On Feb. 5, the Old Time Music and Bluegrass Jam was held at the Mountain Heritage Center auditorium. This pickin’ good time has been going on once a month since November, and continues until March. There are no tickets required, and admission is free. Yes, I said free. The Mountain Heritage Center is located right behind the traffic circle in front of the WCU campus. The Heritage Center has a very interesting museum filled with artifacts and archeological displays from various Western North Carolina areas. Not only can you find these here, you can also catch some killer free shows and exhibits.
This month’s feature was a Vance Trull, an expert fiddler who has toured with country music legend George Jones. They played several awesome versions of old time classics, like the “Orange Blossom Special.” Two WCU students sang a couple of numbers with Vance, and his band highlighted the event.
In between songs, Trull told some pretty entertaining stories about his years touring. At 71 years old, he has had some very interesting moments and is a living country music history book. I thought it was especially cool that he remembers Hank Williams Jr. at the young age of five, clinging to his mother, while he was touring with Hank Sr.
He mentioned that he got the opportunity to start playing with Jones when his first bass player dropped out during a performance. Jones was apparently drunk at the time and asked “Who the hell are you?” Trull remained with him from then on.
After the concert, the stage opened up to an open jam session. Many students and non-students came from the audience to the stage, all toting their instruments. Several Banjos, a couple of mandolins, a guitar or two, a stand up bass and another fiddle all took the stage and started tuning up. All together, there where about 15 musicians on stage. The tuning noise quickly became a cohesive, free-flowing sound that was complemented by two cloggers.
The calendar for the Mountain Heritage Center can be found at http://www.wcu.edu/2398.asp. There are plenty of very worthwhile learning and entertainment opportunities available here, all free to the public. It’s just a short walk from class, and there are some pretty cool things happening inside.