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Video below Barefoot Movement, Johnson City TN band
made up variously of mostly ETSU Department of Appalachian Studies Bluegrass, Old-Time, and Country Music degree program students and grads

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Go to On The Road -- Go Rest High -- God's Spell -- Seeds

Graphic below: Magic Colors II, by Patricia Allingham Carlson -- Click for her website, information and more artwork
Magic Colors II, by Patricia Allingham Carlson -- Click for website

On The Road

Forget alternative energy. Just plug into your favorite local musician or musical group. Ivy Road is the duo that rocked Jonesborough's Main and side streets during a recent Friday evening Music on the Square performance to the largest and most increasingly enthusiastic audience/participants I've yet experienced here. No recording or video can really do justice to the sound and ebulliance they radiate. Their renditions of "(You Make Me Wanna) Shout" and "That Old-time Rock 'n' Roll" nearly set the stars and moon to boogeying along with bystanders on the sidewalks and in their chairs. Singer and drummer Lynda Laws explained how she met Bristol TN's multi-instrumentalist and songster Jason Lloyd while performing as a stand-in guitar player at a Jonesborough music venue. Nervous at the prospect of performing alone before a public crowd of mostly strangers, Jason walked by and asked, perceptively, "You want me to stand in with you, ma'am?" Fourteen years later, the answer is still a quite amazing, "Yes." In the interim they've toured Scotland for three years with a Celtic band and played nearly every other genre including some never intended for a duo, or even a band. Whether our local police in bermuda shorts and riding or pushing their bicycles will be able to resist breaking out into dance on the street next time is problemmatic. This beat is difficult or impossible to resist. And all you feel like saying after the final encore of the night is, "Rock on!"

[Video above: Ivy Road with Jerry Lewis Lewis' Great Balls of Fire at the 2006 Rally in the (Maggie) Valley, NC]

Go Rest High

"Carolyn was the kind of person who would go to the Ladies Room and come out with the personal stories of everyone in there." So daughter and Rev. Dr. Diana Moore soothed and regaled an overflow gathering of friends in remembrance and commemoration for the passing of Jonesborough's Mrs. Carolyn Dabbs Moore, an integral and beloved citizen neighbor of our bereaved community. "She was," Diana shared, "a difficult act for her daughters to follow," having graduated from high school at 16 and with double majors from university at age 19. They did their best and succeeded admirably in their uniquely different ways. We were reminded that she loved their Dad, her only husband, very much and visa versa. They met as college actors and continued that interest together elsewhere including here. She didn't like Mother's Day and one main reason was that one year he took her, and their three daughters, out to dinner for that occasion to a good restaurant which, as all are, was very busy and slow on that day. He had an infamous short temper. When they arrived home, she broke the silence by saying, "Don't you ever take me out to dinner again for Mother's Day."

Carolyn's father (a Dabbs) was a well-known writer and activist for civil rights. Martin Luther King Jr. named him in a letter from jail as one of three outstanding southern white men who'd stood up and out for the right during those contentious and sometimes violently dangerous days. She was the second daughter of his five children; her mother died when she was two, and her father remarried, siring three others. Diana recounted that the daughters as youngsters were very woebegone to move from all the action of Johnson City to the boonies of Jonesborough, where they knew they would have no company and no boys would date them. That turned out to be untrue. Carolyn and husband Richter became locally famous for their parties, which were "very unusual."

In the last year of life, her daughter continued, Carolyn donned a pink wig one day before going with Diana to her regular Saturday morning breakfast at the Cranberry Thistle. A few weeks later inside Diana's church, one of the young parishioners had dyed her hair pink and Carolyn commented on how much she liked it. The mother replied, no doubt a bit acidicly, "You wouldn't if it were your daughter," and Diana thought to herself in response, "How would you feel, then, if it was your mother instead?" Carolyn insisted on getting out to vote two weeks before her passing and, a lifelong and self-described "yellow dog Democrat," chose a Republican for one office, because there was no opposition. Diana remarked that at that instant, "There were earthquakes everywhere as that happened. Earthquakes."

