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Tri-County News
Kimball, Minnesota
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August 5, 2010     Tri-County News
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IllllEW IIJI|I[U]I]ulL|ilI|II]jHiIIIU|jJ.IIJI|,IlIIIltlMJILII, IIIAIUIIi F L* j.L, li.lll' j l LIJunau  _| I I  ':l!!If L li JiB .L]l , II], IU ] IL!JJLLI !HI lllujnnnmunulnjnujujJLm Mac and Jenny Traynham are a husband and wife duo that specializes in the early country duet style of singing and playing old-time coun- try and mountain music. They draw their reper- toire from a wide variety of sources from the Appalachian mountains of Virginia and beyond. Citing as their influences are well-known names from the genre such as the Original Carter Family, the Delmore Brothers and The Blue Sky Boys. On the other hand, they are at home with the old-time fiddle and banjo styles of their home area, Floyd County, in the southern Blue Ridge area of Virginia. Their main music style is a throwback to the Golden Era of American Country music when music from the tradition of the rural home atmosphere was discovered and put forth 'live' on radio programs daily across the entire country. The sound and songs of that time were preserved on 78 RPM record- ings which have been collected and re-released to be enjoyed and become sources for inspira- tion to a new generation like the Traynhams. Both Mac and Jenny are native to Virginia and have lived in the Southwest portion since the mid 70's. With strong backgrounds in reli- gious and old-time music, they began singing together in 1979 sharing an interest in learning selected songs primarily from the recordings of the early pioneers of country music. Over the years their repertoire has grown to include bal- lads, sweetheart songs, western, and gospel numbers. Banjo and fiddle tunes from the region are included as well. Beginning in 1981, they first publicly performed several songs on a live radio program at WBOB Galax Virginia host- ed by well-known radio host and fiddler's con- vention MC, Harold Mitchell. During the next few years they occasionally performed on the air at the famous WPAQ "Merry-Go-Round" program in Mt Airy, NC calling themselves 'The Southern Mountain Melody Makers'. In 1986 they released an LP of old-time and gospel duets with guitars entitled the '*Roses Bloom in Dixieland" on the Heritage label of Galax Va. Mac's old-time harmonica style learned from his father was featured on a couple of the numbers. As part-time musi- cians, they performed at a number of venues during the 1980's including the Brandywine mountain music convention, Carter Fold, and the National Folk Festival. In the 1992, they released a cassette entitled "The Sweetest Way Home". This recording again featured all duets; both secular and gospel backed with arch top and flattop guitars as well as mandolin on a few numbers. Liner notes were written by noted bluegrass DJ, Bill Vernon. In the 90's Mac and Jenny were instructors in duet and harmony singing at a number of summer music camps such as the Augusta Heritage Workshops in West Virginia, Pinewoods Folk Music Week in Massachusetts, and the Swannanoa Gathering in North Carolina. Mac himself is a well known instru- mentalist and has taught numerous workshops at music camps on old-time banjo and old-time fiddle playing. He has won various contest in the region including first place three times for his banjo playing at the prestigious Appalachian Stringband Festival held each August near Clifftop,West Virginia. Shay Garriock was raised in Virginia, and while growing up outside of Richmond he became close to a neighboring family from Texas who were "always listening to country music". He became a fan of the Country and Western genre during his later teen years and idolized Nashville icons such as Hank Williams, Conway Twitty, Merle Haggard, George Jones, Dolly Parton, and Buck Owens, among others. During this time he realized his love for the fid- dle sound and decided to start playing a violin that belonged to his mother, left untouched from her days in a high school orchestra. Since then Shay has been exposed to about every kind of old time fiddle style, being most influ- enced by fiddlers from Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia, and Mississippi. However, his true love of regional styles is from the Blue Ridge of Southwest Virginia where he has lived nearly half his life and has learned directly from old timers in the area. Shay has become a respected fiddler in the region and has won numerous awards, most notably in 1998 he won First Place in the Senior Old Time Fiddle category at the Appalachian Stringband festival at Clifftop WV. Take old-time music off the back porch, throw out the hillbilly reputation, and put it in the hands of a group that likes to play hard and have fun. Pert' Near Sandstone rejuvenates American stringband music with raw energy and an aggressive approach. They play well crafted original material that lends itself to the modern audience, as well as being stewards of the old-time and bluegrass traditions. Pert' Near is as comfortable playing fully acoustic in the traditional style, as they are plugged in at a rock venue. From saloons to theaters, these boys keep your attention, hollering into a single microphone and laying thick rhythm on driving melodies. Pert' Near Sandstone emerged from the strong roots music scene of Minneapolis and are now well traveled across the country, gaining momentum and quickly becoming an act not to be missed in the current acoustic revival. They and only a few other groups have shown the character and the drive to lead stringband music well into the new century. With the release of their third studio album, "Out On A Spree", the boys continue to take their brand of old- time music out on the rivers and roads of the country in the revitalization of the American stringband tradition. PAGE 19