A Mountain Man

        Once a year I do a show with Jacob Macon.  He is a real mountain man if I ever met one.  Jake grew up in Haywood County, and knows how to make groundhog stew and can catch snapping turtles and not lose any fingers.  He looks like someone out of the hills from a century ago, but looks are deceptive, as he has conquered all sorts of new-fangled notions, such as the use of home computer and modern recording studio techniques.  Jake is a downright paradoxical modern mountain man.

        When Jake plays the guitar, he holds it upside down and backwards.  I assumed this was because he was left handed, but one day he told me it was from learning to pick music with his Dad on the front porch swing.  His daddy made him point the thing in the opposite direction to keep from getting stoved up in the ear with the headstock.  In spite of the odd chord voicings though, Jake can play as good as any paper trained musician I know. 

        He has recorded several CDs, and they sell quite well.  One of my favorites is a collection of Civil War ballads with a picture of Robert E. Lee on the cover.  One day I was helping Jake at his booth, and we were demonstrating a few representative songs off the CD.  One nice lady stopped, and became quite interested.  For the longest time she stared at the cover picture of the General, then at Jake, and finally commented.

        “Son, that sure is a nice picture of you.”

        “Thank you, ma’am.”  Jake didn’t bother to try and explain.  

        The lady reached in her wallet, pulled out fifteen bones, bought the recording, and went on her way.

       I was amazed.  “Hey Jake, doesn’t she know that’s Robert E. Lee?”

        Jake shrugged his shoulders.  “I gave up trying to explain years ago, Doc.  Happens all the time.  I just hope it don’t upset the General’s descendants.”

Dr. B

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Explore posts in the same categories: bluegrass characters, mini-posts

2 Comments on “A Mountain Man”

  1. Willie Mac Says:

    Now, that’s a good story. ‘Way back when I played in my first bluegrass band, we used to copy the Country Gentlemen, playing our instruments up behind our heads on Dueling Banjos. As the bass player, I was the last to put mine up. One night as I turned around, the bass whammed the guitar player on the head. Almost knocked him out. So I can understand the dad’s concern.

  2. drtombibey Says:

    For those of ya’ll outside our world, Willie is a cool cat from the bluegrass community- I know of him mostly thru the Co-mandos and Mandolin Cafe, both of which are highly recommended. I need to add them to my blogroll.

    -Dr. B


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