By Diane Howard, Ph.D.
Art Greenhaw is a multi-talented, high volume, American musician, record producer and audio engineer who has been awarded the Grammy® Award for the Best Southern, Country or Bluegrass Gospel Album for “We Called Him Mr. Gospel Music: The James Blackwood Tribute Album.” He founded the independent record label, Greenhaw Records. He has appeal for all ages and demographics with his energetic, heart-felt artistry and music.
Greenhaw is the bassist, multi-instrumentalist, and manager for the Light Crust Doughboys. He officially joined the Light Crust Doughboys as a band member in 1993 under the direction of Marvin “Smokey” Montgomery, one of Greenhaw’s musical mentors. The symphony performances and the other enterprises of the Light Crust Doughboys have been largely the product of Greenhaw’s imagination and promotional skill.
The Light Crust Doughboys are considered the longest-running country and western band in the world and one of the top historical bands of all time. To quote The Dallas Morning News, “When the ultimate western swing and Texas music book is written, The Light Crust Doughboys will be in Chapter 1, Page 1.”
Having served as the musical director and band leader of a weekly country music revue, the Mesquite Opry, Art Greenhaw first worked with the Light Crust Doughboys when he booked them to play at the Mesquite Folk Festival in 1983, which Greenhaw had founded.
Like most of the other Doughboys down through the years, Greenhaw started in music at an early age. When he was eight, he picked up the guitar and by the fourth grade had his own band, “The Doodlebugs.” Later, this group became a rock band named “The Inner Soul.”
Greenhaw’s interest in guitar led him to country music, but he also studied classical music as a child at the Southern Methodist University (SMU) Piano Preparatory Department from 1966 to 1970. Greenhaw received his bachelor’s degree in political science from SMU in 1976.
In addition, his musicianship, production, arranging and songwriting has included work with Nokie Edwards, Tom Brumley, James Blackwood, Ann-Margret, Engelbert Humperdinck, Trini Lopez and Ronnie Dawson.
Art Greenhaw is also from a long Methodist family history. His father was the music director of the Mesquite Methodist Church for 40 years. You can see his faith and Methodist history, especially in his gospel music in the YouTube video, “A Life In Gospel Music” (by Grammy Award-Winning Art Greenhaw Records and Art’s work with Ann-Margret, The Jordanaires, James Blackwood, and The Light Crust Doughboys).
Here is my exclusive interview with Art:
DH: What would you describe is central in your work and life?
AG: Central in my work and life is Pressing on toward Higher Ground, while running the race of the full spectrum of the Texas and American life experience: songwriting; book writing; stage shows; audio and video production; even buying-selling goods, merchandise; and running a store. My recording “Higher Ground” explains this better.
DH: What or who has influenced you the most?
AG: Spiritually, my dad, Frank W. Greenhaw and gospel music legend James Blackwood have influenced me the most. If you’re on Facebook, please “like” the page Frank W. Greenhaw Tribute. Media has provided for me a particularly strong spiritual influence. “The King of Kings,” film starring Jeffrey Hunter and directed by Nicholas Ray has been the most influential medium for me of all time. I experienced this in the second grade, and experts say early years are a real formative time.
DH: How would you describe the style of your music?
AG: My style comes from Roots Americana. Actually, the entire realm of the American music experience particularly country and country gospel.
DH: What are you working on now for the future?
AG: I have been greatly expanding our comic book creations. We are creating faith-based and “here I stand” message comic books out of metro Dallas, Texas, where we have “Marvel-quality” artists residing. Secondly, I have been working on our greatest stage show ever: The Light Crust Doughboys 90th Anniversary Big Show Band Revue. Thirdly, I am involved in the line-in-the-sand time for the Methodist movement, hoping for a brand new evangelical orthodox Methodist movement to replace the disunited, declining one in the USA. Please access my recording “Church In The Valley” (byThe Light Crust Doughboys). Fourthly, I am virtually completely rebuilding and restoring and reviving my hometown of Mesquite, Texas, and especially Downtown Main Street, Mesquite, which is a town that has severely declined spiritually, socially, culturally and economically from my childhood days (as have many urban US metro areas). But there’s now hope for ol’ Mesquite with positive leadership changes, positive city changes, with much of the swamp of the past 25-30-year decline drained!
DH: During the current quarantine and stay-at-home orders, what have you been working on?
AG: I’ve been consumed during the stay-at-home period creating new videos. Please access the various Art Greenhaw Channels on YouTube.
DH: How has your faith centered, grounded your life and work?
AG: I have attempted to live my faith based on my messages in my recordings and the words therein such as the following: “I Would Be True,” “There Is A Fountain,” and my all-original “Always Hear The Harmony”. Please access “Art Greenhaw” and “Light Crust Doughboys” wherever music is sold and especially on SelectOHits.
DH: How has your faith intersected with your life and work?
AG: I’ve always attempted to lead and bring everything that I do back to Gospel; the story, life and teachings of Jesus Christ. These are found primarily in Scripture and secondarily in reason, tradition and experience.
