Saturday, December 22, 2012

We Need a Little Christmas Right This Very Minute!

     We could all use a big slice of Christmas spirit right about now. It's been a really tough week for many families and their friends in Newtown, Connecticut. We wish them all well and we pray for their healing from the senseless murders of 20 beautiful children and six teachers and administrators at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

     A good way to start the healing process is to stick together with friends and family, play music, and reflect often upon that loved one who meant so much. With a strong faith, they (and you!) can do it. Here are some photos from The Rusty Propeller Antiques in Rossville, TN. It's just across Main Street from the Wolf River Cafe. Owners of the Rusty Propeller, Geoff and Jessica, invited us to hold our weekly bluegrass jam in their wonderful antique store, so we did! We're all invited back next this locality! Sorry! Couldn't help it! Come on down for catfish at the Wolf  and bluegrass/old-time music at the Propeller!

Merry Christmas, everybody, and a Happy New Year!

Pick away!

Nothin' better than pickin' in an antique store!

Your break, Sherry! Pick it!

Show us whatcha got, Monroe!

Michael, Donna, Karl, and Peter gettin' after it!

Peter, Kacey, Bob, Monroe, Michael, Donna, and Karl playing Valerie's request

Coley says, "Sam, back me up on this frailin' banjo tune!"

Geoff (owner of The Rusty Propeller) smiles with approval! "Hey! This is great! Come back next week!"

Bob says, "Sherry, I got this one on my Dobro! Sam and Coley, let's go!"

Donna, Michael, Monroe, Sherry, Bob, Sam, Coley, Kacey, Peter, Frank (behind Kacey), Karl, and Valerie love their bluegrass and old-time music!

Fans: Claire, Melissa, Maggie, Randy, Frank's dad chatting and enjoying the music!

Martha visits with Wesley (the dog), Sam, Santa, and Sherry giving Santa some helpful hints!

Valerie and Santa Claus sharing in the music and wishing everyone a Merry Christmas!!

'Cause Santa Claus is watchin' you! He's everywhere! He's everywhere!

Monday, December 17, 2012

December 14, 2012 We Will Remember You

We Will Remember You
The healing process begins now. It takes time and only God can measure that time. For those precious children and adults who were slain in Newtown, Connecticut, in a senseless act of violence, we will remember you.

Amen! Amen! There's a Higher Power!


Friday, November 30, 2012

Music in the Ozark Hills


     There is plenty of music in the Ozark hills, as most of you know already. If you don't know already, ask a bluegrass music friend or fan. In just a few days over Thanksgiving 2012, we were exposed to Christmas music in Blanchard Caverns north of Mountain View (feat: Robert and Mary Gillihan, Marion Spear, Pam Mowery, Danny Dozier, Pam Setser, and Pati Long. Abby Spinks alternates weekends with Pam Mowery); bluegrass music in Mellon's Country Store just down the way from downtown Mountain View; and the finest of traditional bluegrass from Frank Ray and Cedar Hill at the beautifully-restored Collins Theatre in Paragould, AR (feat: Pete Brown, Patti LaFleur, Frank Ray, Shannon Cox, and Jim Bunch). There were also some fine musicians just passin' the time on a beautiful Sunday afternoon at the gazebo in the Mountain View City Park, which is devoted to serious mountain-style bluegrass pickin'.

     We'll keep it short and show you a few photos we took along the way. Check out events at Mountain View, ARl5nVng/s200/MtnView+AR+Mellon%27s+Country+Store+11-23-26-2012.jpg" width="200" /> Pappy Mellon in the jammin' corner at his Mtn. View general store  2012
Jes' a pickin' at Mellon's General Store -- even Betty sang with us  2012

Pickers at the Square on a lovely November afternoon in Mountain View, AR  2012

Picker and Rudolph on his banjo - Town square in Mountain View, AR  2012

Andy: "Hey, Barn! Come 'ere just a second!" (Stone County Sheriff's car from a few short years ago)  2012

Frank Ray & Cedar Hill, Collins Theatre, Paragould, AR  2012

Friday, October 19, 2012

Hurrying to Catch Up!

A.J. Croce, son of folk-rock legend Jim Croce, signs CDs for BPACC fans

A.J. Croce renders McCartney's "Maybe I'm Amazed" at dinner stage show

A.J. Croce Guitar at BPACC

An A.J. Croce Guitar at BPACC
We're hurrying to catch up and tell you what we've been up to!

