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Cooter's show getting an encore, perhaps more

Ben "Cooter" Jones. Rich Cooley/Daily

By Sally Voth

The show will go on at The Yellow Barn.

Last month's "Shenandoah Jamboree" featuring Cooter's Garage Band was such a hit at the Quicksburg attraction that there'll be another one in April, and hopefully every month through November, said actor Ben "Cooter" Jones.

Jones is a former congressman, author, singer and actor -- best known for playing the mechanic who would fix up the General Lee on the popular television show, "Dukes of Hazzard."

"Shenandoah Jamboree" will take place the first Saturday of each month, he said on Monday.

"If that works, we might do it more often," Jones said.

He said the original plan for last month's show was for 400 tickets to be sold, but after a Daily article previewing it a few days in advance, another 150 seats were set up.

"It was packed," Jones said. "They just had a ball, I think.

"[We're] also putting together a presentation to shop to networks to...try to make it a regular TV show."

In an interview last month, Jones envisioned the jamboree at the Shenandoah Caverns' attraction becoming a tourist destination. On Monday, he said some members of the audience had traveled several hours to attend.

"I just think it's a great location and good venue for that sort of thing," he said. "A lot of people hadn't seen all that stuff in The Yellow Barn, and [their reaction was] wow, look at this."

Besides colorful parade floats, such as a giant tree house with squirrels, the attraction is home to Americana items, such as wagons, antique cars, toys, crafts, storefronts, Christmas decorations and the like.

And, Jones plans to invite back a Peter Muhlenberg Middle School seventh-grader who performed at the Jan. 26 concert.

"He's an exceptional talent," Jones said of 12-year-old John-Robert Rimel. "He has great state presence, wonderful manners. He went out and just knocked it out of the park. We will go from month-to-month putting a show together with different songs and different acts, but I certainly would like for that young man to be a regular on the show because he's just terrific."

That news came as a welcome surprise to Rimel.

"It was fantastic, meeting Cooter," he said Monday afternoon. "He was just the coolest guy. He's so nice and he actually took the time to talk to me for about 20, 25 minutes.

"It's just been an amazing experience for me. When I'm on stage, the lights are blinding. You can't see the audience, except the first two or three rows in the front, or right by the stage. Just being able to do that and hanging around backstage is just an amazing feeling."

The next Shenandoah Jamboree is scheduled for April 6, The Yellow Barn's manager Judith Ruby said.

Contact staff writer Sally Voth at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or svoth@nvdaily.com


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