In the basement meeting room, easels had been set up with selected photographs taken and saved from throughout Carolyn's long and lively, diverse and committed, curious and involved lifetime. Most congregants assembled there were colorfully and sometimes unusually attired for the occasion of sharing stories and a few regrets. On leaving though, I thought, "That's probably the closest Presbyterians will ever get to a real Irish wake," and that Carolyn enjoyed it, that perhaps that was her last earthly request.

"Carolyn Moore was a member of FOCIS and served with the Development Committee for years. I’ve known her since 1975 when I first came to Jonesborough and lived for 18 months in her Victorian 24 room home.... She shared her family with me in profound and wonderfully crazy ways. Sponsoring her coming into FOCIS was a way for me to share my family with her.... Your good daughter, Pastor Diana, reminded us that you are the GOLDEN THREAD that ties all us diverse characters together in a unique tapestry. Part of tapestry is wonderful design and structure. I love you, my wild Irish rose." -- social activist/artist/instructor Margaret Gregg

"She was a very dear and strong friend, not just to me, but to many, many people, and she made a huge positive difference in people’s lives around the world by her spirit and resolve. Tears are appropriate, but I can’t think of anyone who’d more want her friends, town, state and nation to…carry on. She suffered a lot physically and was very very brave and stoic about it all. I don’t recall ever really hearing her complain through the years about that. Which always reminds me of an old (Jewish) saying: ‘God must love you very much to make you suffer so.’ I know a lot of people don’t understand that, but believe it has to do with rising above it, e.g. Beethoven was completely deaf when he wrote his most beautiful and memorable orchestrations, sonatas...." -- jh, FOCIS newsletter

God's Spell

Jonesborough Repertory Theatre can be counted upon for very affordable, wonderfully professional and uplifting, seriously thought-provoking to utterly-indulgent entertainment by performers of all ages and descriptions. The most recent children's production of "Godspell Jr." at $5 per ticket was no exception despite the youthful ages of all the cast. Four adult musicians (keyboards, drums, guitar and bass) accompanying them on stage right complimented and enlivened delivery and atmosphere within that recently upgraded theatre structure. The pianist, an older white-haired woman of unusual durability and skill, earned my complete admiration and that of the rest of the audience during that one of four presentations after only one week's rehearsal for all! One boy singer, dancer and actor of perhaps eight or nine years stole the show, nicely and naturally. If he isn't headed for Broadway, surely it's somewhere similar where he may have an equally whimsical, mischievous, and joyous romp through talents and affections.

This shortened version of the popular stage musical maintains its most favored songs but in two acts instead of three. The most rousingly enthusiastic for this matinee were "Prepare Ye The Way of the Lord," "O Bless The Lord," and the finale, a line of the cast harmonizing to "Day by Day," with which the audience, standing in appreciative ovation, joined in natural symphony and sympathy. Rep costuming is always appropriately colorful in design and style as are makeup and other adornments. These youth perform with exquisite professionalism in their ensemble and solo numbers, some of which are very humorous also. Additionally, they appear to be having a wonderful time of it all. The cast ranged in ages from around five to seventeen, more female than male -- leaving some girls to perform, sometimes comically, cross-gender -- but the two main male character actors were outstanding. We felt blessed by and for each and every one of them.

(Midi below: Hosanna from the musical "Jesus Christ Superstar")


The little padded packet from Horizon Relief arrives and I open it somewhere between expectantly and gingerly. It is a small bottle of "product" let loose into the Gulf of Mexico and a fundraising endeavor of those put out of work by that calamity, advertised as conveying the "tragic beauty" of that reality. I antipicate something loose in oily water that can be shaken and the shapes inside rearranged naturally in that process. Instead, it's something that looks like a small piece of bark -- dark brown and hard with seeds encrusted into it -- laying in a somewhat clear fluid. A Certificate of Authenticity elegantly printed declares, " "This certificate hereby guarantees the authenticity of the limited edition vials of opportunity. The vial contains recovered oil from the April 20, 2010 Deepwater Horizon Oil disaster," and contains a round silver holographic seal on the lower left corner with what appears to be the Gulf of Mexico imprinted on it and the warning, "secure secure secure secure." A notation advises that the bottle is not to be opened as it contains "emulsified crude oil" and should be kept away from children. Also enclosed in the plastic bag are a few small cards reminding of the vial's origin from Horizon Relief. I write "Brit poo" on the back of one, e-mail the organization's Creative Director, Sarah Gibbens, to compliment all involved on such an inspiringly well-organized and presented product of their own in the midst of that very difficult situation, and put all together in a safe place, which hopefully I'll remember later on. It occurs to me that the seeds embedded in the "bark" of oil are like the Biblical mustard seed that grows into a tree, a seed of hope and faith that, as time goes on and we all do our best, our beautiful Gulf will be restored and its inhabitants also to health and productive growth.