Roaring Fork Driving Tour in Gatlinburg, TN

Dancers at Townsend Heritage Festival


Wood 'n Strings, Home of Clemmer Dulcimers, Townsend

Barn and split rail fence in Cade's Cove near Gatlinburg
  • I want to thank you for coming to the Historic Town Square this past summer to pick or just enjoy the music. It was mighty hot, then rainy, then hot again, and now it's ideal! Join us on Oct. 19 for our last jam session at the Square for 2012. See you at Collierville United Methodist Church on Oct. 26, for a great indoor season of bluegrass and old-time music. We look forward to returning to the Square on about April 12, 2013. Follow us wherever we go!
  • Thanks for the helpful comments about the jam; the weekly reminder; the bluegrass TV schedule for the Memphis market (WKNO-10 and WKNO2-Comcast 910) with Song of the Mountains, Jammin' at Hippie Jack's, Bluegrass Underground, and the Sun Studio Sessions; the top-name bluegrass acts that come to play for you; and for helping the jam to grow with each passing year. In April, we will begin our 14th year at the Historic Town Square.
  • I have been to the Casey Jones Old-Time Music Festival at the Old Country Store in Jackson, TN, and that was so much fun. The bands that performed were great! Clark Shaw, Steve Patterson, and all the great folks around the Old Country Store do a wonderful job in making sure everybody has a good time at I-40 Exit 80-A.
  • Leroy Troy & the Tennessee Mafia Jug Band stopped by 2984 Harvester Lane a while back, and their brand of comedy and bluegrass is just plain good for the soul! I hope you got to see them!
  • I have traveled to East Tennessee to check out the Townsend Heritage Festival and to visit with my newly-discovered sister Jan from Virginia (it was 2006, actually, when I began my search). We had a fine time getting to know each other better and touring the sights arounnd Townsend--Cade's Cove, Roaring Fork Driving Tour, the Glade's Road Craft Tour, and that heritage festival. The bluegrass music and dancing were extraordinary! We made it to the Apple Barn restaurant and gift shop. We found the Firefly Cafe, a great little spot spot to eat in Townsend. And we checked out Wood-n-Strings, the lovely dulcimer shop where the Clemmers have a fine selection of instruments of all kinds.
  • I have had serious dental surgery which sent me looking for mashed potatoes and mac-n-cheese for a few days. I'm glad that's over!
  • CEDAR HILL'S FRAYSER SHOW ON NOV. 25, 2012 CANCELED DUE TO UNFORESEEN CIRCUMSTANCES! I must tell you that Frank Ray & Cedar Hill Bluegrass are on their way to 2984 Harvester Lane, Frayser, TN, on Sunday, November 25, from 2-4 PM CST. They'll do a U-turn after that show and head to the Collins Theater in Paragould, AR, where Marty Scarbrough conducts "Bluegrass Monday" each fourth Monday. Join Frank and the gang for their fine brand of bluegrass music on November 25. It's a fine way to top off Thanksgiving weekend.
  • I guess you know by now that the Claire Lynch Band is coming to Bartlett Performing Arts & Conference Center on January 11, 2013. Claire, Matt Wingate, Bryan McDowell, and the unforgettable Mark Schatz will hit BPACC with instrumentals, vocals, and even clogging (or was that buck dancing we saw in Paragould?).
  • And then there was the dinner stage performance at BPACC by A. J. Croce, son of the legendary Jim Croce. The young man masterfully handled the guitar and the piano. He was awesome! I bought albums and I would go to see him again. He is not a bluegrass musician, but one has to stretch every now and then.
  • Thanks to 'The Auctioneer" for reminding me to update this blog.   Pick away!

Kacey Cannon & Friends -- Casey Jones Museum

Tyler and Trace Cartwright -- Casey Jones Museum

Betty and Jan in Cade's Cove in East Tennessee

Pickers at Townsend (TN) Heritage Festival

CEDAR HILL'S FRAYSER SHOW ON NOV. 25, 2012 CANCELED! Cedar Hill:  Pete Brown, Jim Bunch, Patti LaFleur, Frank Ray, Shannon Cox

Bryan McDowell, Claire Lynch, Matt Wingate (not pictured -- Mark Schatz)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Casey Jones Oldtime Music Festival Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012

     There is a dandy festival coming up soon! The Casey Jones Oldtime Music Festival will be held from 11:00a until 6:00p CDT, on Saturday, Sept. 8, 2012. The location is Casey Jones Village which surrounds the Old Country Store in Jackson, TN. Take I-40 Exit 80-A, which is also known as "the Highway 45 Bypass". Performances will be in the Casey Jones Home & Railroad Museum Theater. Admission to the theater is $5.00 each, which includes a tour of the historic Casey Jones Home & Railroad Museum. The Jackson Area Plectral Society and Casey Jones Village are the sponsors. This one is a MUST if you like good ol' festivals and food! There's plenty of both at this event!
Betcha me and my big brother here can out-pick ya!
The music stage schedule at the Casey Jones Museum Theater is as follows. Please come out and support these fine musicians. Come out any Thursday night from about 6:00 until the Old Country Store closes for the night! Unbelievable jammin' goes on out there! Fine pickers all over the parking lot! Whoo-wee!

