Monday, July 20, 2009

Mountain Music Fun

I was born and bred on the west coast, Southern California actually, but there is something intoxicating to me about mountain music. Since we first came up onto the Blue Ridge Parkway in 1997, I have enjoyed listening to the great sounds of the bands in this area. When we were in this area back in April, the season hadn't really started up on the parkway so we couldn't come to any of the small concerts. This time they were in full swing and we decided to make the trip up to the Mabry Mill area yesterday to watch the show.

We got to our destination an hour before the concert was set to begin so we had plenty of time for our little tail-gate picnic. Cousin Gail and Rick came up with us for the day. The photo below shows Bruce, Rick and Gail enjoying their lunches. We always keep our small lawn chairs and a folding table in the back of the Explorer so we are ready for the instant picnic.
The concerts at Mabry Mill are every Sunday afternoon during the summer from 2:00 pm until 5:00 pm. Different bands come each week and a small portable dance floor is erected in front of the band. I took this photo before the concert began and by the time the band began playing there were twice as many in the audience. "Bring your lawn chair and your dancing shoes" the web site for Mabry Mill reads.
Here is our little group (minus me, the photographer) waiting for the band to begin. We did not bring any dancing shoes, but we did bring our lawn chairs.

Performing last Sunday was the 4-piece Giles Mountain String Band. Some bands that play here have more than 4 members but you always see a bass player, banjo player, guitar player, and a fiddler. In front of the band you can see the wooden dance floor.

Here's the first couple on the dance floor and they are doing a waltz.

The music got more lively and here is a man doing traditional "flat-footin" dance moves. With this style of dancing -- almost anything goes. I guess it just depends on how the music moves you. A little member of the audience joined in to the delight of the crowd and the band.

This old guy was a hoot. He is what a typical mountain area citizen looks like here. I overheard somebody say that this gentleman goes down to the town of Floyd every weekend where they have a jam session at the General Store. He loves his mountain music. He was a good dancer, too.

Here is a close up of the mountain man.

After a time, more and more of the audience crowded onto the small dance floor. Sometimes they dance as a couple but often times they just jump up there and dance alone. It is wonderful to watch and you cannot help from tapping your foot to the music.

This older woman danced many times in her Birkenstock type shoes. Not your traditional dancing shoes but she did a mighty fine job anyway.

Now this young man really knew what he was doing and it was obvious to the audience that this was not his first dancing experience. He had all the moves down, including the appropriate movement with the arms. He kept right with the beat of the music and was amazing to watch.

This is the banjo player and sometimes the lead singer. He was a very good musician and seemed to be having a grand time entertaining all of us.

If you are ever near the Blue Ridge Parkway just south of Roanoke, I urge you to visit the Mabry Mill on a Sunday when you can enjoy this great mountain music. The folks of this region are amazing, friendly, down-to-earth people that are delighted to share their music and their way of life with y'all.
Until next time long for now!

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