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Video below: Beloved regional musician/songwriter Ed Snodderly, creator/owner of the similarly popular and reknowned Down Home performance venue in Johnson City TN


go to
mountain empire happenings/events -- regional on-going and upcoming events/happenings
appalachian arts and healing resources -- freely distributed magazines and newspapers
appalachian visitors centers -- inter/national cultural events/happenings

mountain empire happenings/events
(several selections and suggestions from a vast variety available on land and on-line)

links to regional sites listing on-going and upcoming events/happenings
some strongly suggest advance tickets and reservations
(several selections and suggestions from a vast variety available on land and on-line)

Video above:
Chic Street Man, widely-awarded and endearing teller/musician and 2009 artist in residence for Jonesborough TN's International Storytelling Center

  • Arts Alliance Mountain Empire, organization covering and listing regional events monthly
  • The Crooked Road, heritage music trail in SW VA
  • The Loafer, Tri-Cities bi-weekly coverage of arts and other activities
  • Mountain Homes Southern Style, quarterly coverage of events and developments
  • Music On The Square, Jonesborough TN's popular warm weather weekly outdoor performances by outstanding regional musicians and artists in other media
  • My Asheville, published by the Citizen Times
  • The Orange Peel, Asheville NC, one of the five best music venues nationally according to Rolling Stone magazine

  • WNCW, widely popular, venerable and venerated NPR affiliate with outstanding live and recorded, mostly regional music, commentary, news and regional happenings broadcast from Boone, Charlotte, Greenville and Wilkesboro as a service of Isothermal Community College, Spindale NC
  • WPVM, community-based internet and radio presence
Go to Activate! -- Go to top

freely distributed, mostly monthly, magazines and newspapers
distributed through art and visitors centers, restaurants and shops
(several selections and suggestions from a vast variety available on land and on-line)

appalachian arts and healing resources
(several selections and suggestions from a vast variety available on land and on-line)

"Val Lyle of Bristol TN is the Virginia Highlands Festival's 2009 signature artist. The Festival selected Lyle after seeing her award-winning sculpture 'Feminine Entwinement' on display in Bristol, and a newer piece, 'Entwined Dancers,' at William King Museum in Abingdon. 'Feminine Entwinement' is constructed of tugboat rope, 'Entwined Dancers' of aircraft carrier rope made of Keviar. The two sculptures are heavily coated with resin. Both are whimsical and lyrical, 'dancing between abstraction and representation.' Lyle says, 'The rope as a metaphor entered my sculptural vocabulary around 1987, a metaphor for what ties people down and for what binds people together. Meditations on the simple baling twine used for square hay bales I helped put up in my grandparents' barn led to reflections of time and heritage as a series of twisted and woven events.... The textures of hand-hewn wooden barns, tobacco leaves, bailing twine, and trees grown around barbed wire fences have influenced my visual vocabulary.' She continues, 'I look for ways to make contemporary sculpture more approachable -- using common materials in an uncommon way and a figurative reference help to accomplish that. I believe one of the primary purposes of art is to help us consider ourselves as well as the world around us in a fresh way.'... In addition to contemporary sculpture, Lyle creates portrait sculpture. She also teaches one-day and six-week classes several times a year and occasionally does public demonstrations in portrait sculpture.... Born in Johnson City TN, Lyle grew up in Knoxville TN, longing to find out what was going on 'out in the real world.' She spent much of her adult life in Hawaii, Arizona, Florida and New York City, where she credits much of her artistic development.... She earned her BFA in sculpture at the Ringling School of Art and Design and her MFA while maintaining the family home place in Bristol TN. She teaches art courses and workshops, and is a full-time studio artist." -- Highlander Magazine 7/25-8/9/09, introductory brochure and scheduling for Virginia Highlands Festival, Abingdon VA

