Tommy Alverson's 19th Annual Family Gathering

Tommy AlversonI love October because of it's cool weather that's perfect for camping and outdoor activities, Halloween candy that lasts a year, perfect weather to loose some golf balls, and it's time for another great four days of music at Tommy Alverson's Family Gathering! Some of what makes the Family Gathering as good as all that Halloween candy includes: an outstanding line-up of Texas country singer songwriters, plenty of room to camp close to the stage, an excellent venue under the oak trees, and a very fun and lively group of music fans! And like the name implies, this festival truly feels like a family gathering - everybody knows somebody and some know just about everybody, the fans are a little older and all are friendly and outgoing and here for fun, to reacquaint with friends and to enjoy some good music. No rowdy face down in the dirt college kids or tossing beer and no need for security! It just doesn't get much better than all that.

Tommy Alverson's Family Gathering

Hog Mountain Retreat

For the last few years, Tommy has held his festival at Hog Mountain Retreat just a couple miles from downtown Mineral Wells. Hog Mountain is home to a cool rustic dance hall/pavilion which serves as the place to judge the winner of the Bloody Mary contest, Tommy's new music stage under the oak trees, a campground with electrical hook-ups on a hill above the stage area, and acres of open field for dry camping that is close to the music stage. Last year Tommy built a new stage and it's perfect for his festival and the sound system is excellent. Lawn chairs, canopies, and BYOB are welcome and it's easy to get as close to the stage as you like!

The grounds in front of the music stage Stage at Tommy Alverson's Family Gathering the stage area at Tommy's Family Gathering

The campground up the hill, as well as the open field campground, is always alive with music - typically around a campfire until 4 or so in the morning. A shuttle (a farm tractor and trailer with hay bales) will get campers to and from the stage area.

Camping at Hog Mountain Camping at Hog MountainCamping at Hog MountainCamping close to the stage Camping at Hog Mountain camping at the family gathering

Around the perimeter of the music stage are several vendors serving food (BBQ to nachos to fried alligator), giving massages, sponsoring a washer tournament, or selling merchandise that ranges from jewelry to pearl snap shirts.

The merch tent Vendor at Tommy Alverson's Family Gathering Selling Pearl Snap Shirts

The Music Fans at Tommy Alverson's Family Gathering Music Festival

A large part of what makes this festival fun and feel like a family gathering are the fans that attend. Most of them have been to at least three previous Tommy festivals and several have been to most if not all 19 of them. The fans range in age from toddlers to veterans on social security and the average age is around 40 or so - and they are all seasoned veterans who love to party, drink beer or whiskey, meet and make new friends, and enjoy country music. Click on this link to see more pictures of Family Gathering Music Fans.

Tommy Alverson Music Festival Fans Tommy Alverson Music Festival Fans Tommy Alverson Music Festival Fans

Tommy Alverson's Family Gathering Line-up

Each year Tommy has a fantastic line-up of Texas country singer songwriters some of which have been to several of the 19 Family Gatherings and a few musicians who are playing at the Festival for the first time. The music started at 8 PM on Wednesday and at 2:00 PM on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday which gave everyone the opportunity to recover from a night of drinking, dancing, and very late night pickin' and singin' around the campfires. This year's music line-up included:


  • T Bone Stearns - a true country artist
  • Dave Thomas - a fantastic set from one of the best songwriters around
  • Tom McElvain - a passion for country music and a voice that sets him apart from the crowd and vocal tones reminiscent of Jim Croce

T Bone StearnsDave ThomasTom McElvain


  • Don Burke - with Texas coast based story song, Don has shared the stage with the likes of Jimmy Buffett and opened with legends like Jerry Jeff Walker, Leon Russell, and more
  • Kelly McGuire - winner of Album of the Year and nomination for Entertainer of the Year, many of his songs reflect the flavor of the Gulf Coast, Belize, and his years as a yacht broker
  • Bob Livingston - full of stories, humorous tales and fun songs, Bob is far from a "traditional" Texas country musician and has been labeled a true"cosmic cowboy"

Don BurkeKelly McGuireBob Livingston

  • Steve Helms Band - a down-home Texas boy who has sung and played music most of his life for numerous artists all across the country
  • Larry Joe Taylor - always a joy to listen to, Larry has an excellent band, a great voice, and a ton of fun songs that you can't help but sing along to and wish you were on the beach somewhere
  • Matt Hillyer - best know as the leader of Eleven Hundred Springs, Matt has found another gear of country storytelling

Steve HelmsLarry Joe TaylorMatt Hillyer

  • Jamie Richards - educated for 8 years in Oklahoma's honky tonks, Jamie is traditional country through and through and bringing back the roots of country music
  • Tejas Brothers - you've got to love these guys with fun, lively, inspirational, and amazing shows with a wide variety of music (Tex Mex to Johnny Cash to Louie Armstrong) and dancing Dave Perez and his infectious attitude and rousing according playing
  • Deryl Dodd - the ultimate entertainer - funny, vivacious, humorous, lively, and wild and crazy songs and antics

