Monday, October 1, 2007

New Collaboration makes things easier

Welcome to you (and all others) who have been attracted to our site by the review in the October 07 Old Time Herald. Thanks to Toni Williams for her kind words. Also Thanks to Steve Terrill for his nice layout on the ad.

We are now collaborating with Steve who is carrying our two CDs of old-time country duets in his on-line music store business called old 97 wrecords. He makes things easy so that a purchase is a simple click away using Pay Pal. Products are packaged sent to your door in a timely fashion.

In our display in the store you can see the front covers and a list of exactly what songs we have on each. Check out the various CD's of others available as well.

Of course if anybody prefers other 'old-time' forms of payment like cash or check then just scroll down to the bottom of this page for our address and prices. However, old 97 wrecords will accept those forms as well.

As far as digital downloads, I am working on having these available through CD Baby but we are not quite ready. Songs can be heard there and also purchased as part of each collection in the current CD form.

Thanks for any and all support you give to keeping the old songs and tunes alive.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Winding Down the Summer '07

I am posting this on Labor Day 2007 which marks 7 years since I moved my custom cabinetry business to my own shop building on our premises here in the Willis area of Floyd County. Its been great to eliminate the 30 minute or more commute I had for 10 years previous to that. I have saved a lot of gas $ and wear and tear on my vehicles no doubt. Now my trips to the New River Valley are usually with a big load of products from the shop and/or with a very long list of stops to be made. It is absolutely the best job-related move I ever made. I haven't worn a watch in 3 years now either.

Our last music 'job' trip for a while was completed yesterday (9/2) when we got back safely from a wedding gig in Hopkiinsville, Kentucky. We provided background melodies for a wedding rehearsal supper to represent the mountain heritage of the groom who is from Floyd County originally. After viewing the terrible drought conditions in western Kentucky we found a deeper- than-ever appreciation for the mountains of our area of the Blue Ridge even though our rainfall is 9 inches below normal for the year at this time. Only 'brown grass' exists what we saw of that part of Kentucky right now.

Our trip in early August to Maine and Nova Scotia was wonderful except when the neck in my fiddle became un-glued to the body due in part to the beginnings of the August heat wave conditions which had reached all the way to the Canadian Border. I discovered this unfortunately 10 minutes before we were to play a dance for the reunion atendees at Camp Darrow on Grand Lake in Northern Maine. I was shocked and in a pickle and a jam simultaneously until it I was offered a fine 'violin' to use by a young woman who was the caller and didn't need to use it. I made do for that evening but wondered if I could get by without my fiddle for our next gig in Eastport. Our close friends Andy and Sharon Buckman (camp director and host) joined us for some hot tunes for the enthusiastic dancers. We felt like all had a great time and that we had visited a wonderful place in the boondocks of Maine that has meant so much to many outdoor enthsiast over its 50 year history.

Back to my fiddle, on close inspection I determined that with a clamp and glue that I could re-set the neck myself and have it playable thereafter. If nothing else perhaps a Cape Breton fiddler could help me out after all we had it in our plans to go there. Our first day in Canada was mostly traveling through New Brunswick and into nothern Nova Scotia. We looked up an old friend of Jenny's in the town of Antigonish who she hadn't seen or been in touch with for 29 years. Its never too late to reconnect with people from your past and it triggers the memories to come back although slowly for us in our middle/old age.

Through being in Nova Scotia we got a better understanding of the mix of European cultures that never blended as much as in the South. This area of Canada was
the original homeland of the Acadians (french colonist) who were banished by the British conquerors and forced to leave. They, as we know from history of American music evolution ended up in Lousiana and blended in Indian/Negro/Caribbean cultures to form what known as the Cajun culture. I sensed that our Appalachian fiddle style is somewhere in between Cape Breton's and Lousiana's similar to how our geographical location is.

Anyway, I reglued and clamped the fiddle neck back into place while on the road the next day and sucessfully recusitated my fiddle back to playable condition during the evening of our one night stay on Cape Breton Island : famous for its dance traditions and distinct music style. I feel like my old fiddle has yet another good blessing in its mysterious history since being found by happenstance by me at Floyd's local thrift store , Angels in the Attic, about a year ago.

We saw some awesome scenery in our short visit to Cape Breton and hope to return someday and finish the tour of the magnificent island. We'd of course like hear some of the local musicians play. We missed out as we were there on a Monday night and like most places, Monday evenings are low key. One needs at least a week there. We made our way back to Maine via the rocky north east coast cutting back across to come back down through New Brunswick to cross the border at St Stephens/ Calais checkpoint. We felt like we had been in a time warp in Cape Breton and Northeast coastal Nova Scotia as the lack of population explosion kept the pace of change to minimum.

