Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Time for "Breakin' Up Winter"

     According to the calendar, winter is less than a month old! Whaaaat? We in the South have experienced ice storms, snow, heavy rain, and frigid temperatures already. We've ordered firewood, we've had damaged trees and limbs that we dragged to the street for pickup by the brush crew, we're freezing around here...and we think it's time to 'break up winter'.  

Jammers beside the Cedar Forest Lodge at Breakin' Up Winter (Mike Albert, top step)
That said, you need to know that BREAKIN' UP WINTER is an actual old-time music festival which is held annually at CEDARS OF LEBANON STATE PARK in Lebanon, TN. The music is seriously old-time and it's played in the old-time way. It is not bluegrass music...there are plenty of bluegrass festivals around. No, this is all old-time all the time. It kicks off on Thursday, March 6, 2014, with an open jam in the big stone Cedar Forest Lodge which was built by the Works Progress Adminstration (WPA). The enormous  fireplace in the lodge is always going, which adds to the atmosphere! The weekend of old-time music ends with Sunday Morning Hymn Singin' on March 9. Learn more about the area in and around the park with a Google of Cedars of Lebanon State Park.

Jammin' at the Ranger's Residence
"Please join us for our 19th festival [March 6-9, 2014]. We have many activities centered around old-time string band music and a wonderful state park in which to stretch out. There are no contests, but you will stay entertained and [continue] playing."

     Cedars of Lebanon State Park is located off I-40 in Middle Tennessee at Exit 238. That exit connects you to US 231. You should go south for six miles in the direction of Murfreesboro, TN. Down the road, you pass the ever-present outdoor flea market. Quickly now! Look left for the gates at the entrance of Cedars of Lebanon State Park. Enter and follow the fiddle signs to the location where you pick up registration materials and begin to have a real old-time music experience.
This way to Breakin' Up Winter
 Food and lodging in the park can be arranged when you contact the NOTSBA website www.nashvilleoldtime.org. Do this early, as caterers (The Mad Platter) and park personnel need to know if you plan to stay in the park (reservations required) and eat your meals there. Other than that, there are fine motels and restaurants near I-40 at Exit 238.

Group Participation with Hazel Dickens (now deceased)

Vendors: John Hatton's CLEFF'D EAR has everything you could possibly want in the way of albums, CDs, sheet music, music books, and more. LO GORDON has a music store in North Carolina, and he brings banjos for sale. MARTIN FISHER has equipment to record your sound on wax cylinders, which is how it was done before the 20th century began.
William See and Josh Smith jammin'

2014 Breakin' Up Winter  Presenters: ALICE GERRARD (2014 Heritage Award winner and whose performing partner was the late HAZEL DICKENS), FRANKLIN GEORGE (West Virginia music historian), ALAN JABBOUR (Former director of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress), GEORGE GRUHN (Gruhn Guitars, Nashville), JOHN HARROD (Governor's Award in the Arts and Folk Heritage in Kentucky), KEN PERLMAN (Melodic clawhammer banjo pioneer), JOYCE AND JIM CAUTHEN (Members of the Red Mountain White Trash, an Alabama stringband), MARTIN FISHER, JEFF TODD TITON (Professor of ethnomusicology at Brown University, retired), BOB WHITE (Fretted and fretless clawhammer style musician), BILL MANSFIELD (master of the Round Peak Style, influenced by Fred Cockerham and Tommy Jarrell), LISA INGRAM and BETTY WESTMORELAND (Cousins who lead Sunday morning hymn singing: Lisa is a member of the Gallinippers stringband and Betty is a blogger about bluegrass and old-time music), ROBY COGSWELL (Director of Folklife for the Tennessee Arts Commission and well versed in the ways of old-time music).
Roby Cogswell, Director of Folklife, TN Arts Commission

Lee Cagle and friends working on clawhammer style

You will have a country-dog good time at Breakin' Up Winter!
For more information about Breakin' Up Winter: www.nashvilleoldtime.org/BUW

We hope to see YOU there! If you've never been to Breakin' Up Winter, you need to go this year!

