Blue Grass In the Smokies 

There are many facets of  Appalachia that I love - the people, the culture, the food - but  the one piece that  is closest to my heart is the music. Appalachian music is the heart of who we are as a people, and blue grass in particular has been the pulse that drives our churches, reunions, events, festivals, and social gatherings.  

I come from a family rich with musical talents and abilities. My mother's kin folk are all from Tennessee, and we grew up singing gospel and blue grass, pickin' and fiddlin' on the front porch and at social gatherings. I guess it shouldn't come as a surpise then that Dolly Parton is my eighth cousin on my mom's side, although I've never had the privilege of meeting her. My great grandmother, Pauline Rowland, could play the piano something fierce, and my grandmother, Jean Sparks Thomas, took after her doing the same. When you hear Nanny play, you can't help but hear that old southern gospel beat in every note. It isn't like the piano playing you hear now days, but rather a lost art. The notes have sort of an upbeat to them that you just don't find reading sheet music. It's one of the parts of her piano playing that I love the most. 

My mom, Pam Turner, and all of her siblings play the piano or guitar and sing. My brother and father both play and write their own music. Some of my fondest memories as a child was when we would gather around the piano and sing southern gospel. At my grandmother's last birthday, we revived that tradition, as you see below. If you could only hear us sing "That Deep Settle Pace." Not to brag, but the harmony our family is able to obtain is something you can only reproduce when you sing with family. 

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One of the great parts about Pigeon Forge is that they have found a way to preserve these older traditions, and there are countless opportunities for you to become a part of Appalachian culture when you visit.  Whether it's DollyWood, a local show, an event or festival, you can find venues in which to listen to 'that old time music', everything from southern gospel to blue grass. 

On June 30th, The Blue Grass Opry at Smoky Mountain Guitars will feature Nick Chandler & Delivered (Bluegrass Gospel) at 8pm. For a sampling of their music, click on the link below. For additional blue grass events, groups, and festivals in the area, go to My Pigeon Forge. This is one part of Pigeon Forge that you don't want to miss. 


 

Timothy & Jennifer Lynn - jtlives4jc@hotmail.com - 828-318-7241