(left) and Maggie Vogts will appear with Jimmy Fortune and T. Graham Brown at a show in Parsons next weekend.(File Photo)
Abbey and Maggie Vogts' love for music began in church and at family gatherings listening to old-time cowboy ballads and country tunes. That love for music grew into a genuine admiration for bluegrass, folk and rural American music.
The girls, who are from Erie, won first place in the folk ensemble competition at the 2012 Kansas State Fiddling and Picking Championship in Lawrence and were also invited to perform on the Kids Acoustic Stage at the 2012 Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield. Abbey is a sophomore at Erie High School and Maggie is a senior at Pittsburg State University studying communication. "They are excited about sharing the stage with these professionals and look forward to learning from them," their mother and manager Deborah Vogts said in an email.
The girls performed at the Parsons Auditorium in September with Kentucky 31, which was their first big concert, Vogts said. "It turned out really well and they loved it," she wrote. "They've performed at other venues this past summer, even in Winfield, but this was their first auditorium concert."
At the Dec. 8 concert, they will perform a few songs from their debut album, "Old Time Noise," released in November, as well as some new material and a few Christmas songs, Voights wrote.
Ralph Carlson, the Fort Scott resident who organizes the summer concert series downtown, said he has invited the Vogts several times. "And my crowd loves them," Carlson said. "Their style ... it's such a laid-back, nice, gentle style. I could listen to them all evening. Abbey plays guitar like a pro."
Fortune sang tenor for the Statler Brothers for 21 years, joining the group when he was 27 years old in 1982 as a replacement for the ailing Lew Dewitt. He joined the group permanently when Dewitt was unable to return to the stage. Fortune wrote several of the No. 1 songs that were recorded by the Statler Brothers, including Elizabeth, Too Much On My Heart, My Only Love, and More Than A Name On The Wall.
Fortune has performed in all 50 states, in Canadian Provinces, and in front of audiences as large as 100,000. He was part of the Statler's annual Happy Birthday USA celebration in Staunton, Va., for 14 years. Fortune's career included The Nashville Network's popular "The Statler Brothers Show," which aired for seven seasons and was the highest rated show for the network. Fortune performed at the White House on two occasions, once for President Ronald Reagan, and once for George H.W. Bush. He also presented a special gift to actress Elizabeth Taylor by singing his song "Elizabeth" to her for a birthday celebration.
Fortune spent 21 years touring, singing, and performing with the Statlers until Don, Harold and Phil, the other three members retired in 2002. Along with the Statlers, Fortune was inducted into The Gospel Music Hall Of Fame in 2007, and The Country Music Hall Of Fame in 2009. Since then, he has been on an extensive performance schedule in the U.S. and Canada, has continued as a songwriter, working on a number of projects in Nashville, and has recorded five solo albums.
T. Graham Brown, born Anthony Graham Brown in Atlanta, Ga., made the move to Nashville in the early 80s to follow his dreams and the rest is music history. Brown has 21 charting singles as well as several No. 1 and top 10 hits. Brown continues to tour and record. Based on the positive comments on YouTube, his No. 1 hit on the Christian charts, "Wine into Water," has helped thousands around the world struggling with addiction. Tickets are $15, $22.50 and $27.50, sales tax and handling included in the ticket price. All seating is reserved. Tickets can be purchased by calling the auditorium box office at (620) 421-7032, online at parsonsauditorium.com, or in person at the city water office on the first floor of the Municipal Building, 112 S. 17th St., Parsons.