Appalachia Cataloochee Chatter and Chitter Music

The Blind Pig Family Goes Back In Time

Yesterday morning the Blind Pig family was up bright and early-4:00 AM. Why so early? We had a special trip to make.

A few months ago, Don Casada, sent me a music clip of him singing in the Little Cataloochee Baptist Church (which is part of the Smoky Mountain National Park). He wanted me to hear the acoustical sound the old church has-Don also had a suggestion for me. He thought the church would be a perfect place for the Blind Pig bunch to record a song or two. The only problem being-you have to walk 2 miles each way to reach the church. With Pap’s recent heart issues-walking that far was out of the question for him, but Chitter and Chatter were up for the hike and excited about singing in the church.

I assumed the girls would sing acapella, but from the beginning-Chatter was adamant she was going to take her guitar. She heeded none of our warnings about how hard it would be to carry a guitar that far.

Along the way we visited the Hannah Cabin;

seen traces of the folks who used to live in the area like this old gate post within a row of locust fence posts;

we visited 2 cemeteries to read the epitaphs and wonder at the strong people who once called Cataloochee home;

we watched a gully washer of a rain from inside the top of an old barn (thank goodness the guitar was safely back in the car by then);

and most of all we enjoyed a day filled with great camaraderie among friends. So was it worth carrying the guitar up hill and down for all those miles? I’m pretty sure we all agree it was!

In the coming weeks I’ll have a real treat for you-a video of the girls doing an outstanding performance of an old ballad filmed inside the Little Cataloochee Baptist Church. I promise it’ll be worth the wait. *UPDATE Go here to see the video we filmed in the Little Cataloochee Baptist Church of The Pressley Girls.



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  • Reply
    June 5, 2018 at 2:51 pm

    Definately God’s Country. My Beck ancestors worshipped at Lufty Baptist Church. I am sure it is very peaceful to play and sing in those old church buildings.

  • Reply
    Kathy Poteet Dubree
    June 5, 2018 at 2:27 pm

    Do you ever go to Ivy Log Church. I have a lot of relatives buried there. It is a very pretty church.

    • Reply
      June 5, 2018 at 6:47 pm

      Kathy-I’ve been to Ivy Log a lot over the years, but not in a good long while. It is a very pretty church 🙂

  • Reply
    July 12, 2012 at 8:35 am

    John-I have contacted someone who might be able to help you. They have emailed you. I hope you get to go to the reunion : )
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    John Hannah
    July 11, 2012 at 7:58 pm

    My name is John Hannah and I’m part of the Hannah Clan that moved when their land became a National Park. My wife and I visited the cabin and cemetery and heard about the reunion. I’m trying to locate somebody who can tell me when it is. If you could email the info to me I would be very appreciative.
    John “Hog” Hannah

  • Reply
    Jackie @Syrup and Biscuits
    September 11, 2011 at 10:30 pm

    Is this near Fie Top Mountain and the Cataloochee Ski Ranch? We’ve been to Smokey Shadows Lodge several times on that mountain. Lovely post, Tipper.

  • Reply
    August 5, 2011 at 7:59 pm

    the voices, the acoustics, the girls’ singing are all beautiful and so are you! i love you, tipper.

  • Reply
    Eva M. Wike, Ph.D.
    July 5, 2011 at 8:24 am

    Hey Tipper: Another fantastic POST. Jim Wike is keenly interested in this area of the mountains. He was in basic training during the Korean War with the son of Mark Hannah, Harold Hannah. Mark grew up in the area of Cataloochee, and became a Forest Ranger for that area. This spanned a time of thirty or more years!
    Jim thinks that each year the families re-assemble for the HANNAH REUNION in Chataloochee and make mountain music! We have hiked many trails in the area. Someday WE HOPE to attend the Hannah Reunion and see Harold again!
    Eva Nell

  • Reply
    June 29, 2011 at 8:47 am

    somehow i missed this post, i love every photo and every word and cant wait to see the video. a beautiful church and a trip back in time. that is a long walk and i would not be able to get there, so no way to get there other than walking or horsback. strange in these days and times

  • Reply
    Nicole Ross
    June 29, 2011 at 8:31 am

    Beautiful post! The pictures really take me back and the music (as always!) is wonderful! Little Cataloochee is one of our favorite places. Thanks for such a great post!

