Stoney LaRue to headline Early Texas Showcase

EARLY— After months of anticipation the Early Visitors and Events Center opened to the public with hundreds attending multiple festivities throughout the day and evening Friday.

Mayor Robert Mangrum ceremoniously cut the ribbon on the $1.3 million complex, which will serve as a rest stop and events space, capping off a two-year process beginning in 2017 when the Early Lions Club donated the land along State Highway 183.

“We’re proud of this building. We’re proud of what we accomplished here,” Early City Administrator Toney Aaron said.  “It’s not just brick and mortar. It’s blood sweat and tears and a little bit of love thrown into it.”

Inside the facility, photos from Roger Levesque adorn the walls - highlighting his travels throughout the United States. Above the foyer a piece by Matt Tumlinson, an Early High School graduate, which is his primary contribution coming as a collage of spent shell casings creating the Texas state flag, which the San Antonio Express News recently featured in a feature story.

“There is a balance when it comes to building these projects and that is trying to get the best cost you can get for the work and still want to do things local,” Aaron said. “Waldrop (Construction Co.) came up with a good blend of saving us a lot of money. When they had to go out of the county for contractors, they did that, but they used a lot of contractors that were local to our community and that helps put money in the pockets who live here, work here and shop here.”

Billboard artist LaRue, Shotgun Rider announced as artists for Showcase

Denise Hudson, Early tourism director, seemed to have a whirlwind day Friday – opening the new, multi-million dollar home to her department, unveiling her recently wrapped Visit Early SUV and also announcing the top artist for the 2019 Early Texas Showcase with Stoney LaRue and the Shotgun Rider Band as the headline and opening acts for the Saturday, Sept. 15 concert.
LaRue has been a part of the independent country music scene since the early 2000s when his sophomore outing, ‘The Red Dirt Album’ listed 70th in the top 100 of the Billboard Music Chart. In 2013 he performed alongside multi-platinum artist Miranda Lambert to record backup vocals for her single ‘All Kinds of Kinds’ and will likely play a few tunes off his untitled album he hopes to release sometime this year.

“We look at the Spotify chart every year to see who is the most streamed Texas country artist were,” Hudson said. “He was in there and there were several we already had here. We thought Stoney would be a good option. He has a really good following and he hasn’t saturated the area very often. We thought it would be a good opportunity to get him to come here. We were looking at openers and realized we could have two people in the (Spotify) top 20 on the same stage and it fit within our budget.”