After I approved the 2nd Proof of my book yesterday, Edition One Books has now confirmed that this book is now in the printing process and will arrive at my house within 3-4 weeks! That means it will be here this Summer and I will be sending the pre-paid books off first thing and then marketing the rest via concerts at the Song of the Mountains in Marion and hopefully at the Galax Fiddlers Convention in Galax and at a book release concert yet to be announced!
This has been a very long and intense journey of many interviews, portraits, concerts, travel, learning new software, overcoming computer crashes, power outages, illnesses, every day life and unknown crazy obstacles that I could never see coming!! But, I never once felt like giving up for one second! This book has been the most gratifying project I have ever undertaken as an artist and I am very proud to announce that it has reached its completion!
I hope you all, who have followed this journey with me, is as excited and proud as I am! I have felt your support and encouragement all along the way and it has kept me sane and motivated, so I thank you most sincerely!
I plan to post a shop here on this site and also one on my Facebook page and my photography site and so you will have plenty of ways in which to purchase!
Now I am working on updating the accompanying CD because I have had a few other musicians want to join in the music! I am adding Dale Morris, Elizabeth & her Mom Sandy Laprelle, Jim Lloyd and me! Yes, that last one is a shocker to me as well! I recently won 2nd place in our Chatauqua festival Song competition and so I was encouraged to put my song 'Golden Cage' on the CD. I am very shy about my singing so this takes a brave act of courage for me! Ha!
Okay folks, I will be back to announce the arrival of the books with pictures and maybe a video of me opening the box!
Thank you all for your kindness and patience!
So, here it is September 2018 and I am still working on my book ! I won't go into all the gory details , but I will just say that I had no idea how time consuming such a book project would be ! I have added a few more interviews and portraits and even updated a few , at the artist request. There have been illnesses, power outages and ,of course working to keep paying the bills and all other time consuming aspects of a life !
One of the obstacles was the printer asking me to use InDesign , because that is what their printer works the best with and we all want things to go smoothly of course ! Took me about 4 months to get a handle on that software to feel comfortable with my page designs and such. I now have 50 pages out of 200 done, so its full speed ahead ! With the exception of keeping my photography business afloat , I plan to speed every open hour that I possibly can fit in, working on this book !!
I am very happy with the layout and work flow and the fact that I am actually working on it page by page now in type and not long hand, is huge progress ! It took me many months to write down all the recorded interviews and so glad they are done and ready to go into text!
I am also wanting to put out a new CD for the book and adding Jim Lloyd , Dale Morris and me, if I can get the nerve ! Ha! So all of you , who ordered will be getting the new CD with the book !
Anyway, thank you to all who continue to show patience, support and understanding in this journey ! I have received many kind emails and messages from folks saying they are behind me all the way and look forward to having this book in their hands !
I look forward to that day as well !!
Thank you all so much !! Love to y'all !!
So happy to say , that after a lot of education on how to launch a fund raiser and then , how to build the site via 'Indiegogo' that I finally have the campaign launched !
Please follow this link to help support the printing of this book I have worked so hard on for so many years!! I promise you it will be a worthy investment , and for those who aren't interested in owning the book, I am also offering T-shirts, posters and many other perks for you to purchase and help me meet my goal. I thank you all very kindly and hope to make y'all proud !
Trying to decide' on a cover, has proved to be, one of the hardest things about this project ! I mean it has to convey the 'meat' of the book and also be visually pleasing on the shelf for folks walking into a gift shop or book store!
Of course I knew I wanted a woman at the clothesline and an old farm house. I tossed around the idea of folks playing instruments on the porch or snapping beans etc, but I had a hard time scheduling a photo session because of weather and folks schedules. So, I went through my pix for this project and found one I loved of Lisa Hackler (sister-in-law to the Wassums who own the farm ) and so this felt right as a nod to the family and also the very place where I did 90% of my portraits and interviews for this project ! I had to photoshop the clothesline close to the house to insure it fit well on the cover, and to me, it looks more homey and cozy like this.
I showed my ideas to my Facebook crowd and got many suggestions. A good one was to turn LIsa to face the house and brighten the house paint, for it to look more 'lived in', So I made these changes and it does look more pleasing.
I will probably make a few more, but for now , I am pretty happy with the looks of it and hope you are too!
A couple of months ago, I did get to finally find a videographer , which I hired to come out and do the fund raiser video! Drew Robinson of channel 7 news came out and he did a great job!
We shot the video at The Reed Creek Farm and Kay Justice, agreed to come out and 'sing at the clothesline' and then join Quinten Boyles on the porch to play guitar and sing. I think the video captures the feeling that I wanted to portray about our Appalachian Music from the past and how it is still being passed on to our children. ( I wish I could have found a child for the video, but didn't want to continue with always putting things off until never never land )
I am now hard at work on the Fund Raiser perks and uploads for the site there. I have decided to use 'Indegogo' simply because it was recommended and the musicians seem to use it, a lot, for the CD projects.
I will continue to finish interviews and portraits during this fund raising process and , of course, hope to raise enough to make this all a reality ! It has been a huge commitment of time, passion, faith and hard work . But it has all been work that I love and very meaningful to me, and hopefully to you!
Thank you for your continued interest and patience.
Hope to make ya proud!
I drove out to Lenoir last Sunday to visit Ginny McJunkin, whom I stumbled across on Facebook last year and just fell in love with her authentic Old Time Mountain sound ! This Gal is the 'real deal' as they say !
Her little dog 'Cody' was quite the barker, and she figured he wasn't gonna let ua for the likes of me! Ha!
But first we headed across the street to this old abandoned building. She said an old man used to live in it, but we figured it was most likely an old store, when it was first built .
