Appalachia Appalachia Through My Eyes

Appalachia Through My Eyes – A Porch Full Of Music

My life in appalachia - Music on The Porch
One of the stereotypes that Appalachians are often labeled with is- we all have the music making gene. Of course not all of us do. But in my life experience-there has been much music. Not just from my family.

As I look back to childhood and note the close friends I had-there was music in their families too. One friend-her mother plays the piano-her father loved to sing in the choir. Another-her Mother loved to sing in the choir and played the hand-bells as well. Yet another friend’s stepfather played the drums.

Of course if I believed any of the above was relegated to Appalachia alone-I’d be buying into the stereotypes too. Music is loved and played by many across this wide world. But I am thankful my life and my front porch is full of tunes on a daily basis.

I listen to all sorts of music as I drive about my way. At the moment my favorite tune is Sandy Boys-you can hear a version of it by going here. But the version I’m in love with is by Brasstown’s own Dog Branch Cats.

So what’s your current favorite song?


Appalachia Through My Eyes – A series of photographs from my life in Southern Appalachia.


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  • Reply
    August 19, 2011 at 8:09 pm

    Recently I’ve been digging on Jerry Reed’s, Amos Moses. I found the CD recently cheap and I am wearing it out quickly. LOL

  • Reply
    kenneth o. hoffman
    August 18, 2011 at 11:56 pm

    Tipper: hello, i love these blogs about our favorite music, mine has never changed ,bluegrass gospel. my father sang it with his brothers from hazel creek to sedro woolley wa.the last week of his life was special because he ask me to play bill monroe, ralph stanley ,and carl story.he had a big smile on the way out. god bless those giants of our favorite music.thanks for the fun. k.o.h .

  • Reply
    Janet Smart
    August 18, 2011 at 10:33 pm

    I think every family is blessed with musicians. My husband had some uncles that sat out on the porch and played the banjo and I have a cousin that is the best piano player I’ve heard. There is a bluegrass playing family in our area that are the greatest. I don’t think there is any instrument that they can’t play.

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    August 18, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    PS: Tipper,
    I forgot to tell you what I musically inclined to play…the Piano.. a little bit…
    the Ukulele…a little bit…
    the Drums…a little bit….
    And the radio with the genius expertise or in otherwords a lot…ha
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    August 18, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    Hey we’ve been out and about today and had the radio on the oldies station…so now I have simmin’ around in my head..”United We Stand” by The Brotherhood of Man…always loved that oldie…
    Now then we are off tomorrow for the opening of the Barbque and Bluegrass festival at Dollywood..and to see good old Ricky Skaggs kick it off…Love him too…Then next week we love a little western with our country so we will be back to see Riders in Sky…and try to get in as many bluegrass bands as we can ..we usually make several trips there..In the interium we will chow down on barbque…ha..
    Next will be the Gospel and Craft festival so we will be there to see and hear our favorite local gospel group The McKameys…and all others we can work in while there..of course take in the crafts to…by that time I will have bluegrass and gospel spinnin’ in my head and probably some more cds. to listen to on eht way home…Wish you all were going to be there pickin’ and grinnin’ you folks are certainly good enough….
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    August 18, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    We children all grew up around the piano with Daddy on the guitar and mom on the harmonica. We loved it! Music was such a part of our lives at home and in church. Our church was known counties away for the talent the Lord blessed us with. I hear the sweet voices of my parents only in memory now. How I would love to sing with them again. As much as I miss them, I wouldn’t bring them back here. I’ll just wait til I join them in Heaven and we won’t be in any hurry.

  • Reply
    August 18, 2011 at 1:49 pm

    I, too listen to all types of music. One of my favorites is
    Our Town…by Iris Dement, but
    Paul and Pap have that something
    special when they have the Blind
    Pig gang behind them. And I love
    Chatter’s lead and Chitter’s
    harmony in the song “On Heaven’s
    Bright Shore.” They can really do
    some cloggin’ too…Ken

  • Reply
    August 18, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    Music is such a personal expression for everyone… the Bible says to ‘make a joyful noise,’ some sound good, some not so much, but everyone can sound joyful!

  • Reply
    Sheila Bergeron
    August 18, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    Well I have two favorites-Molly Bawn by Alison Krause and Chieftains and the first Glory Mountain by your girls.(it helped me with Daddy’s passing. I’ve always had music too. It seems like it goes through my very being; deep down in my soul.

