Appalachia Music

Looking Back at Music here on the Blind Pig and The Acorn


The pressley girls at appalachian story telling festival

We had a great time at the Georgia Mountain Storytelling Festival and we thank all the Blind Pig readers who came out to see our show, you really made us feel special. During the festival quilts are displayed throughout the entire banquet hall. Attendees can go around and admire the handiwork and also read the ‘story’ of each quilt. On the first day of the festival we wandered around and read about each quilt as went. We were both pleased and surprised to find quilts made by Blind Pig Reader Ethelene Dyer Jones. The girls are posing in front of one of Ethelene’s beautiful quilts in the photo above.

David Holt and Josh Goforth played before us at the festival. Wow what an amazing show they put on! If the duo comes to your area they are a must see attraction. Fantastic music, singing, and storytelling that will make you laugh till tears run down your face.

Between listening to David’s stories related to his musical journey and seeing Blind Pig Readers spread throughout the audience I headed home thinking about the music I’ve shared on the Blind Pig and the Acorn since I first started eight years ago.

I knew without looking back through the archives the first song I ever shared was our version of Simon and Garfunkle’s El Condor Pasa. But I was surprised that I shared it very close to this day eight years ago. I published my first Pickin’ and Grinnin’ video on March 29, 2008.

Chitter filmed it with her small hand held camera, you could have probably guessed that by the poor quality of the video. I remember after we watched it we told her she must have been trying to make it look like a rock band with all the moving back and forth. And we still tease her abut filming the feet! When I watch the video today I can’t believe how young the boys (my nephews) were, I think Mark was still in middle school.

We filmed the song again in 2013. By then we had a video camera and the boys had turned into men.

The music of the Blind Pig and The Acorn has changed much in the 8 years since I started the blog. My nephews almost always showed up in those early videos. Chatter and Chitter only showed up when we could tie them down long enough to sing one song without too much arguing and fussing.

Gradually the girls began playing instruments themselves and began to take more of an interest in the music we were making in Paul’s kitchen. The nephews headed out into the world to make their own way. With one living in Connecticut and the other in Texas they rarely get to play with us these days. I can’t see the girls moving off as far as the nephews did, but who knows what path their lives will take and whether they’ll always be able to make music with us. Whatever the future may hold, I’m glad the girls and my nephews have a warehouse full of stories and memories about making music with their uncle, their aunt/mother, and their Pap that they can pull out and tell to each other or to anyone else that will listen.

AND I’m thankful you’ve let me share the music we make with you!



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  • Reply
    George Pettie
    April 4, 2016 at 10:38 am

    That is indeed a beautiful quilt.
    And the music! The wonderful music is a big part of what makes this blog so excellent. I listened to Shepherd of My Soul while driving through Virginia’s Blue Ridge-then I played it through twice more. Such a fine CD by the entire Pressley/Wilson clan band! Anyone who hasn’t ordered one is missing out.

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    April 3, 2016 at 9:56 pm

    It’s late on Sunday, April 3, and I’m just now accessing the Blind Pig. Imagine my surprise to see Chatter and Chitter posed before the wedding ring quilt I made a long time ago! I’m glad my son Keith took it and other family quilts to display at the Storytelling Festival at Young Harris College. I’m sure the festival was better because Chatter and Chitter performed there! And how we’ve come to share so much over your 8 years of Blind PIg posts is also amazing! I feel my day is not complete unless I can access Blind Pig! Your family seems like my family! Congratulations upon reaching this milestone of “broadcasting,” and posting! We have been the beneficiaries of your wonderful work. Thanks seems so inadequate to tell you how much we’ve learned and enjoy the Blind Pig! And the music!

  • Reply
    Phyllis S
    April 3, 2016 at 8:42 pm

    Beautiful quilt and wonderful music!

  • Reply
    April 3, 2016 at 8:21 pm

    (off-track: but just saw Sow True Seeds featured on PBS on Growing a Greener World!)

  • Reply
    April 3, 2016 at 8:19 pm

    Wonder if you can have a jam session via Skype (or other such thing).
    You guys are truly blessed as well as a blessing to all of us who get to peak through the knothole in the fence at your world.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    April 3, 2016 at 5:52 pm

    I forgot to agree that the quilt is stunning but might add that the two ladies modeling it are even more stunning!! Good Work, Tipper and The Deer Hunter!!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    April 3, 2016 at 5:41 pm

    My mother used to make quilts like that from scraps of cloth. She would sew them into squares on her old treadle Singer sewing machine. Watching her work on them interested me, but even more fascinating was after she got all the squares sewn together and attached to the quilting frame with the batting and backing. She would take a string wound around a piece of chalk and starting in a corner draw arcs on the backing. After every arc she would unwind the chalk one turn. She did this as far as she could reach then went to the next corner and do the same thing until the entire thing was covered. Sometimes she drew more complicated patterns which I found more interesting than the patchwork itself.
    She would get her thimble and thread and start stitching along the lines she had drawn. The quilting frame had holes and wooden dowels that held it together. To make it easier to reach her work, she would pull out two dowels, roll the side over as many times as she needed to then put the dowels back.
    Daddy had mounted her quilting frame to the ceiling in the living room suspended by cords attached to the shorter end pieces. She could adjust the height of her work by winding or unwinding the cords. She could work seated or standing. When she wasn’t quilting, we would wind the cords all the way up so we could walk under it.
    Some of her quilts were not stitched at all. They were tufted (I think that’s the word). But that is for another day.