Pick away and be sure to make it old-time this time!


Saturday, December 28, 2013

Claire Lynch Scores Big on
Bluegrass Unlimited National Bluegrass Survey
January 2014 Issue

Claire Lynch photo courtesy of Lee Cagle
     The three-time IBMA Female Vocalist of the Year for 2013 is still gathering honors. Our congratulations to CLAIRE LYNCH for moving up the charts with DEAR SISTER, from 18th to the 12th spot in the survey in the January 2014 issue of "Bluegrass Unlimited". The songwriters are LOUISA BRANSCOMB and Claire Lynch. The song is on the DEAR SISTER album, Compass #4610.

     LEE MICHAEL DEMSEY (Bluegrass Country on WAMU's 105.5 FM and HD Radio 88.5 Channel 2 in the Washington, D.C. area) ranks the Top 15 Bluegrass Albums in "Bluegrass Unlimited". Lee ranks DEAR SISTER at number 7 in the January 2014 issue. The Top 15 albums are based on the overall number of votes received by individual songs from an album.

Nice work, Claire, Louisa, and the entire Claire Lynch Band!

For more information and the touring schedule: http://www.clairelynch.com   

Pick away!

*Note: Go to http://www.valleyarts.org/court-square-theater and scroll down to January 23, 2014, The Claire Lynch Band. There you will find a short promo video with great samples of music from the Claire Lynch Band. It's like a mini-concert right there on your computer!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Memories of the Lucy Opry
May 8, 2010

       Has it really been almost four years since we lost top-quality bluegrass music at the Bartlett Performing Arts & Conference Center? Interest among the locals waned, crowds got smaller and smaller, and finally it was just over. We thought on this Christmas Day 2013, that you might like to see some pictures from that final Lucy Opry show featuring Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out.

Doug Cole guitar: a gift to Russell Moore

Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out

Russell Moore

Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out, Beth Mays, Craig Yarbrough

Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out with Beth Mays, James & Paulette Johnson, Craig Yarbrough, Will Mays, Larry Bomar

Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out, Beth Mays, James & Paulette Johnson, Craig Yarbrough, Will Mays, Larry Bomar

Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out, James & Paulette Johnson, Will Mays, Gary Pierce, Larry Bomar

Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out, James Johnson, Will Mays, Gary Pierce, Beth Mays

Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out, Will Mays Gary Pierce, Beth Mays, Larry Bomar

Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out, Will Mays, Gary Pierce, Beth Mays

Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out, Beth Mays, Linda Pierce, Gary Pierce

Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out, Paulette & James Johnson, Linda Pierce, Gary Pierce, Beth Mays

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Collierville BG-OT Jammers Celebrate the Christmas Season!
Photos at UMC Common Cup Coffee Shop
December 20, 2013

L to R: Gail, Elizabeth, Gerald Goforth, Kacey Cannon, Bobby Williams, Frank McDermott, Arn Vertrea, Jeff Tallant, Peter Smith, and unidentified young guitarist

L to R: Martha Miller, Maggie Cannon, Marilyn Graves

Orion Osborne and Melissa Cannon

Randy Cannon and Coley Graves

L to R: Bruce White, Judy Brown, Larry Cap, Victoria Johnson, Danny Autry, Ms.  Noble, Marshall Brown

Bruce White on upright bass

Bruce White on bass, Larry Cap on flute, Marshall Brown, Judy Brown in foreground

L to R: Maggie Cannon, Melissa Cannon, Zeke Andre, and a host of others

Some jammers and some fans

L to R: unidentified guitarist, Gerald Goforth, Kacey Cannon, Bobby Williams, Randy Cannon, Maggie Cannon, Jerry Wallace behind counter, Frank McDermott, Jeff Tallant, and Peter Smith

Monroe Jones, Sherry Knight, Sam Knight and friends on a 'mission' in the Missions Room

Sam Knight just happy to be pickin'

David and Harvey Hardaway with Sherry Knight and Monroe Jones

Sherry Knight and Monroe Jones

We are on a mission to please our fans

The jam will be closed on December 27. We will be back in action at the regular time (6:30-9:00 pm Central) on January 3, 2014.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year from the Collierville Bluegrass & Old-Time Music Jam!

