Sunday, April 09, 2006

The Acworth Opry

Last night we went to Acworth Opry in the town of Acworth not far away. It is bluegrass music. The Opry is held in an old barn once a month, the 2nd Saturday night of each month.

We have been attending since they started it about four years ago. We used to go to all of concerts there, but in the wintertime sitting in a big barn with no insulation and wide cracks between boards that allow the wind to whistle through it is a bit much to suffer through when there is no point of suffering. So, we just go the warmer months, and they took our cue and began closing November through February. They already had one this year in March, but the one last night is the first one for the year we have been to – and it was cold. It was a warm day, but rainy and stormy. We didn’t expect it to be cold and didn’t dress accordingly but since we were there anyway we decided to stick it out and glad we did, the music was great.

It is free if you want it to be. They pass a bucket around. We usually put a five dollar bill in it, which we did last night. They have electronic expenses and some upkeep expense, so the money is needed to keep it going.

The barn in located on what was once a big family farm. A nice “home place” house with a nice yard and several nice shade trees. The City of Acworth bought it turned it into a park. About a hundred feet from the house is the barn that the concerts are held in, and the house and barn sit on top of a hill. At the bottom of the hill is a large pond that at one time I would think the live stock would come and get their water. However now, there is a big spewing off fountain of water in the middle of it. Which kind of takes away from the rustic farm look. And next to it is what was the pasture, but now is a paved walk around the perimeter of the pasture/now soccer field.

I said the concerts are the 2nd Saturday of each warm month. On the 4th Saturday night they have jam sessions under the trees in front of the home place house. We attended those several times and are very interesting for music reasons and people watching. I finally figured out that at these jam sessions is when the groups discover each other and form their own groups. Like someone with a banjo might arrive and stand and listen to one of the groups and decide the group doesn’t have the music chemistry he wants to be part of and move on to the next group…. There, he might like what they are doing and asks if he can join in… which he does, and how he is accepted or not accepted I don’t know. Its not my problem.

People of all kinds show up as players and audience. There are old country people, young rednecks, young trendy yuppies, and kids running all over the place.

The stage is an old flatbed trailer with wheels. They have stage lights that can be controlled to make them strong, weak, redirect, and all that stuff. However, the same person who controls the lights also controls the sound system, and the recordings. Afterwards he makes CDs of the group and goes home and makes duplicates and they are available next time.

The performers are people who love music and haven’t quit their day job. Most of them are very dedicated musicians. The only award they get is to rap with fellow music makers and a clapping audience. There are some players who are obviously professional kind of people, and some that have a non-pretentious way about them and worn clothes that you would think they are mechanics, roofers, and other kind of hands-on kinds of jobs. What I get a pleasure of they are not dressed pretentious, like say, Roy Rogers’ group would be dressed, or even The Pips. These people, some even have little sewed in name-tags kind of uniform shirts. They are the salt of the earth and pretend nothing else.

The overseer is a guy named Jim who works is a route insecticide man. He is the second one to be in charge. Before him was a guy name Stan. Jim plays the bass fiddler and fills in with that if needed for some bands but he also hustles around to make sure the groups, usually 4 or 5 a night, come on time.

Jim was a huge man and could hardly walk. Now, he had his stomach reduced in size and he looks much differently now. He did weigh I bet near 400 pounds now he probably weights 200. But it came with a price. He doesn’t have the deep voice he used to project, now it is slightly above a whisper. Either his lungs were effected by reduction or his energy was, I can’t figure out which.

Their concession stand is a unique. Behind them they have a pork roast of some kind on an outdoor grill keeping warm and also keeping that good old bbq smell in the air, they have cornbread and beans, and hot dogs and hamburgers, pre-made and oh-yeah, a southern special: boiled peanuts.

The whole place kind of reminds me of a watering hole for different walks of life and sometimes natural enemies.

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