Shunned by my Rural Cousin-in-laws.

  1. irishman
    Hey guys,
    Im a native Charloteean, born and raised in the Queen City. I had thought that qualified myself as a Southerner, and I certainly think of myself so.

    Now my wife is from Newton NC, and much of her family lives up in Marion. Her Marion cousins deeply believe that anyone from Charlotte is not only NOT a southerner, but Charlotte itself is one step away from Toombstone. (They belive there are ladies of ill repute on every street corner, racial fueled shootouts in the streets every night, dogs and cats living together, etc..)

    While I personally have never seen some of that, I do feel at times like Im not quite as southern as I could be, espeically in the area of old time music. I grew up in an irish-american household, with a ton of old irish music around. But that was primarily it. We listend to the Clancy Brothers, and Tommy Maken, and Ewan MacColl. Thats what was played at the Ceilidh's at our house.

    What I lament is that I have a whole state full of Old Time music. Not really Blugrass, but that old timey piedomont music. And I cant seem to get into touch with it.

    Where do people reccomend that I go to get in touch with my (rightfull) Carolinian musical heritage.

  2. pickloser
    Hey Doug,
    I know the feeling. I'm from Gastonia, but haven't lived around there for 30 years. I don't know what to tell you about your relatives, because they know for a fact where you're from. But don't let anybody make you feel less "southern." It's a birthright, and it's yours. What you aren't is rural. I live in Winston and that's not rural either. There's old time music around, you just don't know where.

    For example, you just missed this:
    July 12 - Charlotte Folk Society Old Time Music Jam & Ice Cream Social @ Historic Rosedale Plantation, 3427 N. Tryon St., Charlotte NC 1-4 PM Free and open to the public

    Maybe you could join the Charlotte Folk Society. There next meeting is:
    August 8 - Charlotte Folk Society monthly meeting @ Great Aunt Stella Center, 926 Elizabeth Ave, Charlotte NC 7:30 PM

    There's also a jam in Belmont, I think it's bi-weekly in the "historic downtown." I'd bet you could track it down with Google.

    I got this info from the email newsletter of "High Lonesome Strings," a BG/oldtime club based in Greensboro. It's a great group that holds a lot of events--the Camp & Pick is my favorite. For you, it would be worth the $15 to join just to get the emailed events listing. They list events all across the state.

    Good luck finding some old timey music, you southerner you.

    (Oh, if you don't mind a little deception, say you're from "real near Charlotte." It implies your town is so small no one would have heard of it.)
  3. 300win
    Doug after reading your post I believe I detected the "real reason" you might be getting shunned from your wifes people. You said they live in Marion, well to me thats the key statement. Marion is in the "mountains", Charlotte ain't, so therefore you are not only from a big city, you are also a flatlander. If you know how to pick the good Irish tunes, I don't see why you can't hang in on any old tyme setting. For the two musics are so similar in alot of ways. Hope you find what you're looking for, and it might not hurt to learn to speak a little mountain.
  4. Bill Auld
    Bill Auld
    irishman - I agree with 300win - if you can play Irish stuff (I'm talking fiddle tunes - not the songs ...), then you'll find old time stuff pretty easy to handle. I don't play old time stuff - only Irish traditional fiddle (for many, many years) - but I've been surprised at how similar the tunes are - in a number of cases, the settings are just a little different.

    Go back and listen to some of the old recordings - stuff like you can find put out by Old Hat ... You'll find a good cross section of older NC stuff from all areas on those remastered recordings. And, of course, seek out the players out there today - there's a huge opportunity for listening, learning and soaking it up as pickloser points out.

    Where I disagree somewhat with 300win (great caliber, btw) is Charlotte being in the flatlands ... I'm a flatlander for sure and Charlotte, Raleigh and all those Piedmont places belong in that netherworld between the mountains and the flatlands ... The Piedmont just happens to be where I was exiled to ... Having said that, the Piedmont area ain't short on great players and nice folks but you've got to hunt them out ...

    BTW, I started playing mandolin only recently so I could play music from around here like I heard growing up - mostly bluegrass stuff. Ain't sure I'm going to get there, but I don't care - it's fun trying. Don't know why I didn't start long ago, but I didn't ... So, I'm somewhat in the same boat as you in many respects ...
  5. irishman
    Hey Bill,
    Thanks for the band name. I will look them up. You are also correct about me not being a flatlander. We have some relatives "down east" in Aulander. Charlotte is a "big" city. (Its not really big, but it pretends to be).