  • Reply
    June 18, 2011 at 12:01 am

    Very beautiful voices and acoustics – such a treasure!
    It was after our trip to Cataloochee last year, that I discovered Blind Pig, and have enjoyed the mountains in all seasons this year – thanks!
    I didn’t know, until reading the brochures at the beginning of the drive, about “Little Cataloochee”; I don’t think I was up to the hike, anyway, but maybe next time – especially after hearing this! At least, we were up close to the elk and observed the main community. I’m really looking forward to the video:)

  • Reply
    Jennifer in OR
    June 14, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    VERY NEAT!! The sound in the church is really amazing; the girls did an Excellent job!! CANNOT wait to see the video! Have to say though I was spooked by Sue Crane’s comment!

  • Reply
    June 13, 2011 at 7:38 pm

    What a sound!! The girls sounded wonderful. It reminds me of a hundred year old country church we went to in Arkansas. Every other weekend there would be square dancing, and the other wknd was for blue grass and such. It made a slow week speed up a tad, knowing what fun was in store for the wknd.

  • Reply
    June 13, 2011 at 11:09 am

    What a wonderful day that was for all of you. What wonderful imprints. Looking forward to listening (right now I’m using Bet’s laptop and I don’t know how to turn on the sound!)

  • Reply
    Joe Mode
    June 13, 2011 at 9:55 am

    Looks like a great time and a beautiful place to go. As for us, our air conditioning went out Friday, so we cooked out, ate on the porch, and had a load of water balloon fights all weekend.

  • Reply
    June 13, 2011 at 6:16 am

    Bravo Chitter & Chatter! I feel like I was right there in the pew listening.

  • Reply
    June 12, 2011 at 11:20 pm

    Well, guess I’ll just have to admit reading this makes me a little bit jealous. I would have loved to have been there to see this little church and to hear the wonderful singing. Thanks, Tipper for sharing this with us.

  • Reply
    Suzi Phillips
    June 12, 2011 at 11:09 pm

    Ah, Cataloochee- one of my most special places. Mitchell & I courted there & were married at Palmer’s Chapel in 2003. Mitchell helps do the mowing for Homecoming every year &, of course, my favorite wild man, Uncle Arley, became a legend there. The girls sound beautiful& I’m so glad ya’ll made a precious memory in that beautiful, treasured place!

  • Reply
    June 12, 2011 at 9:44 pm

    This is incredible! I so want to take that hike with you; hear the girls singing in that old church; visit that old cemetary and see the country that my ancestors so loved. Someday…

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    June 12, 2011 at 9:05 pm

    I have been in that church — the Cataloochee area saddens me — and both my husband and I had an unusual experience in the cabin used as a center. He was roaming through on his own and left me (nothing new!). I was fascinated by an upstairs room because of the old, almost cardboard thickness wall paper exactly like paper in my grandparents bedroom. As I walked out on the landing I had the most chilling feeling of an angry presence and that I was not wanted there — even to the point of looking over my shoulder as I hurried down the stairs. When I met Roy outside he had felt the same anger/resentment. Only other place I felt that before was on Kennesaw Mountain in one of the trenches and then it was overwhelming sadness and a stillness. I’m not usually “spooked” either.

  • Reply
    Uncle Al
    June 12, 2011 at 8:20 pm

    What a great sound. You have to wonder if all those souls of past years were able to hear that melody??
    PS I’m still smiling at Miss Cindy’s comment!!!!!

