Each morning, as we arrived on the Museum grounds, we were greeted by the sweet sounds of the auto-hard being played by Ron Wall, certainly the finest practitioner of this mountain instrument we've ever heard as he accompanied the rising mists and emerging sun in the slightly chill fall morning air. Crafts people and mountain arts interpreters clustered about warm fires underneath bubbling iron cauldrons with soap or sorghum bubbling in them. We could imagine the hard life in the remote hills and hollers of Appalachia populated by largely Scots-Irish small farmers in the early eighteenth century. Dressed in clothes that would have been worn during America's formative years, through the civil war, and, indeed, up until the time when the Tennessee Valley Authority brought electricity to this region in the mid-twentieth century, they captured the essence of a life that is now quickly disappearing as life quickens and chair stores provide the necessities that once could only be had if they were made at home. The Museum of Appalachia captures and recreates this environment year round and the Tennessee Fall Homecoming captures it for the thousands who come annual from all over the country to celebrate a portion of the roots of the American story.
Singing and Playing the Music of