Charlie McCarroll is a strong, serious, and powerful fiddler. At age 74, he continues to play expertly in a style only barely more modern. Since the recent reissue of the classic 1928 recordings of the Roane County Ramblers, Charlie is attracting attention for his own mastery of the repertoire of his father, the great Southern Champion fiddler Jimmy McCarroll. Charlie says, “Daddy played a little different than me. He never did learn none of that grass.” Charlie often performs locally with multi-instrumentalist Tony Thomas and has recently earned well-deserved attention on both WBIR’s Heartland Series and WDVX’s Music of the Cumberland Trail. Even today, as younger players instantly download and scrutinize styles and repertoire from far-flung regions, performers, and time periods, Charlie’s vast storehouse of tunes, earned through diligence, in face-to-face interaction, is beginning to thrill and fascinate followers and students of old-time fiddling. Though reserved and modest, Charlie bends to no fiddler, remaining ever ready to put his breakneck, hard-driving facilities to the test.
Listen to Charlie McCarroll perform “Green River March” and “Hometown Blues“:
At age 51, Russ Wilson, of Speedwell, is one the youngest musicians in Tennessee to have learned old-time fiddling from a family member. Tutored during annual visits and on a flow of reel-to-reel teaching tapes, young Russ learned almost note-for-note from his masterful third cousin, Fiddlin’ Bob Rogers, who emigrated to Los Angeles where he become a sought-after square dance musician. With his studied, but graceful, style, Russ quickly emerged as an old-time fiddling force. As a teen, Russ traveled to contests throughout the region, frequently besting the competition and eventually earning a fiddle case full of top-tier ribbons. Though nurtured in firmly traditional practices, Russ cultivates a deep curiosity and well-attuned ear to music-making from an array of performers and regions. Along with fiddling, Russ has also developed a distinguishing style on the dobro and flattop guitar. Whatever the instrument, though, of late, he mostly performs the old way, at home, intimately, surrounded by family members and friends. Along with his mother Lou Wilson-herself a regional ballad singing treasure-Russ often welcomes neighbors and visitors to his Powell Valley home place for refreshing afternoons of fiddling, singing, laughter, and conversation. With this flawless rural setting as his “stage,” Russ rarely fiddles in formal performance venues.
Listen to Russ Wilson perform “Buttermilk“:
Fiddlin’ Bob Douglas‘ of Rhea County, TN was a celebrated musician in the lower end of the Cumberland Trail corridor for over eight decades. He began his musical career as the guitar accompanist for his father, fiddler Tom Douglas, and the two played for local square dances throughout the Sequatchie Valley region and along the Cumberland Plateau. After watching his father, Douglas taught himself to play fiddle and landed a job on the first radio station in Chattanooga.
Douglas won several important fiddle contests, beating out professional players such as Clayton McMichen and Bert Layne, of the well-known old time band, Gid Tanner and the Skillet Lickers, at the All-Southern Convention in Chattanooga. When Douglas became a band leader, he hired the two young brothers from Sand Mountain, TN, Ira and Charlie Loudermilk, who became better known as the Louvin Brothers.
Unlike other early country musicians on local radio, Bob Douglas chose to remain a semi-professional in the Chattanooga area rather than tour and turn professional. He kept his factory job, but played continuously for regional dance, radio programs, and social performances. In 1975 he was invited to participate in a National Fiddle Contest sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. Douglas won the contest along with his long time partner, guitarist Ray “Georgia Boy” Brown, of Dunlap, Tennessee.
In 2000, Douglas became the first 100-year-old fiddler to play on the Grand Ole Opry. He died at age 101 in 2001.
Listen to Bob Douglas perform “Cotton-Eyed Joe“:
Fiddlin’ Bob Rogers, born in 1907, stood for decades as the premier fiddler from the Powell Valley in Claiborne County, Tennessee. Born into a musical family, Bob, or “Og” as he was known to friends and family, grew up immersed in an environment rich with old-time fiddle music. After learning his first tune, “Maggie,” from his mother, Bob worked as a young man to craft his own beautiful and powerful fiddling style. At his peak, Bob’s refreshing sound reflected a preference for arpeggiation and melodic integrity, relying less, as such, on the droning technique common in much traditional playing. Active in East Tennessee’s music scene until the late 1940s, Bob moved to California in his thirties to work as a welder. Once on the West coast, he also started his own highly successful square dance band and played at various venues, including, most notably, the Crystal Ballroom in Hollywood, CA five nights a week. In 1958, Bob and his band recorded several commercial square dance 78rpms. The records sold so well that venues stopped hiring Bob’s band, relying instead on his popular recordings. Over time, Bob, frustrated with these circumstances, rid himself of any of his own recordings; luckily, though, his second cousin, Lou Wilson, did keep copies dubbed onto several cassette tapes. These survive with her to this day. Bob also made many instructional tapes for his cousin Russ Wilson, the only member of the family to be a direct “student” of this master teacher.