Two scheduled bands have switched places. They are identified in RED in the schedule below:

11:00a   Open Stage
11:50a   Young Bluegrass Jam
12:35p   The Secret Society
1:20p     The Slaphappy Oldtime Stringband
2:05p    Highway 54
2:50p     Providence Road
3:35p     The Cartwright Family
4:20p     Kacey Cannon & Friends
5:05p     Jargon

For more information:
Phone: 731.668.1222

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Out of This World!

       On Monday, August 6, 2012, the United States completed a mission to send a robot device to another planet! Mars! Can you even fathom that? I thought that it was a very big deal for us to land and walk on our moon some 43 years ago. Now, we've gone into outer space and landed on Mars. Mars! Did that really happen? Yes indeed! The idea seems to be that one day the "red planet" could be inhabited by Earthlings. That won't be accomplished by this Thanksgiving, but it's definitely in the works.
       Congratulations to NASA, Johnson Space Center, the JPL, and especially to my friend Jason and his pals who contributed their efforts to the astronauts' many trips to the Space Station. It's just an incredible time to be alive. The horse-n-buggy days that my grandparents lived in seem like a very, very long time ago.
       Maybe you saw the specially designed open-face Oreo cookie that was made in honor of the Mars landing. The cookie was covered in red icing and tiny tire tracks ran across the top of the cookie! What's next?

Bluegrass content: I imagine that if you pushed the right button on the robot, it would play "Out Among The Stars" or "Vincent" (also called "Starry, Starry Night") or "Blue Moon of Kentucky," and a special cabinet would be well-stocked with...ready? Mars bars! What else?

HISTORIC NOTES: Neil Armstrong (age 82) departed this life to join his fellow astronauts 'out among the stars' on August 25, 2012. He planted the first footprint and the American flag on the moon. "One giant leap for mankind!"
Sally Ride (age 61) died July 23, 2012.
Columbia exploded February 1, 2003
Challenger exploded January 28, 1986 (Larry Rice's "Star-bound Heroes" is a fine tribute to Challenger!)
Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee died in a fire on the launch pad January 27, 1967

Remember all these 'star-bound heroes'.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Good Friends, Good Music, Good Times!

     Collierville (TN) has a delightful rehab center called Dove Rehab. What a peaceful name for a peaceful place. The County Line Old-Time Jam had an opportunity on Sunday, August 5, 2012, to play for the residents and their guests. The group has played at Dove before. In October of 2009, a group of dulcimer players gathered there to serenade their dulcimer-playing friend, Emogene Hill, who had been injured in a wreck. It's just a great feeling to visit and provide music for folks who can't get outside very often.
     The most recent visit provided the following musicians: Karl Gray, Donna Gray, Caroline Sanford, Peter Smith, Hilary Scheel, and Daniel Fleck. Along with the residents, a few onlookers sang and clapped along with the music: Carol Martindale (entertainment and recreation director at Dove Rehab), Valerie Gray (Karl and Donna's daughter), and Betty Westmoreland enjoyed their participation in the two-hour music session. See photos of the County Line Old-Time Jam below. Contact Carol Martindale if your group would like to play for the very appreciative residents at Dove Rehab.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Yonder Goes Leroy Troy and the Tennessee Mafia Jug Band

     Leroy Troy & the Tennessee Mafia Jug Band have come and gone! The Harvester Union Hall opened the doors for musicians and fans alike, and all were thoroughly entertained! Following their performance at Harvester, I hear they filled up the Collins Theatre in Paragould to standing room only. Some were even turned away at the ticket office--no more seats! How cool!

     Here are some photos of Leroy Troy and the band, along with photos of Brush Arbor Bluegrass Band. Kacey Cannon even got to jam with the Jug Band! She ought to be down off that cloud in about another week. Thanks again to the bands, the fans, the concessionaire, and Joe Taylor, who made it all possible! Look for Leroy Troy and the Tennessee Mafia Jug Band at