Sunday, June 11, 2006

Acworth Opry - again

Last night we went to the Acworth Opry in Acworth, Georgia, to settle down and listen to three hours of raw, amateur, non-pretentious bluegrass music.

I have mentioned the Acworth Opry more than once. It is an enjoyable thing to do once a month and doesn’t cost any more than you care to donate and an excellent place to people watch.

It is held at Logan’s Park in Acworth, which is in the northern most part of Cobb County, almost on the edge of Lake Allatoona.

The Opry is held in a barn on what was a farm. The City of Acworth bought this old farm and kept the farm look but added touches of their own. The big cow pond, they added a big fountain in the center that is always shooting water about 20 feet up into the air, which if cows had to drink out of that they might be a little scared and maybe less contented. There is a big oak and black walnut trees around a big home-place looking farmhouse. A big flat area which much have been a big pasture but now part of it converted into a parking lot and a playground with the remaining big field of grass, put a cement path around it for walkers.

It also has a huge barn with the City of Acworth stores some of their huge lawnmowers and other equipment in. Once a month they move some of the equipment outside to make room for the Acworth Opry… and that is when we show up, after the work is done.

It was very hot last night in that crowded barn and we sat there for hours listening to the groups. There were four groups and each group had 45 minutes stage time, except the last group which had a full hour.

By the way, the lead singer and spokesperson was a little bald headed runt who played the mandolin was a college professor by day.

Sometimes a group is bad but most times the group playing in good. After all, who wants to get in front of an audience to play if you know you are bad?

Most of the performers are non-pretentious kind of people that grew up in a household of gospel music or bluegrass. More times than not, some members of the performing groups are related.

And sometimes you have yuppies who studied bluegrass as a study – studying the science of the beat… it brings me to mind of one group, of mostly Yankees, mostly engineers or programmers.. they do a good job playing and singing, but their music doesn’t come from the heart, but from the study of the heart.

One of the performers named Jim I run into at Krogers Grocery Store from time to time. I have seen him get out of a insecticide truck with chemicals all over him. One time inside Krogers he asked me didn’t he know me and I said he probably seen me in the audience at the Acworth Opry. He smiled like he was talking to a groupie or someone stalking him and said his group was going to be “in-person” playing at a grand opening of a shopping center in Canton next week, if I wanted to see them.

I remember one time at an Acworth Opry show Jim was walking around in the audience handing out free CDs of his group. When he handed me one he said he made them himself and “It won’t play in your truck, just on regular CD players”. We got a kick out of that, he naturally assuming that everybody’s vehicle was a truck.

There is one group who is becoming semi-professional. On Monday nights they play at Johnny’s Barbecue in Powder Springs; Wednesday nights at Winston’s Pub, and they have a gig lined up at Cherokee Cattle Company restaurant. I enjoy watching them, they are somewhat rowdy and carefree and they play excellent music. On stage last night the lead spokesman said last week was the first time they were asked to leave while performing. It was in a nursing home. He ended by saying he understands now why their sons and daughters put them there.

They play with a good beat. While they were playing two women got up and danced all the area in front of the stage. They were very good dancing. One looked to be about 50 and the other one about 60 or over. The latter was gray headed.

On my way to the restroom outside one time the 60 plus lady was also walking to the bathroom and I commented her on her dancing. She said it got her out of breath but she really loved to “daaance like that.” And added that last Monday at Johnny’s Barbecue they let her play the tambourine.

Inside was hot. And I can’t sit still too long in one place anyway, so I got up and walked outside several times. There is always under the big trees by the homeplace house several groups jamming. They are always enjoyable to watch because they are relaxed and do not have to audience pressure on them.

On another trip outside I had a mission to go to the truck (true!) and get the water bottle which we didn’t think of when we got out. The truck was parking facing the big green field that the walk path was around. In the big field were Mexican teenage kids of all ages. As I got closer I realized they were playing an organized game of soccer. Not organized by the authorities, just organized among themselves – and all having a good time.

I thought this is nice. I think profile-wise a lot of people think Mexican teenagers as trouble makers and would naturally be up to no good on Saturday nights, which when we were teenagers we were more times than not – up to no good.



Blogger kenju said...

Sounds like a fun evening. I like some old bluegrass music - especially the stuff without singing. We used to watch Porter Waggoner and Flatt and Scruggs on TV in the 50's and I developed a liking for it then.

9:35 AM  
Blogger Steve said...

Porter Waggoner used to have some awesome suits...

In Helen, GA we heard a guy who played the dulcimer. he was absolutely fantastic. I could have stood to hear a lot moreof him. he was hawking CDs in a little shop. I didnt bite though cause i knew the effect would be lost if it was canned instead of seeing him.

10:40 AM  
Blogger ET said...

Yes, I like the bluegrass beat too. Back in the '70s in a coffee house in Atlanta we heard Earl Scruggs two sons play bluegrass. The were as good, if not better, than their daddy and Lester.
In my blog entry going to Dahlonegah I mentioned how good a group of dulcimer players were. It must be a rare instrument with rarer artists.

1:31 PM  

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