On Saturday Jennifer and I, along with our friends Larry and Emily took another friend Karen out to celebrate her birthday. What better place to take a music lover in this area than to R.A. Fountain.
R.A. Fountain is a little general store out in the small town of Fountain, NC. It has just what any music lover needs. It is a small intimate setting where musicians and the audience can interact. The acts range from big name folk and bluegrass musicians to local musicians. Last year we met the Carolina Chocolate drops there a few weeks before they played Merlefest.
We performed a celtic show the next month at R.A Fountain with Jennifer Licko. Playing at Fountain is always a blast. The hardwood plank floors, high celing and intimate atmosphere adds a richness and natural tone to any acoustic set. Rather than feeling seperated or cut off from the audience, performers at Fountain can feel at one with the audience and everyone is able to interact with one another, something that is not a possibility at many venues. Another bonus is that everything in the store is for sale. Do you like the seat you are sitting on while watching a show? Then take it home, it is most likely for sale. An interesting note: each of the musicians gets to sign a part of a musical instrument hanging on the wall behind where the bands play. Next time you're there, check for our signatures! :)
This blog entry isn't actually suppose to be about R.A. Fountain however, it is about the group of pickers we saw that night. The group calls themselves the Carolina Yellowhammers. The group was inspired to call themselves this after the 1920's band the Georgia Yellow Hammers and also as a nod to the train that used to run through these parts.
Performing as the Carolina Yellowhammers on Saturday was Frankie Harrison on mandolin, John Booker on bass, and Lightnin' Wells on guitar. Joining them on Banjo and Dobro was Clyde Maddux.
Karen, Emily and Larry had been to see the Yellowhammers in the past a few times, and seeing as though they were playing at Fountain around Karen's birthday, it was obvious how we would be celebrating the evening.
Lightnin' Wells is known for his bluesy sound and Frankie Harrison is known to burn it up on the mandolin. With the solid backing of on bass by John Booker this group has all the dynamics it takes to facinate audiences all night. With Clyde Maddux joining them for the evening, there was nobody going home early that night.
The evening was chock-full of tradtinal folk songs telling stories of days gone by, blues tunes that will bring a tear to any eye, and fast picking bluegrass numbers to rev you back up at full speed. One of the most memorable moments of the evening was when Wells told the humorious story about the first time he and Maddux met many years ago, a meeting that Maddux doesn't even remember--or at least claims not to.
Should you be searching the show times at R.A. Fountain at this address www.rafountain.com and run across a date in which the Carolina Yellowhammers are playing, pay for those reserved seats and gear up for a amazing show. Plus, you never know who else might be jamming with them that evening.