About the Sons
The Sons of the Silver Dollar
The Sons were “born” in August of 2005 by Silver Dollar City, Branson Missouri to sing cowboy music for the very first Salute to the Great American Cowboy. They set us up on a little 8 x 12-foot stage outside their Red/Gold Pavilion entertaining guests as they entered and exited the building. We had seating for about 35 people but soon had 150-200 people sitting or standing around listening to our cowboy harmonies. We even were the opening act for Michael Martin Murphy down in the Silver Dollar City’s Echo Hollow Amphitheater. There was a reason The Sons of the Silver Dollar (our original name) group was formed. The first members were all part of Silver Dollar City’s Dickens Christmas Carol cast and needed something to do for that fall until the show resumed in November. We were all doing something on park but were not performing together. Our fall cowboy shows were so successful that “the powers that be” asked us to return the following spring and sing bluegrass music during the Bluegrass and Bar-B-Que festival the following May. Since then, we have been singing in every festival beginning in May through October. Whether it’s bluegrass, variety or gospel, we fill the theaters with toe-tapping good times. We have also developed our “off-season” touring schedule, singing in communities across the mid-west both in church concerts and community performance venues.
We refer to our vocal arrangement as tenor, lead and baritone/base. However, we have arranged most of our songs utilizing a floating lead vocalization. The tight three-part harmonies are what makes the blend of The Sons so unique. Besides utilizing a floating lead, we use unison periodically to achieve a very tight sound. Over the years our new members have brought vocal talent that has only increased that wonderful blend. We refer to it as “the cush.”
It has been our privilege to develop awesome friendships with folks from all over the world as we sing our melodies. We hope you’re one of them or that you’ll be one soon!
Tom Johnson - Baritone/Bass
Tom hails from the north country of Wisconsin. He found his way to Missouri in the early 70's to attend the School (College) of the Ozarks where he received a BA in Religion and Philosophy. Missouri has become his home and, for some reason, he doesn't miss the cold, snowy winters of the Northland.
Music has always been a part of his life but singing and performing have been his passions since 1993. He portrayed "Judas" in the epic musical, "The Promise," for seven years and has been a part of Silver Dollar City's entertainment department since 2001. His original role at the City was the Confederate Colonel in their original musical, "For The Glory," and currently portrays Bob Cratchit and Ebenezer Scrooge in the park's adaptation of Charles Dicken's "A Christmas Carol." In 2005, Tom and two fellow singers started the group, birthed by Silver Dollar City. So far, we haven’t been able to be rid of him.
Rich Watson - Lead
Rich spent his formative years in Charleston S.C. and sang both in school and church before serving our country in the Army from 1987 to 1991. He then worked at the MO. Dept. Of Corrections and Federal Bureau of Prisons until 2004. He has performed professionally for over 10 years in various shows including, "The Promise", "Smoke on the Mountain", "Positively Country, Definitely Gospel", "The Jerry Presley Show", "Elvis Experience Show", "Mary Duff Show" and "Faith's Journey Trio". He has sung backup for other well-known entertainers such as Kenny Loggins, Ms. Lilly Knawles, and Allen Asbury. While in Branson, he has appeared on several television spots for gospel programs as well as sung on church praise and worship teams. The Sons’ lead singer also plays rhythm guitar, dulcimer, upright bass and box percussion.
Michael Phillips - Tenor
Being from Texas, Michael grew up being surrounded by country and gospel music. When he was younger he would go on weekly dates with his grandma, listening to oldies wherever they went. He still sings along with them when they come on the radio.
Michael may be young but he has been performing non-stop for 20 years. He has performed in over 130 different shows in Texas, Florida, Missouri, and Pennsylvania. He also spent many years training in the dance arts and has even been a “guest artist” for multiple ballet companies. Aside from performing and singing Michael is passionate about photography, filmmaking, and cinema. He also plays indoor soccer with a local team.
The two people Michael couldn’t do anything without are his wife, Crystal, and his Lord. Crystal is his source of constant joy, support, and daily inspiration. God is ever present, and ever providing His love, grace, and mercy in our lives. Ever since Michael moved from Texas to Missouri in 2008 he always knew Silver Dollar City was a special place. He considers it to be a great blessing to be involved with SDC’s Echo Hollow, “Dickens’ A Christmas Carol,” and now Sons of the Silver Dollar.