Appalachian Christmas is a holiday show, which promises great entertainment with the added allure of much local history context. The Georgia Yellow Hammers, Andrew and Jim Baxter, Will Bennett, Clyde Evans, Elias Meadows, Gus Boaz, Claude Davis, the Nichols Brothers and many others wrote and recorded tunes at the very dawn of this technology, with this tradition reverberating to this day.
Some of the descendants of these men now regularly perform and write music with a national following, and numerous young artists from here have recently been signed to record labels.
While their efforts may sound different from those archaic tunes of the 1920’s and 30’s, the roots are unmistakable, and our pioneers paved the way both in the music and it’s marketing.
The Georgia Crackers, from the Atlanta area, will feature their North Georgia Roots music onstage at the Gem Saturday night, with the great skill which speaks to their numerous awards for performances and competitions throughout the South. Mick Kinney, the Go-To fiddler in what is referred to as “Old Time” music (NOT Bluegrass), is quite a music historian as well, and much appreciates Calhoun’s great contribution to American Roots Music. Along with Singer/Guitarist Kenneth Johnson and Banjo-Man Chip Corbett (who also sings), this trio brings forth the magic first cast by The Skillet Licker’s Gid Tanner and Riley Puckett back during prohibition, among many many others. Included on their new CD, “Hillbilly Wobble”, are two tunes by Clyde Evans, who once owned a clothing store adjacent to where the Gem Theater now stands. These are “pickers-pickers”, masters of this idiom you do not want to miss.
The Groundhawgs have played their own version of this great music in this region for many years, and have hosted an annual Christmas performance in Rome for most of those. Popularity of the soiree has grown to require a larger venue, which this event hopes to remedy. Clayton and Clark Jones come from a musical background, their Uncle Claude being a well-known picker in the Chattanooga area.
Along with Adairsville’s Ace Banjo-Wizard Laney House, and Kevin Osburne on ‘Doghouse’ Bass, The Groundhawgs represent the best of our next generations taking up this great heritage.
The Little Country Giants might hail from Oakman Georgia via Rome, but their influence permeates the entire country, evidenced by regular airplay of their songs on the nation’s top Americana and Alt country stations. LCG’s touring routes are considerable, and they have shared stages with some of the top writers and performers in the business. We are most fortunate to have Cameron Federal and Russell Cook with us for this show, as their artistry deftly shows the great vibrance and vision that has developed and manifested from the string tradition that started here in Calhoun, so many years ago.
Appalachian Christmas at downtown Calhoun’s Gem Theater starts at 7:30 this Saturday, December 22, with tickets available at the Gem Box office, by phone at 706-625-3132 or online at www.calhoungem.org (click on upcoming events), Friends Of Calhoun’s Gem Theater (FaceBook), or Appalachian Christmas (FaceBook Events page). Tickets are $15 for all three Bands and some great company.