- John Rice Irwin - the Author
- John Rice Irwin is an accomplished
author. His latest project is titled "The Story Behind the Story of
Country Music." (tentatively scheduled for bookstores in October 1999)
This publication contains information on 6-8 individuals, or performing
groups involved in early traditional music of the southern Appalachians.
- As Irwin recounts, "I am focusing on a few individuals involved
in early traditional music and want to do a story on their lives, what
they did, what influences they had. For example, Earl Scruggs - when he
started out on the farm - his daddy died when he was four years old. His
mother didn't even own the farm. They had forty acres they lived on and
Earl started working in the textile mills when he was fifteen, maybe sixteen.
He worked twelve hours a day."
- "I'm finishing a chapter on Grandpa Jones. And then I'm doing
one on an old gentleman named Bob Douglas - born in 1900 - and that makes
him ninety-nine years old. He lived down in the Cumberland Mountains. He
got his first pair of shoes when he was eight years old. He learned to
play the fiddle and won contests all over the U.S."
- Irwin further emphasizes, "There is a pattern here. Everyone of
the people I've interviewed had no encouragement - no one to say, 'Now
you need to practice.' We should learn something from that."
- Others to be included in this text will include Bashful Brother Oswald,
Mac Wiseman, Raymond Fairchild, the Carters, and possibly the Parton family.
His goal is to look at the lives - where did their influences come from?
And finally, how did the small geographic region surrounding East Tennessee
become a focal point for early music?
- In Conclusion
- If you have an interest in the heritage and culture of the Southern
Appalachians and/or you just enjoy authentic music of the Southern mountains,
you can't go wrong with a road trip to Norris, Tennessee, and a visit with
John Rice Irwin. There is something for you at the Museum of Appalachia.
The Tennessee Fall Homecoming is held the 2nd full week of October each
year and includes an all star lineup of bluegrass performers. 1999 highlighted
Ricky Skaggs, Dr. Ralph Stanley, Mac Wiseman, Doyle Lawson, and John Hartford
among others. Earl Scruggs is scheduled to headline the 2000 edition. So
check that calendar and hit the road. You won't be disappointed.
- Click HERE
for more information on the Museum of Appalachia.
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