    I find that my Marion cousins like City-folk less than a slab of Tofu at a Pig Pickin. To be honest, my family came through Ohio from Ireland, just a few generations ago, so I dont have much of a southern accent as well. Certianly not a marion-level drawl.

    So I agree that the piedmont is filled with good pickers, but a large amount of them seem to be out in the coutnry up around Raliegh, closer to the Virginia border. Charlotte being so close to South Carolina all we get down here are mosquitos and bad drivers.
  6. Bill Auld
    Bill Auld
    irishman - Don't start me laughin' ... Everything you're sayin' is true ... My family is half and half - half from up north (well - they came down here 90 years ago - all Irish - all the time ...) and the other from downeast here for the last 350 plus years ... So, I'm conflicted ...

    Actually, Old Hat is a recording label a friend of mine owns - he specializes in releasing old, rare recordings from NC ... Great guy, great work that he does.

    Yeh - from what I've heard and seen, there are a lot of great pickers around where pickloser and 300win are ... And there are alot in this area (Raleigh) as well.
  7. irishman
    Its a culture shock to say the least. My first time in Marion i saw my wife's unlce pick up a pair of old BVD undershorts off the ground and use them to rub down a grill for a pig pickin. So I dont allways feel like I fit in. Like you, I feel like my father's family which is the Irish side holds sway culturally. but by right of birth, I should have as much access to the "Good ol boy network" as any other southerner. Born in the south, raised on Grits (stone cut if you please), sweet tea and buiscuits qualified. But not in the eyes of my cousins.

    I might as well be named Vinny or Antonio.

    I love playing fiddle tunes on the mando. Where do I find Old Hat recording? Are they on Amazon? Any particular artists I should look into?


    P.S. I will say, though, for the record, that my wife's Uncle is one of the nicest, kindest human beings that was ever put on the planet..... also that barbeque was dang good eating as well.
  8. Greg Wilson
    Greg Wilson
    I wouldn't worry about what your kin think of your regional identity. There are folks in South Carolina that think anyone in NC is a yankee and folks in Georgia saying the same thing about both NC and SC. That kind of divisive "I am more southern than you" attitude doesn't do anyone any good. In my humble opinion, play the music you want to play and let the chips fall where they fall...

  9. Charles E.
    Charles E.
    Irishman, the mountains do not own ' old time music ' , the music was being played all over the state. Marshall ( old hat records ) is currently putting together a CD of recordings of Bands that were playing around Gastonia, your neck of the woods. Also ALOT of mountain bands came down to record in Charlotte.
    You can find Old Hat here,
    also look for recordings of the Fuzzy Mt. stringband ( on Rounder records ) a band from Chapel Hill that recorded in the early 70's
  10. Bill Auld
    Bill Auld
    Charles E. is absolutely correct - and you'll find that Marshall does a wonderful job of resurrecting the recordings of those olders bands from all over the state. NC has a rich musical history without question - we're very fortunate.

    Yep, Greg - Yankees usually live just north of the border of the state you live in ... Funny how that is ... You're right - try to out southern someone doesn't get you anywhere except into a spittin' contest - just playing what you want is the good way to go - and enjoy doing it. Very good advice.
  11. 300win
    Heck, we were all born in the SOUTH that makes us all real. My people on my daddy's side came from up north all the way from Patrick County, VA, {lol}. They migrated to N.C. in about 1900, in Stokes County, which is just below Patrick. It takes me 20 minutes to be in the "Old Dominion". As far as I've found they were all living there plumb back to 1754. Yes the "Old North Sate" has a plenty of great musicians, from Murphy to Manteo. We are lucky to be in the hotbed of Bluegrass/Old Tyme music. Its a long shot, but I'd sure like to be able to pick a tune or two with all of ya'll sometime. On breaks we'll eat some grits {lol}.
  12. Bill Auld
    Bill Auld
    Dag, 300win - you're part Yankee too ... Amen - a tune or twenty - how about that?? That's going to have to be one big pot of grits ...
  13. irishman
    Brilliant Brilliant links to Old Hat Records. I just ordered Music from the Lost Provences off of Normally i buy only mp3s, but the quality of the production looks awsome. Plus, i want to read all the stories in the liner notes.
  14. 300win
    Bill not to worry, my pappy-in-law has a big ol' cast iron pot he makes chicken stew in every fall, that'un will hold a pile of grits.
  15. irishman
    I can one up you there 300win. My wifes family has a HUGE copper pot, with 500' of copper line. But all they tend to do is cook corn in it.

