Hillbilly-Music.comThe People. The Music. The History.
About The Artist
Oliver Fenceroy was born in the small town of Wilmot, Arkansas. He was the fourth son of eight brothers and four sisters. The Fenceroy siblings grew up on a 200-acre working farm where they grew cotton, corn, beans, and raised a few head of livestock.
As with any farm boy, Oliver had chores that were a part of his everyday routine, picking cotton, baling hay, gathering eggs, and fence mending, among other things.
Oliver loved to sing and grew up singing Gospel songs in a Southern Church. But when he was offered free piano lessons so that he could play for the church congregation, he respectfully declined. Probably because he had also taken a liking to rhythm and blues music, which was forbidden in his household.
In retrospect, he chuckles in a conversation with Mike Johnson, he wished he had at least learned to pick the guitar instead of picking cotton.
Oliver served a tour of military service in Vietnam with the 25th Infantry Division. Some of the emotion and grit in the songs that he's written most likely sprang from that experience. Being an Arkansas farm boy, it goes without saying that country music is also ground as deep within him as the soil he was raised on.
He has been writing songs for about 15 years and though his family are not country music fans, per se, they do enjoy listening to him sing. His natural, unpretentious voice seeps deep down inside you while his down-to-earth lyrics take you on journeys down memory lane.
Oliver says he tries to write clean songs that everyone can relate to and enjoy. A very refreshing approach today, given how some of our old-fashion ethics and morals are steadfastly being trampled into the ground.
Oliver has been a resident of Sioux City, Iowa for quite some time. Sometime in late 2008 he chanced upon Mike Johnson's Youtube video site and the two struck up a conversation and eventual friendship. Mike viewed Oliver's videos and responded favorably. Oliver then sent him a copy of his debut CD “Dreamer.”
Mike enjoyed it so much that he prompted him to send a copy to the National Traditional Country Music Association's Tradition Magazine for a music review. He also told Oliver about the annual week long festivals and suggested that he should consider attending a future one.
Bob Everhart was just as impressed with Oliver's CD and wrote the following review in the 2009 Spring Edition of Tradition Magazine.
Bob urged Mike to try and get Oliver to the festival, and after some coaxing and persistence, Johnson succeeded in getting Oliver to commit. When they met they hit it off immediately and began rehearsing for Oliver's two performances. So impressed by Oliver's rehearsing were Sue and Dawn, two of the Kramer Sisters Group, and a guitarist name Kirk, that they joined in.
Noticing that they greatly contributed to calming Oliver's [quote] “chickens flappin in his stomach”, Mike invited them to help back him up on the Main Stage. Though he admits he was quite nervous, Oliver's performances of “Hang Down Your Head Tom Dooley” and “Kiss An Angel Good Morning” were enthusiastically received as was noted by the applause.
It was also on that stage Bob Everhart, president of the National Traditional Country Music Association, presented Oliver with the Rising Legend Award.
Oliver also performed on the One On The Mountain Stage, this time including two of his own songs, “When I Said I Do, I Did” and “Getting Tired.” Mike Johnson admits that he was a bit nervous because it sometimes takes him awhile to learn a new song, but he fell back on some of the same advice that he had given Oliver and got through it just fine.
Oliver spoke of his first festival experience, “I am forever grateful to my friend Mike Johnson, the famous No.1 Black Yodeler who helped me out and led me by the hand. I appreciate all that he has done, and advice he still gives me from time to time via email...”
Mike thoroughly enjoyed meeting Oliver and getting the opportunity to assist a truly unique individual and wonderfully nice guy take his wonderful talent a step further. Oliver wishes that he could spend a lot more time writing and recording songs, but as he says, he has a wife and family to support.
His day job keeps him busy and he divides his off time between his family and music. Hopefully the future will allow him some additional time to do just that. I know the folks at the LeMars Festival will be looking forward to seeing him again.
Credits & Sources