The circle continues

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During the ‘60s Kilgore rose to the top in the regional entertainment field with such venues as Fat City showcasing rising stars. Kilgore became affluent with bands and musicians with some making it big while others took a different route, but none-the-less those days made a distinct mark of all who attempted to play, work or attend the performances.

That movement is again on the rise in Kilgore with such places as the Back Porch Stage on Broadway promoting and supporting young artists. And in the crowd you can find those who remember the earlier days.

“It was a great time in the ‘60s,” said Kilgoreite Larry Dillard, Sr. who played with some of the bands as a drummer and who at a young age worked to purchase his own set of drums. With no money for formal lessons, Larry took to sitting in on jam sessions to learn first from one and then another to become what he called an “average” drummer. Average he may have seemed to himself, when the chips were down and a drummer needed he was called in.

“Oh, but, Reece is so much better than I ever dreamed to have been,” he said. Reece is one of his grandsons, now fourteen years of age and lead guitarist in his own band called Salvation from Sundown. He plays electric rock and blues.

Reece was born in Longview and lives in the Spring Hill community. He is the son of Jamie and David Malone and has an older brother, Jace, and a sister, Makena. 

“I have a photo of him playing drums with his grandfather with a pacifier in his mouth,” said his mother Jamie. “Our hobbies are music and something we truly enjoy. His father plays the guitar and it seemed natural that he started playing at the age of five. He has a passion and an ear for it.”

Jace plays, too, but prefers jamming with his grandfather instead of being in the public eye.

By the time Reece turned seven he was playing professionally. It was odd seeing him on stage by himself. The guitar straps were too big for him and they had to bring out a chair for him to sit in to hold the guitar while playing. In the third grade, he was asked to perform in a talent show and when finished, he was asked to perform at the high school talent show. “I was literally blown away,” she said.

“My husband started taking him to Dallas for jam sessions as they are hard to find here. He met up with Lance Lopez and his journey really began. We are so grateful to Lance for he has become his mentor, teacher and even taught the kids in the band stage performance. Reece had his own band by the age of 10 and was joined by singer Kelsie Kee, who is the same age as Reece.”

“It has been a whirlwind ever since,” she confessed. “But, loving every minute of it. Reece is an honor roll student and we are now on the road so much he couldn’t maintain that if his teachers weren’t so understanding. And thank God, my parents (Larry and Marilyn Dillard) are retired. Makena is into sports and soccer and they are our right hand and we are in three directions as all three are different. But, we all love being on the move and part of the entertainment world. This is definitely taking everything full circle,” she added.

Reece has played at halftime of a Knicks game at Madison Square Garden in front of an audience of 25,000 last spring. Last May, he was featured artist on the cover of Buddy Magazine the oldest entertainment magazine in Dallas. In their 45 years of existence, Reece was the youngest artist to have been featured on the cover

Last Friday, Reece performed in Memphis, Tennessee, again in Madison, Kentucky on Saturday and back to Carter’s Guitars in Nashville. 

  He is professionally endorsed by Keeley Pedal and Homestead Amps, Ernie Ball, Musicman Guitars and Jimmy Wallace Guitars.

Reece and Salvation Sundown will be performing in Kilgore at the Back Porch Stage on Broadway in January. Kelsie will be singing, too.

 “We are so looking forward to it,” said his mother. “They are so supportive of young artists.”

When at home, Reece likes jamming alone with his grandfather.  The last we saw of Larry, he had a big grin across his face and was busy filling an ice chest, we assume on his way to a soccer game. 

“It’s not about me,” he said whole heartedly. “It is about them.”

A FORMER KNH NEWSPAPER boy turned 80 years young on Friday. We wish the very best of birthdays to Charles Edney. He delivered newspapers from the ages of twelve to fifteen and managed to buy a scooter to do so. He will tell you a mere sixty-eight years ago Bo Mitchell was the pressman and John Eckstadt was the editor. My, how time flies.

MAY HIS LOVE AND LAUGHTER fillyour hearts and your homes throughout the week. We may be reached at chitchatlinda@aol.com or 903-984-2593.

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