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ARLINGTON (CBS 11) — Country music in North Texas has flowed under the fingers of Charlie Ferguson for 40 years.
He runs the audio for live stage shows at Arlington Music Hall. The voices and instruments of some of the greatest country music acts have risen and fallen with his hands on the audio controls.
“Well it started with the Johnny High show,” Ferguson recalled. “He had The Country Music Revue for 37 or 38 years.”
The long-running country music stage show moved into an old theater in Arlington during the 90’s.
“The building was a movie theater in the 50’s and 60’s,” Ferguson said. “In fact, I had friends that used to come here to see movies. It was closed for a time and then the Jehovah’s Witnesses had it for a few years. Then it closed. They were the last tenant before Johnny bought it. In fact, there is still a Baptism tank below the stage that we didn’t take out.”
Johnny High’s friend Burk Collins later took over and renovated the theater to its present state. Ferguson can tick off a who’s who list of big names who’ve played the hall.
“Loretta Lynn, Mel Tillis, The Oak Ridge Boys, Willie Nelson, Wynnona was just here,” Ferguson said. “We’ve had Restless Heart twice. A great band. Ray Price, George Jones.
“They’ve all liked the room. We’ve had numerous of them back. They like playing here and we like having them,” Ferguson said.
Ferguson even helped LeAnn Rimes get her start here.
“LeAnn did over 400 shows here before she signed her record deal, and I was her front-of-the-house engineer. So, I left and went on tour with her, the Blue tour in ’96, and then came on back. Steve Holy played lots of shows here before he got his record deal, too.”
This theater will be overshadowed by the ACM Awards Show this weekend. But with Ferguson’s help, this little venue shines brightly in the North Texas country music scene year round.
“Every time an artist comes in, I get to see a little bit of history,” Ferguson said with a smile. “It’s just great.”
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