My journey in pictures

Monday, January 31, 2011

The Carter Fold and my LAST show!

Pleasant Hill band 
Great little store on the wind-y road to "The Fold"

"The Fold" filling up


John Harvey singing "Rain Please Go Away"

Better than Starbucks prices but no free wifi

Janette's Bible opened to Psalms 23
 Being the last night of what turned out to be a six month musical journey, I thought a good place to end it would be in another of music's sacred grounds or "birthplaces" seeing as I'd already been to the birthplace of jazz and the blues along my journey. The Carter Fold is the land from which in 1927, in a neighbor's borrowed car, A.P., Sara and Maybelle would make the trip from into Bristol,Tn to make the legendary 1st recordings of which some people say were the first "Modern Country Music" recordings (along with Jimmie Rodgers a few days later). This place was built and started based on a promise that Janette made to A.P. (her dad) that "she'd keep the music alive". It started in A. P.'s store next door but got too big for that really fast! Thanks to Dan Keen a few years back, we came to this special place and visited with Janette before she passed. At the time I asked her (not knowing) if she’d gone into town with the family for the recordings. From what best I can recall she said that she remembered that day clear as a bell "jumpin up and down, holdin on to that wooden gate", crying her eyes out because they wouldn't let her go into town with ‘em. I think she was only 4 years old at the time. “The Carter Fold” would also end up being the place and last concert Johnny Cash  would ever perform, 2 months before his death and not even 2 months after June had died (there's some really sad youtubes of that night: last performances). He's one of the few artists who they allowed to play electric instruments on stage.
Rita Forrester (Janette's daughter) has taken over hosting duties. (Rita clip interview) The band playing on Saturday night was the Pleasant Hill Band from Unicoi,Tennessee. They played a lot of music that the crowd could dance to like "Wildwood Flower" and "Sweet Georgia Brown". I put up JUST a little clip, cuzz you're not suppose to video there. Cloggin' clip. They all had tap's I'd guess you'd call it on their shoes that gave off a really loud "clattering" sound. Think it's called "Appalachian style clogging" or "Flat-footin'" one or the other. At the fold they play mostly "old time" country, folk and bluegrass music and MOSTLY up-tempos. It's been updated since the first time I visited. Other than the dance floor and stage staying pretty much the same, it was dirt floors with old high school bus seats of all different colors for the bleachers. Really was colorful. There's no drinking or smoking allowed and it was kinda like going to a church social. I really think that the first time I came here Janette had ONLY allowed UPtempo's but I may be wrong about that. Anyways, the crowd being mostly families went from the pretty old to the pretty young. Reminded me of the atmosphere of some of the "family" Dance Halls back in Texas like the Quihi Gun Club. The band was nothing incredible but they were solid and reminded me of a family band. Really sweet and unassuming people. Beverly playing "upright" bass would say stuff like "I want this floored filled up with every one-a-ya!" and it usually ended up being that way. There was another thing that really struck me that night, John Harvey was a innocent and sweet looking, clean cut, well dressed little 11 year boy old who played along all night and sang. Before he sang the song "Rain Please Go Away", Beverly (band leader) told the crowd that John's mother was diagnosed with cancer back in June and had since passed away just this past Christmas eve. He played right on.... and did a really great job. I guess it just hit me because I kinda traveled down a road like that of my own at 12.
I also spoke with the sweetest and really pretty lady running the merchandise stand, Flo (Nancy "Flo" Millard Wolfe). She's the oldest granddaughter of Sara and A.P.'s. She had a mischievous look when she says to me "you can remember my name by remembering F for fat, L for Lazy and O for old. She's just one of those people that that has a spark in her eyes. Here is a GREAT, GREAT clip I found online with her talking about cooking! Flo clip!
There was also a bible of Janette's laid open on a little stand to the left of the stage. The Bible was opened to Psalms 23. They say she always wanted it there. You know, there was just a LOT more there than I really have the time or ability to describe so I'll just say that it should be a pilgrimage if you love learning about the south and if you like visiting Country Music Landmarks. It's as good as they get. "Ground Zero" to some. They also have A.P.'s store and his old cabin (link) right next door and open to the public.

So there it is, I'm finished up. I'll wrap it all up this week once I can get my head around it all. Thanks again for taking the time to read my ramblings on music and other things. It was a special experience for me.


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