by John Tarpley
Bocephus is back around, bringing his "Rowdy Friends Tour" to town as part of the first annual American Freedom Festival-Arkansas, a tribute to members of the armed forces and fund-raiser to benefit Jewish War Veterans of the U.S.A. and the Arkansas Inland Maritime Museum. The man with the royal blood (and, now, a Pioneer Award from the Academy of Country Music to complement his "Monday Night Football" Emmy) is bringing a gang of modern country-rockers along for the ride, too. Jamey Johnson, the songwriter-turned-performer, hits the stage after winning both the Academy of Country Music and Country Music Awards' "Song of the Year" award last year for his bittersweet single "In Color." Colt Ford parlayed his success at writing rodeo and hunting songs for the Professional Bull Riders Association and the Outdoor Channel into mainstream success with hip-hop infused country-rock. Wisconsin-based upstart Josh Thompson and modern bluegrass act The Grascals also support.