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Friday, June 11, 2010


scott freeman and willard gayheart

Another music event tonight at the Front Porch, Woodlawn, VA. Scott Freeman and Willard Gayheart made music together. Scott's daughter, Dori, sang 2 songs beautifully. Scott and Willard play at the Blue Ridge Music Center on the Parkway Mon-Thu, 10-3. I must get out there to see them one day this week. They've been making music together 20 or more years. Scott and Willard were playing music together as Skeeter & the Skidmarks when Scott got to know his wife, Jill, not knowing she was Willard's daughter. One of the songs they played tonight was Jill's Waltz, an instrumental composition of Scott's.
Willard makes pencil drawings of musicians and mountain people of all ages and generations. The walls of the gallery are covered with Willard's drawings. He has prints made of them, signed and numbered, goes around to different town festival type things with a booth. He has a lot of his prints out in people's houses all over the country. Just about everyone knows his name in relation to his pencil drawings, and just about only musicians know he's an excellent musician, songwriter and singer. Willard can pick a guitar too. He throws off on himself, he only plays rhythm, he can't do much. He doesn't strum. Willard picks rhythm. Once in awhile he'll go off and play lead for a short spell and he can really do it. I like watching Willard's left hand. He pushes the strings down and releases them, giving him the sound he likes. He's been playing a Henderson guitar for 20 years. I watched him changing chords with every lick, not even making an effort to go fast. He sits relaxed as somebody doing Barr chords and strumming Louie, Louie in a bar the millionth time. Willard's fingers make chords as easily as a thought. He doesn't even think about them any more. They just go where they need to be next. Scott knows Willard is a good picker, too.
I noticed Willard's picking at Alternate Roots shows. I think I went to 15. The last one was their last show, and it happened at the Carter Fold, Hiltons VA, on the AP Carter Highway just off 58. If I remember correctly, which, chances are, I probably do not. Jean and I went. It's all right. It makes a good story. I like that part of the mountains, the Clinch Mountains. I noticed there were seldom any new houses anywhere in that area. I thought of it as the next place to go when this region is overrun with suburbanites. They'd follow me there, too. I'll not blaze a trail there to draw attention to it. One thing the mountain people like about the flatlanders believing a lot of the nonsense they believe about hillbillies, it keeps them away. Hooray. No better place for them than someplace else. I'd driven quite a ways before I noticed there were no new houses. Though maybe the new houses were away from Hwy 58, off in subdivisions with views.
Willard playing with the band just stood there at the mic for the guitar and picked rhythm. Didn't look like he was doing anything fancy, and he wasn't. He was picking rhythm. Relaxed. He would sing several songs in a concert, never miss a lick on his guitar. Willard's fingers are loaded with subtleties dealing with the strings. Like I said, he's had a Henderson guitar 20 years. That's how long ago he outgrew a Martin. Willard can pick. Pickin in the frame shop with Scott, Willard never did any pickin that called attention to itself. He knew how to go off picking lead, the string work, and sounded very good, but kept it short. It was not a guitar solo that said Here I Am! It was pickin that made the audience listen with respect.

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