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Hot Corn

Hot Corn

By Wayne Erbsen Bluegrass music has jokingly been called “a celebration of pain.” It has earned this moniker because so many of the songs dwell on themes of loneliness, heartache, and death. For some bluegrass musicians, the jovial song known as Hot Corn or Hot Corn, Cold Corn offers a welcome moment of levity amidst… Read More »


Drifting Too Far From the Shore

Charles E. Moody was not your average gospel songwriter. He alone wrote both the words and the melody of two of the bedrock classics of country and bluegrass gospel, “Kneel at the Cross” and “Drifting Too Far From the Shore.” To get a handle on this man and the songs he wrote, let’s go back… Read More »


Arkansas Traveler

By Wayne Erbsen The Arkansas Traveler is one of most recognizable and popular old-time fiddle tunes played today. The tune was first printed on February 23, 1847. The skit that goes with the tune is said to go back to the 1820s, and some have credited it to Colonel Sandford C. Faulkner, who became known… Read More »

Singing Rails (book) by Wayne Erbsen

Swannanoa Tunnel

Shielded from the rest of the state by towering mountains, residents in western North Carolina longed to connect to the rail system then being rebuilt after its near destruction during the Civil War. The chief obstacle to the construction was massive Old Fort Mountain, just east of Asheville, North Carolina. The engineer chosen for the… Read More »

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