DH: How is your faith connected with what you are doing now and hope to do in the future?
AG: I’m in meditative and prayerful hope that we can bring thousands of like-minded and equally-yoked people around the world to band together in the new Methodist movement revival and in the support and distribution of Christian and message comic books, which hit that so-hard-to-reach teen to 30-something age group.
DH: What are important contributions you still want to make to our culture and world today?
AG: I’d like to live out my days as long and active and productive as possible in the fight always for the Good and the True. I hope when I leave this earthy vessel, that even the undertaker will be quite saddened and hate to see me go!
Greenhaw, who has been bassist and co-producer of the Light Crust Doughboys since 1993, developed a plan through which the Doughboys would create for themselves a new golden age. The Doughboys have made frequent appearances in theaters throughout Texas and Oklahoma.
Art’s experience as a rock guitarist has affected his bass playing. He usually plays with a pick, which is more common to rock bassists than to jazz, country or western swing players. Greenhaw brings great range and variety to the Doughboys‘ bass position. His approach has changed the bass sound of the Doughboys‘ rhythm section. The bass had always been supportive, but with Art’s approach, it became more melodic and noticeable, as in rock music.
Greenhaw has also organized unusual performance and recording opportunities for the Doughboys. In 1997, he took the lead in composing and arranging the music and recording the soundtrack for a documentary film about actor Bela Lugosi. The project received a rave review in Filmfax magazine and earned Art a Hollywood Film Awards Best Documentary nomination.
Further, the Doughboys participated in a cooperative recording effort entitled The High Road on the Hilltop. Greenhaw wrote three of the songs: “High Road,” “Texas Women,” and “Hangin’ ‘Round Deep Ellum”
The 2005 album, 20th Century Gospel: From Hymns to Blackwood Brothers Tribute to Christian Country, included contributions from Greenhaw, the Light Crust Doughboys, the Jordanaires, and Nokie Edwards. AllMusic described it as “A pristinely recorded and expertly played slice of truly American music, 20th Century Gospel is an uplifting work that resonates with the participants’ obvious love of making music.”
In conjunction with the Diamond Anniversary of the Light Crust Doughboys, ASC (America Sejung Corporation) was commissioned to produce a limited-edition series of seven fretted musical instruments. In collaboration with Art Greenhaw as technical advisor, these included the following: banjo, mandolin (with pickup), electric bass, and both hollow and solid-body electric guitars.
Greenhaw was inducted into the Texas Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 2015. That same year, Greenhaw’s book, “Mesquite (Images of America),” was released.
Art then began creating, editing and writing faith-based visual novels and comic books, starting with book series title “God’s Silver Soldiers,” also known as “Silver Soldiers: The Comic” and followed by “Tales of Nazareth: The Boyhood of Jesus.” The comic books, under the imprint of Truthmonger Comics Group Publishing, have achieved acclaim for their action-oriented innovation in illustration by comic book artist Ben Dunn as well as their storylines, and they have been covered in the media by TV channels, newspapers, and faith-based, nationally-syndicated radio.
Art Greenhaw has a deep and abiding faith with sincere commitment to the soundest Christian theology. His faith comes through his wide-range of creative work that he delivers with great artistry and heart for a wide range of demographics.
In addition to the Roots music for which The Light Crust Doughboys are famous, Art found that, by producing and arranging unusual and creative concept albums, he could create a buzz for his label, Greenhaw Records. In addition to his work with the Doughboys, Art’s artistic, musical vision enabled him to collaborate with some of the world’s greatest musicians and vocalists: Ann-Margret, The Ventures, Engelbert Humperdinck, James Blackwood, The Jordanaires, Larry Ford, Big John Hall, Trini Lopez, The Blackwood Brothers, Nokie Edwards, Tom Brumley, Larry “T-Byrd” Gordon, the SMU Mustang Band, the Salty Dogs, and many others.
Art’s own vocals, guitar, bass, piano and keyboard playing continue to make their contributions to Greenhaw Records’ success of today. His original songs-compositions such as “Gospel Woman,” “Always Hear the Harmony,” “Our Wedding Song,” “The Builder’s Song,” “Sending Me You,” “Lugosi Hollywood’s Dracula,” “Child of the Night,” “The High Road,” and many more have played an important part in the artistic impact of Greenhaw Records’ Grammy-Winning and Grammy-Nominated albums.
Greenhaw has charted and continues to develop new musical territory in gospel, surf rock, instrumental rock, rockabilly, western swing, blues, traditional pop and world/Indian music.
Art’s motto is “A piano and guitar in every home!” He credits Frank and Pat who first believed, to James Blackwood who later believed, to Marvin “Smokey” Montgomery who nurtured, and to The Light Crust Doughboys—past and present—for pressing on.
To book The Light Crust Doughboys for performances for all occasions contact, Art Greenhaw:
Mail: 105 Broad Street, Mesquite, Texas 75149
Assets for article- http://artgreenhaw.com/