Jerry Bone continues tradition of music

KARLA RUSH Contributing Writer Published January 29, 2012 at 2:53 a.m.
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— Jerry Bone recalls learning to play guitar when he was 16 or so. After listening to him play his guitar, it comes as no surprise to hear how his sons are on track to keep music alive in the family.

Music is in the history of the Bone family. Bone said most of his family played or sang, and he attended Brockwell Gospel Music School in Brockwell in the summers. Then he chuckled and said, “And, my friend Vic Hall had thisparade drum, and he thought we should have a band.”

Bone said his father, Graydon, recorded a few songs back in 1928 with a group called Dr. Smith’s Champion Hoss Hair Pullers.

“They recorded songs to promote the Calico Rock area as a tourist destination before the Depression came,” Bone said. “My dad actually told me this when he was about 90 years old, and once I knew about them, I had to hear those tunes.”

Among his many notable accomplishments, Jerry Bone was the bass player with a band called The Famous Unknowns.

“We were the first house band for B.B. King’s establishment in Memphis,” Bone said.

Bone toured with and played on three of David Lynn Jones’ CDs.

“Working with Jones in those days was and still is a musical highlight,” Bone said.

Another of his projects was writing and producing music for the album Miracle at a Reasonable Price with fellow Oxford natives Vic Hall and Ron Helm.

“It was an experiment,” Bone said. “We just sort of did it to see if we could, and we had a fun time.”

Upon returning home from Beale Street, Bone became busy playing bass with Batesville’s Danny Dozier and The Lockhouse Orchestra; Nashvillesongwriter David Lynn Jones and Friends; and The Jason Plummer Band from Mountain Grove, Mo.

Recently, Bone and his sonLennon traveled with Jason Plummer to Las Vegas to perform music at the National Professional Bull Riders Finals.

Two of Bone’s sons are making their mark in the music world as well. Lennon Bone is the drummer for Ha Ha Tonka, a fast-rising rock group based in Kansas City, Mo.

While touring all across the United States, Lennon also is a songwriter and plays guitar. Ha Ha Tonka recently released a fourth album.

Chance Bone graduated from DePaul University with a degree in drama and works in Chicago, where he is an aspiring actor, musician and artist. Chance is working on a big project that includes graphic-design illustrations for a book by comedian Bo Burnham.

Attending college in Springfield, Mo., Jerry Bone’s third son, Colton Bone, is studying physical therapy and plans to enter the health care profession.

“Colton played in the school band but later chose football,” Bone said. “I’m glad he chose a more forgiving path. Artistry can sometimes be brutal.”

About his sons, Bone said, “I’m so proud of the boys. They are doing some neat things. It’s sure fun when we visit.”

Though he follows his sons’ progress closely, Bone stays active in music. He enjoys volunteering for shows where people come together and share their talents to help raise money for others.

Most recently, bone has played benefits for Loye Vern Mason, Beth Bess and John Homod. He mentioned the annual Red Barn Ramblers event, where a dozen or more musicians - including John Ware,Earl Cates and Gerry Moss - showcase their best.

“The Red Barn show is happening in February at George’s Majestic Lounge (in Fayetteville), but sometimes the forum is ‘a friend’s barn.’ Then the benefit for University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville is coming up,” Bone said.

Singer Sarah Roark of Melbourne has shared the stage many times with Bone since he returned to Oxford. Roark said Bone is “one of the most humble people I’ve ever known. It’s such a privilege to call him my bass player, as well as my friend. To watch him on stage is exhilarating as he pours all he has into every song. To hear him play is nothing less than perfection.”

When he’s not playing live music, Bone can be found in the Bare Bones Recording Studio at the back of Horton’s Music on Main Street in Hardy.

“Dennis Horton is another longtime friend and musician, and he’s made it possible for me to set up the recording studio,” Bone said.

He not only produces music there, but he also plays the instruments to complement singers’ recording sessions.

If he is working with music, Bone is at peace.

“Music has provided a remarkable journey for me,” he said. “And it’s so easy to feel good about working with all the great talent around here. Besides, music is therapy.”

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