Pick away!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Caroling in the Caverns 
Blanchard Springs, AR 
December 14, 2013

     This is the Visitors Center at Blanchard Springs in Northeast Arkansas. On a recent trip to Mountain View, Arkansas, we took in Caroling in the Caverns, which takes place 216 feet below the Visitors Center. It's a must-do at the Christmas season. A brief elevator ride takes a visitor down to an entirely different world, where special lighting among the formations casts a magic spell and wonderful singers complete the magic with Christmas songs and carols. It's fairyland down there! It took a mere 70 million years, give or take a few millennia, to produce such natural beauty. Mother Nature really showed out in Blanchard Caverns.

Stalactites/Stalagmites and audience being seated for Caroling in the Caverns

     We were issued cushions to sit on in the bleachers down in the caverns. It's rather damp in a cave. Before we headed down to the caverns and the music, we heard the park ranger's speech about white-nose syndrome among bat populations throughout the country. If we had been inside a cave since the year 2000, we needed to decontaminate our shoes. The State of Arkansas is making every effort to keep the syndrome, which is fatal to bats, out of the caverns. So far, so good. The caverns are dark except for the lighting around the formations. Suddenly, there is the music of the season! One is surrounded by incredible beauty, and a group of fine singers and musicians provides the perfect mood for fans who have gathered on the bleachers.

     Carolers dressed in seasonal splendor strolled in from somewhere behind the bleachers and the scene was set. Behind and beside the carolers were the lighted formations. The following musicians entertained us with delightful Christmas music: Robert Gillihan (mandolin, vocals), Mary Gillihan (vocals), Marion Spear (vocals), group leader Pam Setser (guitar, dulcimer, spoons, vocals) Pati Long (vocals), Ron Haynes (guitar, vocals), and Abby Spinks (vocals). Not only was their music wonderful, they also did a masterful job in moving around in darkness and on a damp cavern floor. The singers moved left, then right, then center somewhere under our bleachers delighting us with their music in the acoustically-perfect cavern room.

L to R: Ron Haynes, Pati Long, Pam Setser, Marion Spear, Mary Gillihan, Robert Gillihan, Abby Spinks

     The carolers selected the following songs: Angels We Have Heard on High; Beautiful Star of Bethlehem; Little Drummer Boy; It Came Upon a Midnight Clear; Just an Ordinary Day; Do You Hear What I Hear; O Holy Night; Silent Night; Away in a Manger; Hark! The Herald Angels Sing; Mary, Did You Know; There He Is (solo by Abby Spinks); Joy to the World, God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen; Neighbors (a Charlie Sandage song); 12 Days of Christmas (Ozark style); Let It Snow; Jingle Bells; I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas; Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas; In the Bleak Midwinter; Go Tell It on the Mountain; and Silent Night.

     This writer recommends a weekend in the Ozarks any time you can get away, especially for Caroling in the Caverns. In addition, the Mountain View Area Chamber of Commerce hosts Cupid in the Caverns (Feb. 14-15, 2014) and Celtic in the Caverns (March 15-16, 2014). Shows are generally at 2:30 and 4:30 pm (Central). There are good hotels, motels, and B-and-B's in Mountain View, AR. Splendid restaurants will suit just about every taste.

For more information:
Web: http://www.YourPlaceintheMountains.com
E-mail: mvchamber@mvtel.net
Mountain View Area Chamber of Commerce: Phone (Tickets/Info): 870.269.8068
Toll Free: 888.679.2859