Monday, July 12, 2010

Smithville Fiddlers' Jamboree @Smithville Town Square (TN), July 3rd

Last weekend, we traveled down to Smithville, TN, about an hour east of Nashville for some family-related fun. Our trip coincided with the 39th annual Smithville Fiddler's Jamboree, a two-day bluegrass country music festival in which musicians and dancers from across the region squared off against each other in judged competition in numerous categories, culminating in some eventual winners. We arrived at the Town Square in time for the last few hours of the jamboree, so we got to witness some of the finest banjo-pickin' and strummin' that side of the Mississippi, or something like that.

(More words and pics after the jump.)

It was a hoot hearing this kind of music, as it really put us in the mood for our trip. This was the real deal, folks, in a small southern town in the U.S. of A. When we first got there, we checked out some of the local crafts and ran into a number of people who knew our hosts. We also got to see a number of the musician groups practicing quietly behind the square under the trees in the dark. They were nervous with excitement, as their performances were being broadcast live on the local public television channel, and there were money prizes on the line and the glory of being champion till next year's Jamboree.

Our gracious hosts confessed that in all their years living in the area, they had not really spent any time sitting and watching the competition, but that our visit finally afforded them the excuse to do so. And when the heck else are ya ever gonna see a woman playing a upright washtub? So awesome.


Earlier in the day, Bestest Boy and I decided to hit downtown Nashville for a spell and upon the recommendation of a few, visited the Country Music Hall of Fame, even though neither of us particularly cares about that genre of music a whole lot. To our surprise, we easily spent three hours there, as it is an excellently designed museum with a lot of well-presented material, covering both the audio and visual, with plenty to watch, read and see. Anyone who appreciates music and wants to know more about the roots of American music should visit this joint. Currently, there is an extensive exhibit on Hank Williams' short life and his son, Hank Jr. and his progeny. I especially liked the video footage documenting Loretta Lynn's song, "The Pill" and seeing many colorful costumes, some of which I photographed on my cell phone and placed below.

Porter Wagoner's "Nudie" Suit and guitar

Dolly Parton and Porter Wagoner

Handwritten lyrics to "Jolene" by Dolly Parton

Gram Parsons' "Nudie" Suit

Dolly Parton's Hall of Fame Plaque

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