    And honestly guys, im not reall worried 'tall about it. Nor do I think I will ever be accepted by those in Marion. As its my first few posts, i thought it was a good way to liven up the social group. I was looking for some old time music recordings, and I seem to have hit the motherlode there.

    Thanks guys.
  16. 300win
    Well great Irishman, we'll let you provide the refreshments. Got a few of those same things around where I live.
  17. Bill Auld
    Bill Auld
    irishman - your post was great - fun discussion. Yeh, you definitely want the liner notes for any of the Old Hat stuff ... Marshall puts alot of time and effort into those - plus the great photos ...

    300win - that pot sounds perfect - ain't nothing like cast iron (unless it's copper ...) ...
  18. Greg Wilson
    Greg Wilson
    I got to know Marshall a bit while living in Chapel Hill. Nice guy. Haven't seen him in years.
  19. timv
    Fun thread y'all! Irishman, I know what you mean about growing up in this area and somehow not being in touch with the amazing Old Time tradition. I remember noticing the "old time" tag in the songbooks section of local music stores, but not having any idea what it meant. (I grew up a city kid too--in the dirty dark heart of Greensboro in my case.) It's almost a "parallel universes" kind of thing, with it being all around but somehow not seen.

    Has anyone else read Bob Carlin's book, "String Bands in the North Carolina Piedmont"? I thought it was pretty interesting and it gave me an idea of how popular old-time music has been in the area (and in fact that it was already being called "old-time" 100 years ago, when fiddlin' contests first became popular) although it left me wondering how many other regions he could have as easily written about.

    But certainly it's survived and thrived here--for some of the same reasons, I suspect, that other traditional arts such as pottery have hung on; because the region was somewhat late in entering the modern era, but at the same time was literate and well-schooled enough to be aware of the value of its traditions and to take pride in keeping them alive.
  20. Bill Auld
    Bill Auld
    Greg - haven't seen Marshall in a few months, but he was doing absolutely great then. We were in high school together (along with alot of fine musicians I was fortunate to know) - even back then Marshall knew the value of heritage and tradition. He deserves alot of praise for all he does preserving the music. I think he'd say he's only doing what he loves to do ... Lucky for us!

    Thanks, timv, for the reminder on the Carlin book. Got to pick that up.

    Also - for some terrific piedmont/eastern Carolina picking, here's a plug for Russell Johnson and Barney Rogers' new recording "When the Bands Played" - great stuff! Check it out:
  21. Greg Wilson
    Greg Wilson
    Bill did you know Tom Hargrove? He was a good friend that I went to grad school with at UNC-Chapel Hill.
  22. Bill Auld
    Bill Auld
    Yeh, Greg, I knew Tom (or Hargrove as we called him). We went to middle and high school together - hung around alot as we traveled in the same pack of folks. He died way too young - very sad. His brother Bill is still around - I run into him occasionally.

    Were you studying archeology at UNC?
  23. Greg Wilson
    Greg Wilson
    Yes I am an archaeologist. My wife and I were housemates with Patricia Samford--Mike's girlfriend. Small world.
  24. irishman
    So last night, I was telling my wife about this thread, and she looked at my sadly and said "Im sorry honey, you cant really be southern. Because.. you dont have people."

    I said, "But I was born here! What do you mean I don't have people".

    She said "Honey where I come from, when you are introduced, the first question is 'who are your pepole?'. For example I would answer, [here she proceeds to list a long linenage of family names and associated counties back to pre civil war]. And the people listening would say, 'OH.... your from the Burke County line of Setzers.... ' or ' Your grandmother's family were Kerleys from Catawba county? those are good people...' and im in."

    She shook her head sadly and said "Honey if you get asked who your people are... your daddy and grand-dady are from Ohio, and your Great Grand-daddy was from Co. Limerick Ireland."

    Thats why people in Marioin are offish to you. To them, you might as well be carrying a suitcase made out of carpet. Dosent matter where you were born... you dont have people".

    "But on the bright side", she said. "You married me, and at least I can take you to Camp Meeting"

    What a Benedict Arnold!

    I tell you what. Its a dang good thing she can cook so well!
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