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Mountain Music

Gravel crunches underfoot as you make your way down the tree-lined lane to the old farmhouse. A few plank steps lead to the narrow porch with a row of straight backed chairs lining the wall, and with the day’s work done, some neighbors are gathering to take part in the evening’s entertainment. Freshly laundered bib overalls, a suit coat and work shirt buttoned to the top provide traditional evening wear for several of the participants. Already you can hear the sweet sound of a fiddle, the soft clucking of an old banjo, and a pleasing blend of high-pitched untrained voices repeating verses of tunes passed down to them from generations past. As the musicians grow more comfortable and the tempo of the music becomes more spirited, one of the group may lay down his instrument and perform an impromptu dance, making the old floor boards creak with his clogging feet. Scenes similar to this one were common throughout the Appalachian hills and hollows during the early Nineteenth Century and the tradition is kept alive even today in some mountain communities. I think it is one of the most enjoyable forms of music and expression that this country has known.