Cowboy Blues Band strives to have a good time no matter what they are doing. Whether practicing, traveling or performing they want to enjoy their time together.
“It’s not about the money. It’s about the camaraderie — getting together and playing,” Howell said.
Howell has spent a lot of time promoting the relatively new formed band – updating their website, making phone calls and sending e-mails encouraging people to check them out.
“The Cowboy Blues Band will be a household name before too long, at least in this area,” Howell said.
The band has the ability to adapt to a crowd because of their wide variety of musical styles. They said that they want to give the crowd what they want.
“Being on stage is the best high,” said band member Tim White. “As long as that dance floor is full, I’m happy.”

Copyright © 1999-2006 cnhi, inc.


Seated, from left, Jessie Howell, lead singer; Lori Dickens, keyboard and vocals; Tim White, guitar and vocals; and standing, from left, are Johnny Glover, drums; Brad Miller, guitar; and Johnny Dickens, bass and vocals. Laurel Leader-Call

Monday, October 09, 2006

Heritage Festival 2006

Saturday, October 7th was a lovely fall day for an arts festival with musical performances, art activities, art demonstrations, and free pizza. Several hundred kids & adults enjoyed the day on the LRMA lawn.

The Cowboy Blues Band provided entertainment:

Published January 22, 2007 09:33 am -

Super Bull Challenge coming to Laurel
By Lacey Walters,
     The ride only lasts eight seconds, but for the cowboy hanging on, those few seconds can feel like an eternity. Bull riding has been a popular rodeo sport for decades, but the challenge of the sport is more than just hanging on to the bull.
     The sport is coming to the Magnolia Center on Jan. 27. The Super Bull Challenge, which is part of the professional bull riding tour, will begin at 7:30 p.m. J.C. Kataif, stock contractor, said that 30 of the top bull riders in the country will be competing that night.Ronald Burton from Ft. Worth, Texas, will serve as the night’s rodeo clown. The bulls are being provided by Pro Rodeo Inc. and will feature several well-known bulls such as Gas Hog and 906 Shamu.
     The Cowboy Blues Band has been chosen as the intermission entertainment. The band began playing as a group in December of 2005, but music has been a major part of the band members’ lives long before the start of the Cowboy Blues Band. Each person brings his or her own style, favorite songs and genre to the group, making it a unique blend of style favorites such as rhythm and blues, rock and country. The band members have the ability to adapt to a crowd because of their wide variety of music styles, making them a crowd pleasing favorite.
     Tickets can be purchased at the Magnolia Center box office or at the gate the night of the Super Bull Challenge. Children under 4 get in free; for children 4-12, tickets are $5, and for those 12 and over, tickets are $10.


Great day for a festival

By Brian Livingston,

On a gorgeous day, hundreds of area residents met under the graceful live oaks on the lawn of the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art in Laurel for the 15th annual Heritage Arts Festival.
Young and old alike enjoyed the very mild temperatures under a blue sky and the opportunity to join in the fun of arts and to listen to music provided by the Cowboy Blues Band.
Mandy Buchanan, education outreach coordinator for LRMA, was busily painting a yellow flower on the face of 3-year-old Emily Byrd. Buchanan explained that the festival is a way to expose youngsters to the fun and fascination of all types of art.
“Many schools don’t give the children a great deal of art studies,” said Buchanan. “We’ve made this festival very interactive for the kids so they can join in the fun that is art.”
October is National Arts and Humanities month, and in that spirit, the festival gave the youngsters plenty to participate in such as murals, collages, watercolors and paintings of all types. Local craftsmen and artists, such as wood carver Ben Morgan attended and brought their expertise to the festival.
George Bassi, director of LRMA, said sponsors and volunteers have helped the limited staff to again make this year’s event such a success.
“We’ll have about three hundred people attend this year,” said Bassi. “We are just thrilled at the success and look forward to next year being even better.”

Copyright © 1999-2006 cnhi, inc.


Youngsters were able to participate in a wide variety of activities that were art oriented like this mural.

The Cowboy Blues Band entertained the crowd during the afternoon.

Ben Morgan, a local wood carver, showed his expertise in carving a wooden bowl.

Photos/Brian Livingston Three-year-old Emily Byrd gets a flower painted on her face at the 15th annual Heritage Arts Festival in Laurel.

If you invite them, they will come

Bands audition for Grand Casino contract


Though the local gaming industry has bounced back with gusto since Katrina, a secondary facet of that industry, entertainment, has been slower to rebound.

Consequently, organizers of Grand Biloxi's Grand Band Showcase, a competition made up of a series of 20-minute auditions continuing from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and Wednesday on the casino floor, were excited about the feedback their open invitation drew.

"We have a total of 33 bands auditioning, plus another 16 that are on a waiting list," said Angela Blahut-Neville, Grand Biloxi marketing coordinator. "The winner of the competition wins a week contract for the band to perform here at the casino bar stage. And, it also gives us an opportunity to see what other bands are out there. A lot were gone because of the storm, but now they're starting to rejoin and come back."

They hope to have a winner in about a week. Bands answered the call from as far away as Atlanta and Missouri, and from as close as Gulfport, Gautier and Biloxi.

"We're looking for bands that play a variety of music," said Neville. "We're judging on appearance, sound quality, talent, vocals, variety of songs, stage presence, all kinds of different things."

Tim Black, 36, of Biloxi, plays guitar and sings with Malloz, a local band that, according to Black, specializes in "rock 'n' roll with an infectious groove." The potential for wider exposure is what drew him and his bandmates to audition, said Black.

"You get to play in front of a lot of people. Really get yourself out there," he said.

Lorraine and Roger McCormick, self-described retirees who relocated to Biloxi from the Memphis area about five years ago, visited Grand Biloxi on Monday to hear the auditions.

"We've missed the music," said Lorraine.

"The gambling is fun," said Roger. "But we really came down to the Coast for a mix of gambling and entertainment."

If you go

What: Grand Biloxi Grand Band Showcase where bands audition for a chance to perform at the casino bar.

When: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. today and Wednesday

Where: On the casino floor of the Grand Casino, Biloxi

Free: Open to the public