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For 25 years the Oaklawn Opry provided good, wholesome, family style musical entertainment for the
Texarkana area. The weekly show featured local and regional singers performing classic traditional
style country music as well as other music genre with a live band. The Opry provided an outlet for
talented singers to entertain and perform for one of the best audiences anywhere. Literally hundreds
of entertainers have crossed the stage over the past 25 years and provided countless audience
members with a night of memorable musical entertainment.
The Oaklawn Opry was established in Feburary 1992 by Chad Blue and Hollis Gentry during the
resurgence of “new traditional” country music of the late 80’s and early 90’s. Band leaders Henry
and Carol Matthews were tasked to provide the original house band called “Country Plus” which
included Randy Evans (piano), Steve Shankles (guitar), Milam Albright (bass), and Mark Addington
(drums) and saxophonist Terry McCasland joined the band shortly thereafter. Carol was the show’s
host and provided the MC duties and provided harmony vocals while Henry played fiddle and steel
guitar. The first show at Oaklawn featured area favorite Joe Mack Bennett and more than 100
people had to be turned away from the sold out 360 seat theater. In 1994 Henry and Carol
Matthews became the owners of the Opry.
Unfortunately the show is now closed after 25 years. The 25th Anniversary Show held on February
11th, 2017 featured over 20 performers who entertained a full house of over 500 audience members.
Carol Matthews
Carol Matthews
Henry Matthews