On August 7, 2014, the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, located in the heart of Bristol, TN/VA, opened its doors to a host of expectant, enthusiastic visitors.
In 1987, former Press Lifestyles Editor, Anne M. Newton, interviewed Jack Q. Williams, who worked for the Southern Railway, about his participation in the 1926 Johnson City Kindergarten Orchestra.
Recently, Kitty Cornett contacted me saying, "I have been trying to track down a local violin maker in Johnson City, who's long gone by now, but may still have family living in Johnson City." After acquiring her mother's old violin, she spotted inside one of the two F-Holes the words: "E.W. Hinkle," '"H",' "Johnson City, Tenn." and "1933."
In the early 1970s, my wife, Pat, and I occasionally drove to Nashville to see the Grand Ole Opry, which was located then at the downtown Ryman Auditorium. Recently, I uncovered a souvenir program from a visit we made there on Saturday, March 27, 1971.
The Original Carter Family, who resided in Maces Springs adjacent to Clinch Mountains, became a legend in the early country music field. The original singers, comprised of Mother Maybelle Addington Carter; her brother-in-law, A. P. Carter; and his wife, Sara Dougherty Carter, produced a vast assortment of country music hits. A.P acquired an remarkable collection of songs that he either wrote or rescued from obscurity.
I was asked to give a brief address to the attendees at the Johnson City Sessions VIP celebration on Oct. 20 at the Venue in the downtown King Center. Subsequently, I was requested to repeat my speech in my Yesteryear column. Here is a slightly abbreviated version of it:
The Johnson City Sessions' celebration has come and gone after much advanced publicity, four days of interviews, speeches and old-time music performances that included the rollout of the Bear Family Records box set. Several of my Bowman family members and I were privileged and honored to be among the participants.
In the 1950s, many of us can recall owning a phonograph with a selection lever near the turntable that allowed the listener to chose between four separate record speeds: 78, 45, 33.3 and 16 rpm (approximate numbers).
Today’s column pays homage to my Aunt Ween, Pauline Bowman Huggans, who spent most of her life in Gray (Station) and Johnson City. She acquired the moniker from a young family member who had trouble pronouncing her first name. We called her Aunt Ween until she died in 2003.
Glenn Stroup, an occasional contributor to Johnson City Press’s History/Heritage page, commented on the George Buda feature article. Glenn played with a local band, the Blue Notes, that later became known as The Collegians. He sent me two photographs of the group. “It was a great experience,” he said, “playing in this band because, as valuable as the money was, it was truly enjoyable performing with different musicians and playing a wide variety of popular music.