Almost more than the crookedly winding rivers, the quiet people, the craggy mountains or the rain splashing off a cabin roof into the strategically placed barrel – it’s the music that makes me most at home here in Tulee Main’s Tyson County.
Over the past few weeks, we’ve spent a lot of time on different subjects, some of which have touched hard on the ‘bad stuff’ – meth and murder and so forth. Today, let’s pay a few moment’s attention to Luke Greever -
“. . . Lord, don’t you just live for days like this, Boys!”
Luke and his buddies have just pulled into a quiet, favored spot on the New River for a few days of fishing and music. They’ll fish early in the morning and play ’til late night-time at first. On day two, the hardiest will be up early. As time goes on, the singing and playing may take over the night more completely and continue later. Bass, fiddle, guitar, maybe a banjo or mandolin, are likely to crowd out the fish.
I didn’t – was feeling a little under the weather – but last Friday I could have gone up to the Creeper Trail Cafe in Taylor’s Valley, had a great meal and listened to hours of country, blue grass and gospel music. There were surely five or six guitars, a bass, maybe a fiddle (there often is and the man can work magic with it), certainly Linda was there with her beautiful banjo, perhaps there was another, one or two mandolins and folks taking turns singing.
Saturday I could have dropped into Morefield’s store and heard many of the same folk. Monday, I think is the jam at Chilhowie – I only get there infrequently, Tuesday is the night to be over in Sparta for all manner of music, there’s another just outside Lansing – mostly older, quieter music and the list goes on.
There’s probably not a night that people here aren’t singing or playing for their own enjoyment and that of their neighbors. It’s not a career attempt or a profit-making thing, it’s just to have a good time and to enjoy life.
Most of the folk spend a considerable amount of time during the rest of the week - just getting together once in awhile and practicing what they’re going to play. The practice shows. These folk casually show up where ever the music’s being played, mutter a little over the past few days news, crack a couple of corny jokes and then play gorgeous, complex waves of country harmony written sometimes recently, sometimes generations ago.
This isn’t TV or big stage stuff, this is the real world of people who love their music and their neighbors.
It’s good. If you ever have the time, get away from the publicity and the lights and try it out.
Comment at will
(This post is intended to complement the narrative and views expressed in “The Passing of Tulee Main”. To learn more about the book, press the ‘Main Site Home Page’ link at the top of this post. (Beyond the on-site material there, the Nook, Kindle and Amazon links have sample chapters available to view.)