After Bob retired from welding, he spent several weeks each summer visiting and jamming with his friends and relatives back in Speedwell. During these summer shindigs he passed on many of his fiddle licks and tune repertoire–around 700 tunes–to his kinfolks. By the mid-1970s, Bob’s health kept him from traveling to Tennessee. He passed away in the early 1980s. Bob Rogers’s fiddling legacy lives on, though, in the playing of his cousin Russ Wilson and in the lineage of fiddlers in California that were lucky enough to experience his rare encyclopedic knowledge of traditional music.
Listen to Bob Rogers peform “Cumberland Gap“:
Laurel-Snow State Natural Area will be closed Monday June 12 through Thursday June 15 while TDOT works on paving the road. We appreciate your continued patience while we make improvements to the park.
This week we’ll be coming live from WDVX studios in Clinton, Tennessee to bring you selections from the Sharp family of Fentress County. Documentarian & photographer Rachel Boillot will join us to chat a bit about Evelene Sharp & we’ll play some of Evelene’s home recordings.
The Sharp family music traditions are the subject of a two-volume compilation released by Sandrock Recordings called Sharp’s Hornpipe. You can purchase both volumes on CDBaby.com:
Volume 2: The Sharp Family Recordings
To listen in, turn your dial to 89.9fm in the greater Knoxville area or visit https://wdvx.com/listen-live/ to listen online.
The Cumberland Trail State Scenic Trail will conduct public meetings on:
Tuesday, May 9, 2017
6:30 – 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time
Spring City Public Library Annex
169 West Rhea Ave. Spring City, TN
Friday, May 12, 2017
6:30 – 8:00 p.m. Central Time
Homestead Harvest Restaurant Cumberland Mountain State Park
Conference Room A
24 Office Dr. Crossville, TN
Monday, May 15, 2017
1:00 – 3:30 p.m. Eastern Time
Rhea County Welcome Center
107 Main St. Dayton, TN
The meetings will discuss the State Park’s intent to submit an application for to the State of Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation for a Land and Water Conservation Fund Grant (LWCF) and to solicit input from the citizens regarding recreational needs within the State Park, State Natural Areas, and State Scenic Trail.
The public is urged to attend. Tennessee State Parks does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap or national origin. The meeting place is handicap accessible. Any person needing special accommodations should contact Cumberland Trail State Scenic Trail (423) 566-2229 prior to each of the above stated time.
We’d like to thank Oak Ridge Troop 328 Scout Curtis Robertson for his Eagle Project, installing CT Privy One at the Head of Sequatchie! Curtis brought a crew to perform the work on Saturday, April 29th, and finished just in time to make it to prom!
Thank you Curtis & crew for helping us out with this important milestone!
Q:How many tickets are available? CAn YOu HOld tickets? Will you have enough for my family/friends? CAn We Buy Tickets on the Day of the Event?
Because of limited parking space, and because we want to keep our programs a reasonable size for our space, only offered 300 paid admissions.
We’ve started a waiting list here. If tickets become available, we’ll offer them to folks on the waiting list by order of registration.
Q: How Will I Know if My tickets Are REserved?
After you complete your PayPal donation, you should be returned to a “Thank You” page on our website. You’ll also receive a confirmation email from PayPal and an email from us. Check your junk or spam folder, and also add firstname.lastname@example.org to your address list.
If you received a PayPal confirmation, your tickets are reserved, but we want to make sure you’re in the loop as we make event announcements and send instructions via email, so please let us know if you didn’t receive your confirmation from us. If you haven’t received a notification, get in touch with Marcianne O’Day at the park office email@example.com and she will be able to confirm if your tickets are reserved.
Q: How Will I receive My Ticket(s)?
We’re using the term “ticket” loosely. We’ll have staff at the gate checking folks in as they enter the event using a list of those who have paid admission. Closer to the date, we’ll be sending out an email with more instructions and you can print that and bring it as confirmation. If you’re on the list, you’ll be able to enter and if you’d made your admission donation, you’re on the list.
Q: Where is the Head of Sequatchie?