"[John Case, lecturer, appraiser, editor and owner of Case Antiques, Inc.,, Knoxville TN said] .... There is a profound mystery afoot regarding the redware from the East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia area. While our region was often considered the 'backcountry' in the 19th century in respect to culture, population density, economic conditions, and the arts, we had some of the most aesthetically beautiful pottery forms being produced anywhere in America. For many years, the earthenware found in our region was considered to have been made elsewhere, because no one could conceive that such complex and artistically beautiful pieces could have hailed from our region.... It was even said that antique dealers in the early 20th century like Joe Kindig from Pennsylvania would come through the region, buy our pottery and other antiques, take them back up North, and sell them as 'Northern' pieces. Consequently, it is very plausible that there are some magnificent East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia pieces in New England Mid-Atlantic pottery collections. We have difficulty understanding how the population from our region could have supported potters making such magnificent and iconic objects. The use of complex copper oxide and manganese glaze decorations with elaborate stamping that we find on Greene County pieces was both time-consuming and expensive.... Some of the more beautiful jars and jugs made by Sullivan and Greene County potters have the artistic and historical merit deserving to be displayed in major museums like the Metropolitan Museum of Art as the finest American examples of their day.... The consignor who previously owned the record-setting J.A. Lowe ($63k) jar said her children were using it as a waste can.... Christopher Alexander Haun (1821-1861) was a potter from Greene County TN. Haun was a Union sympathizer during the Civil War. He and several other potters conspired and succeeded in burning a Confederate railroad bridge (Lick Creek) in Greene County. In 1861, Confederate forces captured the perpetrators. Five conspirators were hanged, including Haun. Haun's pots clearly speak to his having been a master potter... East Tennessee is rich with sutiable clays for both redware and stoneware.... the large number of potters operating in East Tennessee during the 19th century was an indicator of the number of rich clay deposits available. The redware clay from East Tennessee is often recognized by an orange appearance versus darker red clays found in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. The stoneware from the region will often have a red tinge and dark grey colors, indicative of iron deposits in the region.... One of the potters who worked with Haun was J. A. Lowe. Lowe joined the Confederate Army shortly after Haun was hanged for burning the Lick Creek bridge.... There was a wide variety of forms produced. The most common forms were cream pots, canning jars, jugs, pitchers, and jars. Less common were butter churns, bowls, plates, inkwells, cups, and presentation jars with names and dates with elaborate decoration.... Most regional pottery was sold within the region.... Ceramics is the general term covering a broad category that includes pottery.... Redware is fired at lower temperatures (1800 to 2100 degrees) than stoneware (2200 to 2400 degrees). The lower firing temperature of redware results in a higher porosity, often requiring it to be glazed to hold liquids.... Stoneware clay becomes 'vitreous' at the higher temperatures and the clay transforms to a 'glassy' surface that is essentially impervious to liquids...." -- A! Magazine, publication of Arts Alliance Mountain Empire ("nurturing, advocating and celebrating the arts"), July 2009, in Early Regional Pottery by Angela Wampler