  • Reply
    Lisa at two bears farm
    April 3, 2016 at 4:41 pm

    I adore the quilt. What a marvelous event!

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    April 3, 2016 at 4:20 pm

    Tipper–I’ve got some mighty fond memories connected with you, the girls, and the family. Seems like only yesterday you were sitting in the living room at Daddy’s home (now Don and Susan’s) talking about the writing life, your love of the mountains, and other topics. Or I look at the telling of tales with Pap and Br’er Don, talking about our shared love of hunting with the Deer Hunter, a guest column of two along the way, being able to put some family arts & crafts things in hands where I knew they would be used aright, and so much more.
    Then there was that sad yet deeply meaningful moment when Pap and Paul sang at Daddy’s funeral and afterwards you and the girls joined family and friends as we bushwhacked up Juneywhank Branch to the old home place, now in the Park, where Daddy spent the most meaningful days of his youth.
    Add to that breaking bread together, a picnic at Ken’s, you speaking and the girls performing on the final night along with a whole bunch of other talented folks when the Southeastern Outdoor Press Association met at Fontana, and more. You’ve blessed us all and I hope that you and yours, in turn, feel a small measure of blessedness from all the extended Blind Pig family.
    Ethelene’s quilt is a thing of beauty and it too resurrected some warm and winsome memories. Momma was a great one for quilting and saw to it, well before she died, that all her children and grandchildren owned lovingly made quilts from her hands. She also made Cherokee-style baskets. I’m looking at two of the latter as I type these words and a few steps to a bedroom would offer a visual link to her.
    In short, you’ve spilled out a whole flood of recollection.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    April 3, 2016 at 1:14 pm

    That’s a gorgeous quilt made by Ethelene and two pretty girls posing for a quickee. I remember when you all went to Bereah, Ky. for those contra dances. One time in particular you called The Deer Hunter when we were cutting some Birch Trees on my place.
    We had just quit for a bite to eat and I heard the Deer Hunter say, “I love you too.” I had to bite my tonge to keep from saying “we love youn’ze too.” Those memories will always be with us…Ken

  • Reply
    Kenneth Ryan
    April 3, 2016 at 11:32 am

    We have had a bluegrass/Old Time music band here in east Texas for years now playing the little bluegrass shows & festivals, and playing at nursing homes and churches. Years ago my brother sent me a link to “Way Back in the Hills” by Blind Pig & the Acorn to learn and add to our song list. I remember thinking what an odd and unique name for a band. I went to your blog site and spent most of the day listening to the music and reading the articles. I immediately subscribed and have looked forward each day since to reading your post and listening to the gang playing their music. I thank you all for sharing your lives and music with us. BTW we have headliners from those mountains to come every year and perform at our old time music festivals: Josh Goforth, Bruce Greene, Don Pedi, Wayne Henderson, Carl Jones, Beverly Smith, Alice Gerrard, Shelia Kay Adams…to name a few. So much talent out there in those mountains.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    April 3, 2016 at 10:16 am

    Loved this post. Oh my goodness at the memories. How could you ever begin to make a scrapbook with so much to record. I suppose you would have to really narrow it down theme by theme…It is hard for me to remember when the girls weren’t playing instruments, singing, or dancing…Time sure does pass before your eyes…I wish we could have been there this year.
    Ethelene’s quilt, just beautiful…I believe it is a variation of the Double Wedding Ring…hmmm…makes me wonder if one day the double (twins) pictured in front of the quilt would one day have a double wedding…However, that is far into the future…but you know how this NC heritage woman believes in omens….ha
    Thanks Tipper for this post, videos and pictured walk down memory lane.
    PS…I remember helping my Mother place all those pieces (hundreds) in perfect order and pattern for the best look of the quilt…Sure wish we could do it again today!

  • Reply
    April 3, 2016 at 9:11 am

    Those are great memories. Making music together with anyone, but especially family is very special. I hope your younger ones of today will be able to pass that on to their next generation.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    April 3, 2016 at 8:26 am

    The quilt is stunning, Ethylene!
    Tip, you have history now. I mean the Bling Pig has history. You two have been here for eight years, that’s a long time in this world of instant everything. I wonder sometimes if your readers have ay idea of how much of your time and thought goes in to the Blind Pig and preserving Appalachian history. It’s a big chunk of your day, and night, every day and night.
    Thank you! We love you and appreciate what you do! Your there for us every single day.

  • Reply
    April 3, 2016 at 6:42 am

    Good morning – just have to say that quilt is stunning! Beautiful work, Ethelene Dyer Jones!
    A lot happens in a few years, doesn’t it? Quite a contrast in those videos. One of the handiest things about having a blog, I’ve found, is having a record of What and When. and sometimes even Where. Just yesterday it occurred to me I can look at pictures of last year’s many perennial plantings, and avoid digging in the same places this Spring before the plants have a chance to sprout and say, “Hey, take that shovel somewhere else – this is my spot!”
    Of course, since we got a couple of inches of snow last night, there’s no real hurry…

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