The Head of Sequatchie is located about 25 minutes from Crossville, Tennessee in Cumberland County. Cell service is a bit spotty, so make sure to have a look at a map & driving directions in advance. It’s not hard to find, once you’ve been there, but first-timers who rely on cellphone navigation sometimes get turned around. You can find navigation help here: driving directions, google maps, open street maps.
Q: Is the event pet-friendly?
We love your pets! Please follow normal park rules– leash your pet & be sure to clean up after them.
Q: Is the event KID-friendly?
The entire event is family-friendly and kids under the age of 12 are free with ticketed adult supervision. However, unless specified as a kids program (creek walk, scavenger hunt, kids crafts) our educational programs are designed to appeal to a general audience. Children will be welcome to all the programs, but should be accompanied by an adult who can gauge their interest level and attention span, and help them enjoy the program appropriately.
Q: Can I bring outside food & drinks?
We’ll have food and drink available for sale during the event with proceeds benefiting the trail, but if you have special dietary needs, you’re welcome to bring your own meal & snacks.
Q: What should I bring?
Bring a lawn or camp chair or a picnic blanket, sunscreen, bug spray & a water bottle. We’re expecting it to be hot & humid and we want to make sure everyone is well-hydrated. If you’ll be going on the hikes, bring some supportive closed-toe shoes as well.
Q: What programs will be offered?
We’re still working out our schedule for the day, but we’ve confirmed that we’ll have live music, ranger-led hikes and a creek program, a photo booth, an introduction to orienteering, native plants, a geology talk, archeology & prehistory, primitive weaponry, Tennessee history, trailbuilding demonstration, scavenger hunt, photography, kids crafts & more to be announced.
Q: What If it’s cloudy? Rainy?
Sadly, we can’t control the weather, but hopefully it will be good!
Even if we can’t view it directly, we’ll be able to observe changes in the natural environment that occur during the eclipse. And, all our programs throughout the day will continue as planned.
In the event of rain, we’ll make modifications and carry on as best we can. If conditions on-site are unsafe, our safety & security officer will make a call and we’ll act according to safety best practices.
Q: Can I Get a Refund? What is your Cancellation Policy?
We can refund on admission donations up until August 11th. This will allow us to offer your tickets to someone on our waiting list. After the 11th, we will have incurred expenses that depend on a specific headcount and we need to make sure we can cover those out of event proceeds. If you’d like to “re-home” your tickets after the 11th, send us the name of the folks who will be attending in your place (firstname.lastname@example.org), and we’ll update your entry on our list at the gate so they can enter and enjoy the festivities.
**Event is Sold Out**
Join the Cumberland Trail State Scenic Trail and the Friends of the Cumberland Trail for an exclusive viewing of the solar eclipse! The Head of Sequatchie is in the path of totality!
Partial phase starts at 12:02 pm (CDT)
Totality phase starts at 1:30 pm (CDT)
Duration of Totality phase is 2 minutes and 39 seconds
Admission donation includes:
- Pair of eclipse glasses
- 2017 membership to the Friends of the Cumberland Trail
- Live music by Ed Brown & The Cumberland Band, and Fiddler Bob Townsend & Friends.
- All-day Family-friendly programs (under-12 admitted free with an adult):
- Ranger-led hikes & creek walk
- Tennessee history
- Scavenger hunt
- Primitive weaponry
- Native plants
- Tennessee Horse-mounted patrol
- Kids crafts
Vendors will be on-site to provide food and merchandise.
All proceeds benefit the Cumberland Trail State Scenic Trail.
Only 200 tickets will be available, so get them while they last!
Questions? Visit our event FAQ to get answers!
Per TWRA, hiking is allowed during scheduled hunts, but vehicle traffic is not allowed through the WMA during turkey, deer, or hog control hunts.
During scheduled hunts, hikers must wear blaze orange according to TWRA specifications.
There is no overnight parking on any WMA in the state, including the Devil’s Breakfast Table trailhead. Vehicles left there are subject to being towed.
It is the responsibility of each hiker to know & follow the rules set forth by TWRA. Consult the latest Hunting & Fishing guide for more details.
The Cumberland Trail State Scenic Trail has announced 2017 open dates for the Head of Sequatchie, site of some of the most beautiful hidden treasures of the Cumberland Trail. To read more about how you can enjoy the Head of Sequatchie, visit this page of FAQs.
- January 21st
- February 18th
- March 18th
- April 15th
- May 20th
- June 17th
- July 15th
- August 19th
- September 9th
- October 21st
- November 18th
- December 16th
Because of spotty reception in the area, relying on cellphone GPS to find the Head of Sequatchie is not recommended. See this link for thorough driving directions, as well as a map created by GIS specialist, Ranger Jim Brannon.