The World’s Largest Prairie Dog
September 30, 7 PM at La Veta Mercantile, 300 S Main St, La Veta, CO 81055
$20 advance tickets; $22 day of show
THE WORLD’S LARGEST PRAIRIE DOG
1972 was a seminal year in American music. It’s the year that Country Rock, later to be called “Americana” music, came to the fore. A few years earlier Bob Dylan, The Byrds & The Band had mixed Country & Rock music, and by 1972 a lot of young musicians from the heartland followed suit. 1972 saw the rise of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, The New Grass Revival, The Flying Burrito Brothers, The Ozark Mountain Daredevils, The Eagles and many others mixing Rock, Bluegrass & Folk music into a heady stew of roots American music.
In this mix was a group of musicians from Wichita, Kansas who called themselves The World’s Largest Prairie Dog. Formed in 1972 by Fred James (gtr/vcl), Greg Smith (gtr/mand/vcl), Rick Howell (dobro/vcl), Bill Hawks (bass/vcl) & Ron Lynam (banjo/vcl), they, along with The New Grass Revival, were among the earliest “Hippie” Bluegrass bands. They were the house band at The Foundry Bar in Wichita (1972-1975) and also played regional road & festival gigs.
Fred left the band in 1973 and moved to Nashville where he played guitar with Townes Van Zandt, Billy Joe Shaver, Dr. Hook, The Amazing Rhythm Aces and many others. Bill relocated to Nashville in 1975 where he played bass with Mickey Clark, John Prine, Leo Kotke & others. Greg, Ron & Rick formed a new band called Potlatch in 1976 and made their way to Colorado Springs, touring regionally through the 1970s. Rick left the band in 1977 and moved to England where he formed the band Blue Movies that toured the UK and recorded one LP. Potlatch recorded an LP (With Everything Without) in 1980.
Fred went on to great success as a songwriter with 5 Grammy nominations to his credit, and Ron joined the band Front Range, one of the most successful Bluegrass bands of the 1990s. Greg, Rick & Bill continued to perform regionally. Fast forward to 2022 when the guys started emailing and reminiscing and decided to do a 50th year reunion show. This will take place at the La Veta Mercantile in La Veta, CO, Saturday Sept 30 at 7PM.