Country Music Roots in Middle Tennessee – Hawthorn Hill State Historic Site

In the days of tearing down historic sites, toppling historic statues and trying to rewrite history, it was so fulfilling to come together and dedicate the birthplace and boyhood home of Doctor Humphrey Bate, founder of The Possum Hunters and first String Band to broadcast, in 1925, on what was then called the “Hayride”, before the name was changed to “Grand Ole Opry” in 1927. We had a great turnout, with some of the Bate … CONTINUE READING

Staley Walton, the first guitar player on the Opry

  The old man was cold, on this December day, even in his long johns and wool socks, under his old bib overalls, he just couldn’t seem to get warm anymore. His old house, which started out being a log cabin that somebody built back before the War For Southern Independence, had been closed in with rough cut lumber, through the years, but the cold wind still found the holes and cracks, and sometimes, of … CONTINUE READING

Rewind Back To The 40’s…

Mom’s family was a combination of Johnson and Wallis.  The Wallis kin came from the Tennessee hills, moving to Indian Territory in what is now Boone County, Arkansas in the mid 1800’s.   The Wallis’s homesteaded on top of Boat Mountain, clearing the trees with a cross cut saw, hewing the logs to build the log cabins.  The cabins were pretty rough stuff, and usually started out being one room, and as the family grew and … CONTINUE READING

Wars And Honky Tonks….

Classic Country Music started on front porches and under shade trees in mountain  people’s yards, just like the gut bucket blues of the Delta, and old time gospel in the backwoods churches. It was what those old timers did for entertainment of their families and neighbors.  In the Western regions, it was cowboys sitting around a campfire by the chuck wagon, telling stories and singing songs they made up.  That is why, for many years, … CONTINUE READING

Must Not Like Trains…..

May 3rd, 1968, my son Stan 2nd had been born in Nashville’s St. Thomas Hospital the day before. Jimmy Capps and I had just finished our morning television show and Jimmy was coming with me to the Hospital to see the baby boy. On the way, we stopped at a toy shop and I purchased an electric train set. I dunno about you, but it just seemed like the thing to do at the time. … CONTINUE READING