All posts tagged: Tennessee Folklore Society Bulletin

In praise of Gallagher Guitars

Gallagher Guitars have been in my consciousness – if not my life – since first putting the landmark Will the Circle Be Unbroken album on the turntable in 1972 and hearing the most famous words ever uttered about a Gallagher: Merle Travis:  That guitar, by the way, rings like a bell. Doc Watson:  It’s a pretty good little box — a Mr. Gallagher down in Wartrace, Tennessee made it. So I was thrilled to open the most recent issue of The Fretboard Journal and see a story and photo essay on Gallagher Guitars.  Regular readers know that I eagerly await the sight of The Fretboard Journal in my mailbox. The Circle album gave me the flat-picking/bluegrass bug, and I began thinking about a new guitar.  The first Gallagher I played for any length of time belonged to my long-time friend and clawhammer banjo player John Balch, who still plays his 1975 G-50 on a regular basis.  It was a beautiful sounding guitar which whetted my appetite for one of my own.  The first picture below …

Charles Wolfe Inducted into IBMA Hall of Fame

When I was a young undergraduate student at Middle Tennessee in the late 1970s, there were two English professors who influenced my life in ways that I’m still only understanding.  One was Ralph Hyde, who was serving as editor of the Tennessee Folklore Society Bulletin.  Ralph published the first articles of mine in a professional journal or magazine, introduced me to the rich cultural traditions of the mid-South, and gave me my first bottle of moonshine.  I still think all three are significant in shaping my life (although that’s the first and only time I drank moonshine!) The other was Charles Wolfe, who taught English, succeeded Ralph as the editor of the TFS Bulletin, and – most importantly – brought scholarship and love to old time and bluegrass music.  Charles was an avid collector, writer, and recorder of music from the mid-South, and I was lucky enough to be with him on occasions when he was recording or interviewing some of the area’s old-time musicians. Just the other day my father sent me a note saying that Charles – who …