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    June 12, 2011 at 8:14 pm

    Why Miss Cindy, I’m shocked. The fellow standing in the barn door clearly is just musing on the magic of Smoky Mountain rain, and lo and behold, you go to thinking about precipitation of a decidedly different sort. I am sure my brother never had any such thing in mind!
    More seriously, about all I can say is that I’m envious. Clearly a good time was had by all, and I’d have given a $10 bill to have been in the kitchen in Bryson City when the rest of the gang played a prank on Tipper. I don’t imagine she’ll be sharing it (in her shoes I wouldn’t), but all her devoted readers should know that she was “had”–in spades and to the delight of family and friends. However, I do worry about payback for my brother, because I imagine there’s some mighty schemin’ going on behind Tipper’s chinquapin eyes.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    June 12, 2011 at 7:49 pm

    Miss Cindy,
    I have been severely reprimanded by Miss Susan as well as you 😉 I’d take it back if I could, but the first thing that came to mind just sort of whizzed out.
    The BlindPig crew – DeerHunter, Chitter, Chatter, their CCC (Cherokee County Companions) buddy Lonnie and of course Tipper are just fantastic folks to spend time with.
    I can tell you for a fact that although the recording sounds good, it sounded even better in person.
    By the way, the names Chitter and Chatter couldn’t be more appropriate. It’s no wonder those girls are nice and thin. It would take a few thousand calories of energy a day to handle the…well, the chatter and the chitter (not to mention the whistling). Mercy!
    But they are lovely, really sweet girls who are obviously blessed with fine parents and grandparents. Of course, they’re a blessing in return.

  • Reply
    June 12, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    This must have been thrilling for the girls. I love the music from the mountains.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    June 12, 2011 at 6:44 pm

    That is awesome!! They sound just like the angels they are!
    Don was right about how they would sound singing in the chapel……but Don aren’t you ashamed for that comment about what that man was doing at the door. Those two angels are singing and you’re think that man looks like he is peeing!lol
    Sounds like a wonderful day!

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    June 12, 2011 at 5:54 pm

    What a wonderful day trip!

  • Reply
    June 12, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    A very enjoyable read and listening experience. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    Barbara Johnson
    June 12, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    Love this. We have been there looking for the graves of my husband’s relatives…we didn’t find them here but we did find them in Townsend and we learned they settled the town of Emert’s cove. We love this area of the country and feel like it is home.

  • Reply
    June 12, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    WOW! That was excellent singing and all the pictures let us also
    feel like we’re along with you all. I’m sure glad you got to follow thru on this adventure. I
    remember Chitter and Chatter doing
    this song on video with Paul and
    Pap. Thank you all…Ken

  • Reply
    Helen G.
    June 12, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    The acoustics are wonderful as are the girls voices. I swear there is no place quite like a little country church back in a holler someplace. Growing up when we’d go back to Tennessee where my daddy was born we’d always go to a little country church that you had to go back into the woods across a creek to get to. A quiet, beautiful drive that seemed to be always cool and shady even in the midst of summer.
    Thanks for this post. It brought back good memories.
    Helen G.

  • Reply
    June 12, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    Excellent job Chitter and Chatter!

  • Reply
    Don Casada
    June 12, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    Have you thought about what it looks like that feller standing in barn door is doing?

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    June 12, 2011 at 3:41 pm

    Hey Tipper,
    Loved the song…
    Can’t wait to hear the other song…I love the sound in the church…wonderful…You were so lucky to have a nice shower to cool things down while hiking…
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    Sheila Bergeron
    June 12, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    Angelic voices –this was the best.

  • Reply
    June 12, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    That sounds like a fun outing!
    And WOW! That church has amazing acoustics.

  • Reply
    June 12, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    Sounds like u had a good time and one the girls won’t forget. The song was good and worth the trip with the guitar. you’re making great memories.

  • Reply
    June 12, 2011 at 11:23 am

    beautiful, Tipper, just beatiful

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