Just across the state line from Devil’s Fork Gap, in the extreme northwestern part of North Carolina, is the village of Flag Pond, Tennessee. Still dotted with rugged mountain farms, it was not many years ago that rutted-out roads kept out all but the most persistent travelers from crossing the mountain to reach towns like… Read More »
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They call him “The Old Man of the Mountains.” At the spry age of forty two, that makes Raymond Fairchild a rather youthful “old man.” No matter. The mountains can age you before your time and Raymond has lived far enough back in the Smoky Mountains to be several generations old by now. This man,… Read More »
It all started with mama. It seemed like she could make music on about anything with strings on it and some things that didn’t, like the french harp. There never was enough time for mama to play, what with raising six rambunctious sons. But often on Saturday night she would put her work aside and… Read More »
In the Summer of 1949 a shy boy of eighteen rode up to Bristol, Virginia for his first professional job as a fiddle player. Behind the steering wheel was a man in his early twenties who had encouraged the boy’s music from the start. The older man’s name was George Shuffler.
It’s a long drive from Raleigh, North Carolina to Nashville, Tennessee. Before Interstate 40 was cut through North Carolina, driving west from Raleigh meant winding through such towns as Siler City, Mocksville, Statesville, Hickory, and Old Fort. Bill Monroe is no stranger to that road. In the forty odd years he has been performing, he… Read More »
By Wayne Erbsen On March 9, 1919, a doctor rode his horse-drawn buggy through the hills of northwest Georgia to the home of Ben and Effie Davis. He was summoned because Effie was about to have a baby. By the time the Doc had left, Effie and John were the proud parents of a healthy… Read More »
Since the movie O Brother came out in 2000, bluegrass music has had a new burst of popularity. This is a strange phenomenon because by its truest definition, there was very little music in the film that could be honestly be called “bluegrass.” To try to clear this up, let’s back up and explain what… Read More »
Western North Carolina has long been fertile ground for the growth of bluegrass music. In fact, no other region or state has contributed so much to its development.