  • Reply
    August 18, 2011 at 9:45 am

    I love nearly all kinds of music but am partial to the country kind that my Mom’s family used to play. Nearly everyone joined in (except me) including my sis and bro. Everyone played something and sang and one aunt could yodel like all get out! Your music here is very reminiscent of their music. Today our daughter and her 4 girls live with us and everyone but grandma sings or plays. The rest of our children and grandchildren do as well. I get to enjoy hearing them all.

  • Reply
    August 18, 2011 at 9:44 am

    Music feeds the soul. My family was blessed with good singing voices and all of them loved and preferred gospel music. My favorite is bluegrass gospel but I like and appreciate other styles of music as well.

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    August 18, 2011 at 9:28 am

    Music has been the richest blessing I know of on this earth. It has been a wonderful hobby/avocation. My mom was a wonderful pianist. She was legally blind and after 7 years of piano lessons, her piano teacher never discovered that she could not read the music! Her piano teacher would always play the music before asking Mom to play. Mom could hear a piece of music ONE TIME and she had it. Wish I had inherited that gift.
    Current favorite groups are the Chapmans and Steep Canyon Rangers

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    August 18, 2011 at 9:14 am

    Tipper–When you said not all us folks from the high country have the music gene, did you ever speak a mouthful! The genetic trait is in my family, and in abundance. My daughter has a first-rate voice and san professionally for a time as well as helping put herself through college with a voice scholarship; my sister has a fine voice and has played various instruments; Don sings and fools around with various instruments and one of his boys is exceptionally talented (working on a Ph. D. in clarinet); and it appears my granddaughter has real promise. Then there’s me–can’t carry a tune, was told in the 5th grade after three days that playing an instrument wasn’t for me, and in general am best hidden under a pickle barrel when music is involved.
    That being said, I’m a great listener and grinner, and I reckon I could hold my own in terms of remembering lyrics with most anyone.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    Ray P. Algee
    August 18, 2011 at 9:06 am

    Tipper, I just came back from the Ola Belle Reed Festival in Lansing, N.C. I have a favorite that I heard there called, “The Boys in Hats and Ties.” It was written by Tom T. and Dixie Hall and recorded by: The Big Country Bluegrass Band. A typical Tom T. ballad based on the first time as a kid he got to see Flatt and Scruggs – made a big impression on him.

  • Reply
    August 18, 2011 at 9:02 am

    how fun to just have music available right on your porch! growing up there was some guys that lived down the street and they were in a band and would practice in their garage and we’d all stand in their driveway and watch them play. my husband used to have some friends in a band too and we’d go watch them practice. we also like to get out and listen to live music when we get the chance.
    current fave song? can’t think of one right now, your music player is in my head lol

  • Reply
    August 18, 2011 at 8:47 am

    Right now I like Zac Brown Band. Locally there is the “Martin Family” a family that had been Mennonite and left the community. They play great bluegrass, google them. And please don’t kick me out of here, but sometime I like to watch lady Gaga, maybe like is ba better word than listen.

  • Reply
    B f
    August 18, 2011 at 8:39 am

    back to blackberries
    of course you cant remember picking them for a few cents a gallon and being eaten alive with chiggers/ticks etc . and now they are $12.00 a gallon in our location . now i ask you is that bad or what?
    i enjoy all your writings

  • Reply
    Uncle Al
    August 18, 2011 at 7:54 am

    On my mama’s side of the family there are many muscians including my mama, mostly piano, but one accordion that I know of. Unfortunately, those “genes” must not have fallen in my direction. Although I have several musical instruments, I can’t really play any of them well. I do love my dulcimer and suppose lessons would be helpful, but its so hard to find time. I’m still hoping to sit on the back porch one day and play a tune though.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    August 18, 2011 at 7:50 am

    I did not grow up with music of any kind. I guess that’s why I am so taken with your family and all their music. Hearing you and my granddaughters sing and play warms my heart. It’s more than the music it’s self. I think it is the coming together to create something that soothes the soul!

  • Reply
    August 18, 2011 at 7:31 am

    Ralf-I’m still amazed with the perfection of Paul’s version of Fergus County Jail. It is still one of my all time favorite songs!
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    August 18, 2011 at 7:24 am

    My favorite song since one year is Fergus County Jail by the Blind Pig Family. And i still like it!

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