  • Angela C. Alexander, artist in acrylics and custom pet portraits
  • Appalachian Quilt Trail, Northeast Tennessee's enviable history of colorfully creative and functional quilting is explored through well-mapped regional tours
  • Art of Life, artist explorer, coach Damaris Pierce
  • Art of Spirit, healing art near and distant, reiki, spiritual counseling and ceremonies, ministerial training, shamanic practices, chi lei qigong, soul portraits, spirit hoops
  • Jo Carson, Johnson City TN's widely-awarded and prolific author, actor and activist
  • Center for Holistic Medicine, Asheville NC, Carla Green, licensed, therapeutic massage, reiki
  • Colin's Creatures, multi-media sculpture artist
  • The Crooked Road, Southwest Virginia's heritage trail for bluegrass, old-time and country music winds through "glorious mountains" of Dickenson, Wise, Lee, Scott, Washington, Grayson, Carroll, Floyd, Patrick, and Franklin Counties, from the town of Breaks to that of Rocky Mount
  • Curious 3D, digital image artist
  • Rebecca D'angelo, artistic photography
  • Divine Expression/Intuitive Direction, intuitive reader, reiki practitioner, artist
  • Down Home Eclectic Music Room, Johnson City TN, venerated guitarist and singer/songwriter Ed Snodderly's legendary venue psince 1976 for performances by original, up-and-coming musicians from the Mountain Empire
  • Ed's Doodles, multi-media and computer graphics
  • John Faulkner, Burnsville NC, artist in lighting, furniture, display, garden, metal fabrication
  • Jane Filer, innovative artist with impressive collections and shows cross-country
  • Gingko Tree Gallery, Black Mountain NC
  • Haen Gallery, Asheville NC
  • General Shale Brick Natural History Museum and Gray Fossil Site, exciting new venue for exploring the Miocene Epoch through archeological finds dating back 7000 years and era reproductions, including interactive media presentations, as well as contemporary art in exhibits rotating monthly
  • Hardy's Artistic Expressions Studio, artist in portraits, illustrations, originals
  • Integrated Health Concepts, emotional basis of disease, holistic approach to illness, role of forgiveness in healing, services with reknowned practitioners including M.D. and other degreed professionals
  • Bill Lea's Photography and unusually skilled professional with a perceptive eye and persistence in getting just the right extraordinary image, most particularly of The Smoky Mountains
  • Val Lyle, native-born and much-awarded artist in all media who's traveled and lived extensively in studying artforms and lifestyles
  • Manding Imports of Africa, fabulous collection of original, affordable Mande artworks (25,000 in on-line store) from West African coastal areas of Burkina Faso, Senegal, The Gambia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, and Ghana, available through traveling festival tents as well as their Atlanta GA homebase
  • Timothy McCoy, Asheville NC, photoimagery artist
  • Metal Art by Carro, Black Mountain NC
  • Music on the Square, Jonesborough TN, weekly performance schedules and links to artists' websites
  • Pat Perkerson Art, paintings ceramics sculpture
  • Jeff Pittman, countryrwide and Asheville NC artist
  • Mary-Ann Prack, her sculptures "resonate pure harmony, balance and the relentless positive spirit of humankind" (Renee Philliips, Director of Manhattan Arts International)
  • Radavie, emotional clearing and soul retrieval for inner peace
  • Sacred Symbols for Peaceful Places, one-of-a-kind ceramic wall plaques
  • Clayton Santiago, Atlanta GA-based artist who "celebrates the Spirit of his faith and a deep love for the natural world"
  • Shamanic Counsel
  • Sister Space
  • Soul Star, reiki, prayer, sound, color & crystal therapies, guided angelic meditations
  • Source for Wellbeing, acupuncture, chinese herbology, nutrition, qi gong
  • Sourwood Gallery, Black Mountain NC, oustanding collection of over 20 member artists' work
  • Starships, science fiction in art, science and literature
  • Star*Talk, yoga therapy
  • Kristi Taylor, artist
  • Tennessee Association of Crafts Artists, connecting crafts and people" through unique artistic all-media presentations
  • Tiger's Eye Dousing, metaphysical ministering, reiki, and dowsing
  • Rebecca Tolk, photography
  • Unbeweavables, fiber artist Brenda Cameron
  • Womens Art Space, project of Western North Carolina Woman magazine
  • Zig Zag Soul Studio, "Be the Twist and Turn in the World Of the Straight and Narrow," Justin West, contemporary fine art
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appalachian visitors centers
providing free brochures, magazines, newspapers,
and staff for travel directions and area information

Alabama [Huntsville and Birmingham] -- Georgia [Rome] -- Kentucky [Ashland and Middlesboro] -- Mississippi [Tupelo] -- New York [Binghamton] -- North Carolina [Winston-Salem and Asheville] -- Ohio [Portsmouth] -- Pennsylvania [Scranton, State College, Pittsburg, and Cumberland] -- Tennessee [Knoxville and Chattanooga] -- Virginia [ Bristol] -- West Virginia [Wheeling and Charleston]

For help in choosing a destination and traveling or moving, check out the federal government's high-tech and multiply informational atlas.