I wanted to climb those stairs and do her portrait from there, but good sense grabbed a hold of me, as it sometimes does when you get older , and we stayed on solid ground. It got to raining pretty hard, but we managed to get some pretty cute pix of her , her old hat and her Alvarez guitar. We had quite a few laughs too!
I had a great old time chatting with her and Burl, at his place ,and , not only did we talk about music , but the harsh discipline of the old days and the hard work ! Ginny , had 11 siblings (now down to three) and they farmed, made fern baskets and others crafts to make a living. Ginny started playing at age 12 and even rode the Daniel Boone wagon train (Google this , its fascinating ) with Doc Watson and many other musicians of that era. Ginny said , she was shy like me about singing, but when she started playing in the bands and at the pubs , she figured somebody ought to be singing ! She said she was surprised that folks enjoyed her voice, as she thought she weren't no good! Now Ginny is a wonderful singer in the style of pure mountain organic sound that is true to her region ! You know the sound Im a talking bout, without having to explain it, now don't ya!
If you want to hear the beautiful songs she has written, just look for her on Youtube or Facebook! She writes from her childhood experience and , if you are from here, you will certainly relate !
I wish I could have stayed and played with her , and listened to more stories, but it was getting late and I had to get back home! I ended up getting the BeJesus scared outta me (or into me ) on top of the big mountain on route 18, where my GPS decided to test my courage! The fog was as thick as driving through creme of potato soup ( as Granny used to say !) All I could see was the little reflectors on the yellow line! I was never so happy to get into Independence, where the fog finally lifted and I could see my way home!
Was it worth it to meet Ginny? Damn straight it was !
We feel like family now! She is such a dear heart!
If you are from Appalachia , and love the music here, then you most certainly know the origin of the banjo . The banjo originated in Africa and was brought to our region during the arrival of slaves . This music naturally was shared and became a part of our local 'old time ' music , just as the fiddle made its way from Europe and the guitar from Spain. Our music is a true melting pot of different cultures resulting in what we now see as our very own mountain music.
Of course I wanted to ensure that my book acknowledged where our banjo music came from and so I began my search for black musicians , willing to become a part of this project. I soon found 18 year old Tray Wellington, who plays 3 finger style banjo , and recently won first place at the Galax Fiddler Convention this Summer ! He also plays for the band, Cane Mill Road. (Whom I recently did promo pix and a CD cover for their first album !) I wish them the best!
Tampa Enoch Reese, pictured above, I found quite by a pleasant accident while looking at Instagram ! I was so delighted with her humble kind spirit and her true old time claw hammer style , that I asked her to please be in my book ! She was hesitant because of her modesty , but I was so happy she decided to take part! We really connected during her interview at Reed Creek and have continued to stay in touch ! One of my favorite benefits of working on this project , is not only the join of meeting such amazing musicians , but the blessing of new friendships that are priceless !
Thank you Tampa and Tray for agreeing to take part ! I am truly grateful for your contribution to my project and to our local music! Keeping the music alive !!
So I have decided this is my last season for interviews before this book becomes an encyclopedia of Appalachian Musicians! Ha!
I am having some trouble getting my last few folks to find the time for the required sessions and just may have to go forward without a few folks I was hoping for. But, of course I will continue to pursue them and hope for the best!
One of the most important elements of this book I will be sure not to ignore , is to include the contributions of our African American musicians ! Without their significant presence in our culture and history we would not even have mountain music, the way we know it ! The banjo, of course , is an African instrument, which has almost become a symbol of Appalachian music , and of course, where would we be without the soul of the blues in our music ?
I am hard at work now, trying to locate some of our local black musicians and hopefully they will want to take part in this project! I really don't want to put a book out about our music and make it about just white folks, as that would be a great injustice to our true history and heritage.
Been a hot summer so far with plenty of rain in the evening, which has caused some rescheduling , but of course we need the rain and it sure cools us off at night! Really enjoyed the 'Buck Moon' last night from my back porch ! I do not live out in the country, but I am fortunate that my porch provides a nice view of the moon rising every night and I enjoy the sight with my little dog and , of course ,some of our mountain music playing on the radio !
I will continue to update my project! Thanks for your interest!
Picture below is the Reed Creek Farm, where I have been doing many of my interviews ! Thanks again to the Wassum Family !
Martha Spencer has agreed to be part of this project and I am very excited to have her take part ! Martha comes from a musical family heritage and is a dynamic porformer ! Martha sings, and clogs and plays several instruments. She truly has the down home Appalachian authentic sound , look and background and I love that about her !
I am also hoping to interview her Momma, Emily , as that's where Martha got most of her learning , I am quite sure .
Othet upcoming interviews are with Carole Seese, who is Jayne Hendersons Momma and certainly deserves a chapter in this book ! I got to meet her and Jayne a few Summers ago and hang out with them, and we had a blast taking pictures at Jaynex Grannies and then , we went to North Jefferson to eat, which was all such fun.
Stevie Barr and his Momma will also be coming to the farm for an interview . I interviews Stevie's Daddy at the fiddle shop, but really want to include his Mom and ,of course , Stevie himself . We chatted on the phone and he shared some wonderful family history with me ! Can't wait to hear more '
Oh yes, and Dori Freeman will be I added as soon as she gets some breathing space ! Her new album is such a hit that she been very busy with new converts , gigs and other interviews. So very happy for her success , I have always loved her voice !
That leads me to her Daddy, Scott Freeman, and her granddaddy Willard Gayheart ! I am so blessed to know these folks and extra blessed that they want to take part in Singing At The Clothesline !
I am be back with updates so y'all stay tuned ! Thanks so much for visiting !
I'm Susi Lawson, a local Photographer who loves Appalachian Music and this book is a dream-project dear to my heart that I hope to see come true!