Jamie RichardsTejas BrothersDeryl Dodd


  • Jimmy Davis - with influences ranging from the Beatles to the Eagles to Johnny Cash, Jimmy's music and songs are unique and versatile
  • Kelly Cutler - with more than 30 years of music (he's opened for Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Conway Twitty, and more), comedy, radio, and television, his shows are never the same and always entertaining
  • Mike Blakely - a novelist, award winning songwriter, rancher, and entertaining singer with a rich country voice, I could listen to Mike all day and still want more

Jimmy DavisKelly CutlerMike Blakely

  • Susan Gibson - a CMA award winning songwriter (the Dixie Chicks took her Wide Open Spaces to the top for four weeks), Susan's songs reflect her personal, high energy, poignant side
  • Thomas Michael Riley - it's impossible not to love TMR's infections laugh and smile, humor, multitude of facial expressions, high energy performances, and mix of superb songs that get you laughing, crying, or singing along
  • Tennessee Hat Band - having played behind the likes of Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, and more legends, this was our first time to hear them and we loved everything about them

Susan GibsonThomas Michael RileyTennessee Hat Band

  • Ed Burleson - after a injury as a rodeo cowboy on the pro rodeo circuit, Ed got serious about a musical career with deep rich true country voice
  • Davin James - it's impossible to describe Davin's energy, dynamic guitar playing, and fantastic songs - a must see if you get the chance
  • Johnny Bush - a worthy heir to the tradition of Bob Wills, Hank Thompson and Lefty Frizzell and from my perspective the king of country swing with a big band of talented musicians

Ed BurlesonDavin JamesJohnny Bush


  • Them Chisolm Folks - a new Americana band with a folk and Texas blues twist - can't wait to see these guys again
  • The Geezers - Tommy Alverson, Terry Rasor, and Amos Staggs make a talented trio with over 100 years of musical experience
  • Morris McCann - a real country singer who states "I love singing country because I am country" with influences from Merle Haggard and Don Williams

Them Chisolm FolksThe GeezersMorris McCann

  • Devin Leigh - his work is a mixture of rockabilly, country, blues, and southern rock, infused with fiery guitar.
  • Joe Pat Hennen - his songs chronicle the often overlooked events that make everyday life far from ordinary
  • Terry Rasor Band - with a strong deep country voice Terry "is one of those serious, independent, freedom loving, in-your face sort of singer songwriter who makes it clear where he stands

Devin LeighJoe Pat HennenTerry Rasor

  • Cornell Hurd Band - with a nine piece band that fills the stage with guitars, keyboards, sax, washerboard, drums and more, Cornell Hurd is known as "country music's worst nightmare" with some off the wall songs and humor
  • Walt Wilkins & the Mystiqueros - wow, wow, and wow, these guys are phenomenal - Walt's been called a genius with music as comfortable as an old pair of jeans and the band could be called a Texas Hill Country super-group
  • Tommy Alverson Band - it just doesn't get much better than Tommy and his band

Cornell HurdWalt Wilkins & the MystiquerosWalt Wilkins & the MystiquerosTommy Alverson

Some of the highlights from Tommy Alverson's 19th Annual Family Gathering included:

  • it's impossible not to enjoy Thomas Michael Rileys humor, infectious laugh and facial expressions, and his great songs
  • Piper Alversons selling lemonade with all of the proceeds going to a Waco pet shelter
  • Deryl Dodd is hilarious and always entertaining - he's funny and makes you laugh and want to sing along with him
  • we hadn't seen Mike Blakely in awhile and his set was very enjoyable

Thomas Michael RileyPiper Alverson selling lemonaideDeryl Dodd

  • an excellent transition of a young and ambitions new band (Them Chisolm Folks are just getting started) to The Geezers (Amos Staggs, Terry Rasor and Tommy Alverson) with over 100 years of musical experience or the humorous and biting country tunes of Cornell Herd to the smooth and beautiful harmonies from Walt Wilkins and The Mystiqueros or the soft and easy listening mellow voice of Susan Gibson to the deep resonance of Terry Rasor or the high pitched country twang of Ed Burleson
  • reacquainting with lots of old friends and meeting several new folks that we'll enjoy seeing at the next festival
  • the excellent Bloody Marys that were part of the Bloody Mary contest
  • the witch dance
  • the cool weather, the smallish crowd, the superb line-up, the BYOB and close by camping, and listening to the music in a lawn chair under a sky full of stars

Friends2nd place Bloody Mary Winnerwitches in costume

Our thanks go out to Tommy and Amy Alverson, Gary (the executive director) and Charlene Newell, the gate and stage crew, and all of the other staff and volunteers that make Tommy Alverson's Family Gathering so pain free and fun for all of us.

The AlversonsSome of the staffTommy and his dog

Gary NewellCharlene NewellOur MC for the weekend

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