Otto, Bresh featured performers at police spectacular

Published 10:32 am Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Country singer James Otto and guest artist Thom Bresh will be the featured performers in this year’s Austin Police Officers Association Fall Country Western Spectacular at 7 p.m. Saturday in Austin High School’s Knowlton Auditorium.

Tickets are $25 in advance and $35 at the door. Advance tickets are available at the Austin Law Enforcement Center.

“Thom Brash is fabulous,” Lt. John Mueller of the Austin Police Department said. “He is so talented; a phenomenal storyteller — and a phenomenal picker. Same with James Otto — such a great songwriter, singer. It’s going to be a great show.”

Email newsletter signup

Otto’s bluesy voice and songwriting savvy has brought him much success. His “Sunset Man” peaked at number two on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart. He co-wrote “In Color,” which led to Song of the Year honors by both the Academy of Country Music and the Country Music Academy in 2008.

Other popular songs have included “Just Got Started Loving You,” and “Somewhere Tonight.”

Bresh is a veteran country music singer, songwriter and guitar “picker.” He has made multiple appearance on television shows.

He notched three top 10 records in the 1970s with “Homemade Love,” “Hey Daisy,” and “Sad Country Love Song.” He has been nominated twice for Grammys and was the host of the television show “Nashville Swing” for four seasons. He was inducted into the Thumbpickers Hall of Fame in 2001, a tribute to his prowess with the guitar. He followed in the footsteps of his father, Merle Travis, a guitar player regarded to be without equal during the mid-20th century. Travis also wrote the popular country hit, “Sixteen Tons,” a hit for Tennessee Ernie Ford, and was a close friend of Chet Atkins, another guitar virtuoso.

For over 40 years, law enforcement has been active in bringing the Country Western Spectacular to Austin. The Austin Police Officers Association has provided the entertainment for 19 years; before then, the Mower County Sheriff Deputies Association brought the show to town for 24 years.

Funds raised support a host of youth and community programs in Mower County, according to Mueller. The donations range from support of the Matchbox Children’s Theater and football camps, to youth sports and school organizations. Over $28,000 has been donated in scholarships to Riverland Community College graduates who are headed to careers in law enforcement or criminal justice. The association has also supported post-graduation and post-prom parties in not only Austin, but in the Southland and Lyle school districts.

Mueller said the show, a family event, will be worth every penny.