Monday, March 10, 2014

MARCH 6-9, 2014

     Breakin' Up Winter is a wonderful old-time string band music gathering in the hills of Middle Tennessee. Cedars of Lebanon State Park near Lebanon, TN, is the site of the annual event which is held during the first full weekend of March. The entire event is hosted by the Nashville Old-Time String Band Association (NOTSBA).
     Special guest lecturers and demonstration experts this year were as follows: Alice Gerrard, Franklin George, Alan Jabbour, George Gruhn, John Harrod, Ken Perlman, Jeff Todd Titon, Bill Mansfield, Joyce and Jim Cauthen, Martin Fisher, Bob White, Roby Cogswell, Lo Gordon, and Rick Fretter. Lisa Ingram and Betty Westmoreland held the Sunday morning hymn singing by the fireplace in Cedar Forest Lodge. 
     The name 'Breakin' Up Winter,' is derived from the old-time music song called 'Breakin' Up Christmas,' and it was 'way past time to break up winter this season. The weather was perfect for the weekend of pickin', jammin', and swapping old favorite tunes. There were great jams in the cabins all around Cedar Forest!
     Folks who attended the festival went to workshops by the pro's, they jammed indoors and out with old and new friends, and they had just a country-dog good time!
     Enjoy the photos and make a promise to yourself to visit Breakin' Up Winter 20 (the locals just call it BUW) next year. Thanks to the generosity of Todd Wright, of the Nashville Old-Time String Band Association, there will be a next year! It was tough sledding there for a while, but the festival will continue into the future! Thank you, Todd!
     Read more about the old-time string band event known as Breakin' Up Winter at
     Read more about this little 900-acre gem of a state park by googling Cedars of Lebanon State Park, Lebanon, TN. It's fascinating to see what the park has to offer! The park is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Entering Cedars of Lebanon State Park from US 231 just south of Lebanon, TN

Follow the fiddle signs to find the music

The grand old Cedar Forest Lodge built by the WPA (1925-1949)

Folk legend Alice Gerrard speaking to the attentive crowd

Alice Gerrard receiving the NOTSBA Heritage Award

These gents know their way around a banjo: Randal Morton (Memphis, TN), George Gruhn (Gruhn Guitars, Nashville), Christian Stanfield (Memphis, TN)
Clarke Buehling (AR--The Skirt Lifters), Ken Berner (AL), and Richard "Squirrel" McLain (Murfreesboro, TN-The Glade City Rounders) in an impromptu jam at Breakin' Up Winter

Couple of banjo whiz kids: Randal Morton and Buddy Ingram, Chief Ranger at Cedars of Lebanon State Park

Fiddle Workshop with Kay Justice, Alice Gerrard, and Gail Gillespie

These jammers called to mind the NPR program 'Thistle & Shamrock'
Lo Gordon's display of open-back banjos in Cedar Forest Lodge

Martin Fisher preparing the Edison-type wax cylinder recording device for his next customers

Martin Fisher and a duo recording the way it was done around the turn of the 20th century

Musicians creating their own wax-cylinder recording which Martin Fisher converts to mp3 for each customer

Equipment for a recording session on wax cylinders during late-19th and early-20th century--Old time players seeking authenticity prefer that scratchy old-time sound

To record your wax cylinder sound, contact Martin Fisher, Curator of Recorded Media Collections at the Center for Popular Music at MTSU in Murfreesboro, TN

      I hope you enjoyed your brief trip through Breakin' Up Winter! Join us next year on the first full weekend in March!
     Visit Cedars of Lebanon State Park any time of the year! It's a delightful experience for families who wish to swim, hike, ride horses, and explore the great outdoors. Find Chief Ranger Buddy Ingram and let him tell you about his discovery of an entirely unknown species of little frogs which he discovered  living in the cedar glade there in the state park. Amazing stuff!

     Pick away!

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