Go to Activate! -- Go to top

inter/national cultural events/happenings
(several selections and suggestions from a vast variety available on land and on-line)

Video above: Anadolu Atesi (Fire of Anatolia) belly and folk dancers from Turkey
here for more of their music and dancing)


The Global Drum Project and Mickey Hart for National Geographic

The Power of Positive Thinking

The very affable, attractive, and charismatic Roberta Herrin, PhD, Chair of Appalachian Studies and Services, ETSU, presented on the morning of March 13, an engrossing and inspiring lecture to the Alliance for Continued Learning class at Carnegie Library on the Johnson City Veterans Administration grounds. Among her helpful observations:
  • there's a new field called Positive Psychology and the new ETSU department chair is a graduate of that;
  • we live in an "instant gratification" society -- based upon external, rather than internal healing -- of discontent and unhappiness, with a market created for selling solutions and encouraging the identification of more and more physical and psychological problems and an enveloping, pervasive message of fear, guilt, violence, threats to our health in every way brought to us particularly through media -- radio and television, newspapers especially.
  • maybe it's time for humans to follow the great teachers of the ages -- Buddha, Jesus, Lao Tzu, Ghandi, King -- or for the demise of humanity
  • Oprah has a new Web seminar based upon A New Earth
  • we spend a lifetime "trying to get it right"
  • there is a magnetic energy, which can and has been measured, attached to thoughts, which become a field and can even go through steel walls. We all vibrate, like tuning forks. Turning one on will turn on all the others at the same frequency because the same wavelengths attract each other
  • a total identification with the material is defined as evil
  • forgiveness means "it doesn't matter"
  • in response to stress, we can turn on anabolic endorphins or adrenalins
  • malice makes us literally sick; laughter and joy heal
  • we should react to each other as spiritual beings, not physical bodies
  • we have eternal souls in temporary expressions of flesh, an inner voice, and a stream of consciousness which are not the same as the self
  • there is a universal mind of pure energy which creates us
  • some good books are Power Versus Force: The Hidden Determinants of Human Behavior; The Eye of the I, and I: Reality and Subjectivity; Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao, by Wayne Dyer (2007); The Secret by Rhonda Byrne (2006); Feelings Buried Alive Never Die.... by Karol K. Truman (1991); The Power of Intention, by Wayne Dyer; Secrets of the Millionaire Mind: Mastering the Inner Game of Wealth, by T. Harv Eker (2005)
  • Grabhorn has a four-step process for channeling positive energies: identify what you don't want; identify what you do want; get into the feeling place of what you want; expect, listen, and allow it to happen
Dr. Herrin also distributed a chart of the energy released by different emotions/levels, etc. Those at the top around 1,000, like Ghandi, release enough to affect 10 million people. That's the course of [God-View] Self, [Life-View] Is, [Level] Enlightenment, [Log #] 700-1,000, [Emotion] Ineffable, and [Process] Pure Consciousness. The next lower course is All-Being/Perfect/Peace/600/Bliss/Illumination which affects 1 million people. The lowest level is Despising/Miserable/Shame/20/Humiliation/Elimination and the next up above that is Vindictive/Evil/Guilt/30/Blame/Destruction. I brought up the holocaust and she said that some of the survivors felt a release in having lost their personal possessions, but nothing about the physical and psychological harm to people personally and in their seeing, in some cases, relatives and friends harmed and/or killed. About being a victim of crime, she said the stress at the time must be off the scales but it's what you do about it afterwards that counts and heals. After her presentation, a sampling of members from ETSU/CASS's Bluegrass Ensemble played for half an hour to an enthusiastic and grateful group of around 40 mostly retired or semi-retired participants.

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Whisk me away -- Where the heck am I?

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Original material © A Country Rag, Inc. October, 1996, 2010. All rights reserved.

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