A super-star movie and a super-star country singer is passing through Iowa, and is going to make an appearance at the Oak Tree in Anita on Aug. 23. His name is Ed Gary.

It’s easy to see why the movie people signed Ed Gary. He’s a Kenny Rogers look-alike (with the voice to match), a venturesome spirit and has spent years performing on stage. When Bob Everhart of Anita, asked him about his movie experience, Gary said, “See, one time I was playing a gig with my band out in

California, and our manager came running up and told us that for some reason, they wanted us to go up to where Clint Eastwood was making a movie. After we got there, we were just standing around, watching Eastwood, who was not far away directing some movie segments. Then all of a sudden this casting guy pointed at me and said, ‘You, come with me.’ I guess he thought I was an extra or something, so what the heck, I just went along and did as I was told.”

Gary had suddenly and unexpectedly become part of Clint Eastwood’s movie “Pale Rider.”

“They put me on the set in a small part and gave me some instructions, and I just followed my lines and did what the director told me. After that, go figure — the movie people started calling me to be in other films.”

Gary has now appeared in over 100 movies, including “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” “Smokey and the Bandit,” “The Red Corvette,” “A Man Called Newreus,” and “Trade-in,” among others.

“The silver screen was fun,” Gary said, “My first love however is country music. It’s the one that, for me, has soul. Maybe that’s because there’s so much gospel style in country music, my other favorite thing. If you learn about the lives of country music performers, you’ll see that the majority of them are believers, and they learned a great deal about their style from just being in church. That’s how it was with me.”

Gary was born and raised in Memphis by a father who was an Assemblies of God preacher. He sang in his father’s church for the first time at the age of 3, started playing guitar when he was 6, and a year later began to sing on the radio. He first recorded professionally in his teens and went on to build a solid career in country music. He later moved to Nashville, where his country music talents would continue to grow. His first recordings at age 17 were “Blackboard Of My Heart” and “Am I That Easy To Forget.” He has been

featured on “The Ralph Emery Show,” the “Jerry Lewis Telethon in its early days, “Lee Mace’s Ozark Opry” from Osage Beach, Missouri, and the Grand Ole Opry. He has been inducted into the NTCMA’s America’s Old Time Country Music Hall of Fame.”

Gary also knew Merle Haggard well. “I knew Merle and performed with him many, many times, and he would frequently send me his original songs to ‘try out,’ songs he would later cover. Yeah, he was sometimes a rough-shod kind of guy, but he was honest, and he was loyal to his friends, and I was one of them. We in country music all owe a special debt to him both for his personal strength and for his skill as a songwriter.”

Gary will be making a personal appearance at the Oak Tree in Anita, on Aug. 23, also featuring Smithsonian recording artists Bob & Sheila Everhart; Earl Binns; John Tesdell; Ben McClure; and David Green. Reserved seats highly recommended, the best seat in the house is available at 712-762-4363 or cell phone 712-249-5989.