Roy Clark

7 p.m. Thursday, May 14. Ameristar Casino, 1 Ameristar Boulevard, St. Charles.

May 13, 2009 at 4:00 am

Along with George & Tammy, Buck Owens and Glen Campbell, virtuoso picker Roy Clark was the face and sound of country music at the dawn of the '70s. As cohost of Hee Haw, Clark — with his candid, fragile tenor and blistering banjo and guitar — made the show more than just a rube-fest for the masses. But as the '70s waned and Nashville purged rural influences in a crossover push, Clark's pickin' and grinnin' went into exile at a fateful spot: Branson, Missouri. Blame Clark and his Celebrity Theatre for what that mecca of mediocrity has become, but don't overlook his work with everyone from Gatemouth Brown to Joe Pass, or inestimable singles like "Malaguena" and "I Never Picked Cotton." He never did — but the guitar is another story.