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The Johnson Family Band Of Sand Mountain

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Published on Jul 23, 2012

Putting this video together has been a very joyful; bittersweet, and nostalgic journey back through time for me, and it is certainly one I never would have foreseen myself making. This video is a look back at my great grandparents family and their musical heritage. As I child, I grew up very aware of my family's musical background. Being so accustomed to live music at family gatherings, and music itself being a very integral part of my life, I couldn't imagine my life with out it - nor could I imagine it being absent from anyone's family for that matter. I thought everyone had bluegrass bands in their families! And I also thought that everyone's granddad made fiddles as well. At a young age, I took a lot of things for granted, and didn't exude much appreciation for "what I had". And as ashamed as I am to admit it, there was even a time I shunned my own family's musical heritage, because I didn't think it was hip or "couture" enough for my "sophisticated" tastes. But as you grow up, you mature, and you start to see things through different eyes. I realized that when my great grandmother Pluma Kuykendall Johnson passed away in 1987, that that was certainly the end of a chapter of my life. How I loved that woman! Grandmother's house was my refuge; my retreat; my home away from home, and there I lived the carefree life...and I was a champion snooper! Oh, that back room of the house where she kept all that neat, old junk was my stomping ground, just as it had been for the other generations of grandkids before me -- including my mother! Grandmother never seemed to mind. As a matter of fact she would even act as my lookout for when my aunt (her daughter) would show up to bring her the groceries...and then my fun was over!

Even though I did go through some "bad patches" in my life, I never forgot my roots, and I never underestimated or disrespected the wisdom of my elders. Having always had such an endearing love for older generations and history, it has allowed me to be able to connect with older persons that members of my own generation would find otherwise very difficult.

About four years ago, The Johnson Family Band was inducted into the country music hall of fame. It wasn't until a special exhibit was held in Fort Payne Alabama, that I realized the full depth of my family's musical roots and their impact in the realm of bluegrass music. My interest's were then peaked, and it actually took a local Bluegrass Band by the name of "The Gary Waldrep Band" - who was originally inspired by The Johnson Family Band - to turn me on to this genre of music. I know...strange right?

This video contains carefully selected extracts from their Albertville Alabama radio shows. The original audio was so badly muffled that hardly any detail could be heard, and sung and spoken word was totally indecipherable. I managed to clean up the audio quite a bit and I quite pleased with the result. I wasn't able to remove all artifacts, but in away I think it would take away from its charm had this been an option. The photos contained herein are from various sources and have been identified to the best of my ability. I hope you enjoy.

The Playlist is as follows:

1:00 The Chamber's Rag
2:12 Drifting And Dreaming
4:39 Turkey In The Straw
6:59 Where The Soul Never Dies
8:51 Arkansas Traveler
11:13 Black Mountain Rag
13:08 Hide The Rock Of Ages
17:02 Turkey In The Straw (Reprise - end of show)

There is going to be a special exhibit on August 4, 2012 in Albertville, Alabama as part of the Main Street Music Festival. The exhibit will include several artifacts and several fiddles made by my great grandfather Adas, and My uncle Guy Johnson. There will also be musical performances by artist such as Jim Connor and Flying Jenny and myself. There will also be story telling and even a fiddle making demonstration. If you would like more information on this event, please visit: www.cityofalbertville.com/191/albertville-museum

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