Appalachian music has always held a strange grip on me since the earliest times hearing it in the 1960s.
I have never been able to explain the attraction that is obviously different from my attraction to other types of music except to say that it must be in my blood somehow. The sound of a banjo and fiddle combined almost always evokes chills and an adrenaline rush regardless of the number of times the song has played.
The twanging voices and high-lonesome tenor paired with a thumping bass evokes mental pictures of mountain people with whom I share blood, and a Scotts-Irish heritage with which I share an ethos.
The harmonies, stories and energy built into the music evoke images of woodlands crossed, cabins hewn and mountain terraces tilled by ancestors.
These ancestors were hard-working, spiritual people, careful with their money and persistent with their efforts. Some were undoubtedly also makers of white liquor.
Many of my friends and family are not so entranced by the sounds and vibrations of this mountain music. For instance, my wife, the tall, blonde, Wisconsin dairy farmer’s daughter who (she reminds me with pride) is 100 percent German.
She is a lover of Rock and Roll, Blues and Soul, with a particular appreciation for the growling, mellow basses of Barry White.
She finds the high-lonesome sound and Appalachian harmonies – TOO TWANGY OOOHHH. The beat and other instrumental rhythms are too repetitive for her ears.
She does seem to like my voice, however. When I say, “Yes, darling,” seems to go over quite well.
Alternately, her son, my step-son, appreciates mountain music quite well. He also has some Appalachian heritage, so perhaps the Scotts-Irish blood dominates in the realm of fiddle music. Perhaps Noah’s appreciation for mountain music supports my theory of genetics, or perhaps Noah just enjoys irritating his mother.
In any regard, you have a chance, if you like Mountain Music, Old Time or Bluegrass, to hear some good renditions at one event and to learn an instrument at another.
Pickens Founders Day activities will feature lots of Mountain music Sept. 14.
As for the lessons, here are the details.
Appalachian music lessons offered for youth and adults enrollment is now underway for
The next session of the Evening Music Program will begin the week of Sept. 9. This program is open to all ages (third grade through adults) and is designed to teach students to play Appalachian music with acoustic instruments.
Instruments include guitar, mandolin, fiddle, and banjo. The six-week sessions will be held at the following locations: 1. Easley First Baptist Church in Easley (Tuesday nights) 2. Pickens Senior Center (Monday and Thursday nights) 3. Saint Paul United Methodist Church, downtown Greenville (Thursday nights) 4. Clemson (new location and day to be determined) The cost is $60 per six-week session and instrument rental is available for $25 per six-week session.
The enrollment period is from Aug. 26 through Sept. 12. Anyone interested in signing up for these sessions should contact one of the following program directors:
Easley & Greenville: Susan Ware-Snow (864 979-9188 or firstname.lastname@example.org), * Pickens: Steve McGaha (864 283-4871 or email@example.com), or * Clemson: Ryan Wilson (864 360-4763 or firstname.lastname@example.org). The Evening Music Program is sponsored by Preserving Our Southern Appalachian Music Inc. (POSAM), a charitable non-profit organization. For more information on the Young Appalachian Musicians (YAM) program, visit www.YAMupstate.com, Facebook: “YAM (Young Appalachian Musicians”, call (864) 878-4257 or e-mail email@example.com.