Wednesday, March 04, 2009

old time

in knoxville, there is a big movement to restore the built environment. and it's partly the reason my wife and i were attracted here. and wigshop readers love old knoxville homes and buildings too.

old music, like old buildings, needs restoration too. on wednesday nights once a month, a group of local old time musicians get together in happy hollow to recreate ancient american tunes and stomp feet. their music is often mistaken for bluegrass, because people associate banjos, guitars and mandolins with bluegrass. but old time is different.

first, it's rarely accompanied with words. melodies are strung together to create tunes, and, with this group of musicians, a leader might even piece tunes from different songs together in the same song. second, there are no solos. old time is a communal event, not really for performance. i learned this the hard way by attending an old time jam and thinking my contribution to a jam was a clean-cut break away on the mandolin. fortunately, a friend politely suggested that there were rules to jamming, in spite of the appearance of chaos. this music was made for dancing and to enrich the soul, not for showing off. third, the old time banjo is clawed, not picked. and most banjo players are very proud of this. there are a lot of other ways old time is different than modern music, but you have to experience a jam on your own to fully appreciate its uniqueness and worth.

back to the event. tonight there is an old time jam at the time warp tea room from 7-9. from what i've heard it is a hard core group of old time players that broke away from the larger group of musicians (called group therapy) that regularly play on 2 fridays a month. this may be the only public jam in knoxville. this jam meets on the first wednesdays of the month, and it often attracts a few members of the infamous mumbilies.

if you haven't been to the time warp, its worth the trip to the holler itself. it's atmosphere is somewhat characteristic of knoxville, with good coffee, free wifi and a really cool restored ceiling from a hotel on jackson avenue. its also a good venue for live music, even kinds you can dance to.


The Modern Gal said...

Those rules seem like the kind that would go unwritten.

Time Warp is a very underrated place, but I think they like flying under the radar a bit.

blueeyedtawni said...

thanks for posting this. I had never known that they played old time music there :)

Fat Elvis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fat Elvis said...

Thanks or sharing! I missed it last night, but I won't miss it again!

Andy said...

Lo, i believe you're forgetting about Jon Worley's Friends Jam at Sassy Ann's on wednesday nights.