BRANSON, Mo. – It took Jim Stafford 26 years to get in 25 years of entertaining in Branson.
After a one-year hiatus in 2014, the affable singer/song writer/guitarist/comedian is back on stage in the heart of the Branson entertainment district.
And his long-time fans are really glad.
Stafford has consistently been one of the most popular acts in Branson and has been voted the “best entertainer,” “best personality” and “best comedy show.”
It would be hard to find an entertainer anywhere who has a better rapport with his audience or a drier sense of humor.
Jim Stafford knows what is funny and his interaction with the audience is a treat.
Audiences have always been dazzled with his mastery of the guitar and he still sings his trademark song, like Spiders and Snakes, Don’t Tell Mama, Swamp Witch, Cow Patty and My Girl Bill.
And while his show retains some of his old favorites, it has a bucketful of new twists. Gone are the dancing snakes and the overhead UFO and the sliding stage chair.
But he has added a couple of new numbers for the show and while they may be different, they are just as wonderful to watch.
Stafford’s son (Schaeffer) and daughter (Georgia Gentry – “Gigi”) were not part of the show in early May but he added Rick McEwen, a guitar player, singer, producer and writer. In fact, McEwen was a writer on the Jim Stafford Show from 1990-2004.
McEwen has worked on several shows, include Country Tonight, Hanks Williams Revisited, Tribute to Marty Robbins and others.
He kinda looks like and sorta sounds like Kenny Rogers. His solos are a perfect fit for Stafford’s new show.
While touring in Florida (his home state), Stafford discovered The Anderson Brothers (Bradley and Bret) in Sarasota. In the May show I saw, they played the guitar, fiddle, banjo, mandolin and sang. Bradley played the guitar and Brett played the banjo.
They told Stafford that they learned to play by watching his videos on YouTube.com. They are also known as Brother Brother (the title of their CD).
Not only are they talented singers and guitar/banjo pickers, they injected a lot of energy into the Jim Stafford Show. They also sing backup to Stafford.
Branson needs young customers and adding acts like the Anderson Brothers can’t help but draw that demographic.
Branson visitors who have seen his show a half dozen times will get a kick out of the new version and anyone who has never seen Jim Stafford in Branson, should go while they still have the chance.
Stafford no longer owns the theater but it has been given a facelift and is a great place to watch a show after almost a million dollars spent on renovation.
His show schedule includes 8 p.m. performances every week from Wednesday through Saturday. He does a 2 p.m. matinee on Sundays and is off on Monday and Tuesday. The show is scheduled through December and the 71-year-old Stafford hasn’t announced his plans for 2016. His website has changed and is now www.jimstaffordtickets.com. The theater phone number is 417-330-8080 and the theater is located at 3440 W. 76 Country Blvd. – right in the heart of Branson’s entertainment district.