Our Eastport, Maine experience was nice and laid back with fine weather, lobster rolls, fine hosts and a fine crowd for our
gig/concert in the Eastport Arts Center. The Eastport area is very beautiful with visitor friendly small town feel and plenty of support for musical unknowns from the South even if they have banjo in the performance. Go vist Eastport if you ever get a chance!

Check us out closer by for the near future. Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

From Northwest to Northeast

I (Mac) am stuck in the Charlotte Airport awaiting my delayed flight to Houston, Texas to board 4 hours past when it was scheduled to leave. I agreed to do a solo gig at the 3rd annual Bayou Cities Music Festival. Jenny is staying on the farm this time. With the modern miracle of wireless internet and a laptop I am able to compose this post with no interuptions and with a large block of time that seems to get larger instead of smaller.

Since the last post we have traveled many miles and had our best experience to date as semi professional musicians. We were part of the staff of the prestigious Festival of American Fiddle Tunes in Port Townsend Washington in it's 31st year northeast of Seattle. We visited the festival at its location known as Fort Worden State Park briefly one evening last summer. We at that time met and jammed with some great area old-time musicians as part of our visit to Jenny's sister Polly who lives and works in Seattle. To be asked to come and be a part of the teaching and performing staff was a thrill in itself. Thanks to Dirk Powell who is the current artistic director.

We met so many nice people from all over the US and Canada. The enthusiam of the students and the supportiing staff was unmatched. In addition to various staff perfomances for the participants and for the general public , two dances with different style bands occurred in the main building every evening as well continuous jamming in the adjacent campground and rental houses. Students were free to roam about the morning classes and we were free to teach anything we wanted. We found a large turnout for our Old-time Country Harmony class held in a wonderful acoustic space of the Fort's Chapel. We had many folks clamoring for copies of the words to several songs from our repetoire that we taught for one morning session per day. These were some of the same folks who contributed to a record number of 70 of our CD's sold though the festival music shop.

During the afternoons each staff group was to hold a band 'lab' where it was our duty to coach a group folks who were interested in our style of music to want to subject themselves to our advice on how to play as a unit. This resulted in a stringband who dubbed themselves "The Trayned Country 'Hams. At one of the evening dances they performed 'Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain' for dancers to country two step to. And, on the last day on the theater stage, they performed a Stanley Brothers number called 'Darling Do You Know Who Loves You' and the favorite "Golden Slippers'. It got a high rating on the fun meter buttons that came from our band lab member from Fairbanks, Alaska. We reconnected with some old friends formerly from the East who we hadn't seen in 15 years or more. We met some more of the Seattle area's old-time musicians

The awesome beauty of the area about Fort Worden State Park (originally established to defend of the Straits of Juan De Luca) was truly remarkable with the snow-covered Cascade mountains in sight across the water while the beautiful Olympic mountains were just a little southwest of us.

We also celebrated our 26th wedding anniversary on July the 4th starting with our afternoon performance on the big Centrum stage before 1200 people who were there for the big variety of music as well as for the annual Fort Worden fireworks display just off the shore. A cool steady wind blew for nearly the whole time making us wonder if it was really July or not. Apparently summer is marked by the absence of the rainy cloudy weather that the Northwest is known for but the temperature is rarely considered 'hot'.

Returning to Seattle on Sunday July 8th, we went to Polly's place and celebrated Jenny's 50th birthday. Folks attending the
the special milestone supper included Jenny's older brother Rob and family from Yakima WA as well as Jenny's neice, Emily, from Toronto. Our Flight out on Tuesday was highlighted by a super awesome view of Mt Rainier ( we flew very near it and got some awesome phots of it) and also of Mt St Helens. We met nice people on our return flight as well marking the end of a BLAST!!!!!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Busy Summer in store


This is our Home page where you can get basic info on our music happenings. As you can see from our calendar we have been fairly active in our local area. We have been performing for various groups of interested listeners in settings where we can talk about our songs, tell a few jokes and unbelievable stories about things that are part of our lives. We have especially enjoyed our 'First' House Concert hosted by our great friends Fred and Ann First of the Goose Creek area in Floyd County. We also had a super supportive audience this past Saturday night at the Oak Grove Pavillion behind the Lutheran Church in Floyd.

Promoting and selling our recordings has been a priority. Thanks to all who have ordered and picked up copies from us directly at our programs. We now have them available in several places around Floyd and Galax. Its still a lot to do to break even on the venture. As an 'INDIE' (independent record label) promotion starts with the mailing of promo copies to radio stations and DJ's world wide who play our genre of music regularly. Most recently we sent copies to area stations such as WBRF-98.1 FM 'Blueridge Backroads' and WVTF 89.1-FM. The Sunday 2 PM regular show 'Back to the Blue Ridge" on WVTF will be featuring a segment on the Southern Mountain Melody Makers (Mac and Jenny Traynham) on July 1 including an interview with Mac about the songs and playing featured on the CD's. The show will be repeated at 6:30 AM the following Saturday July 7.

As for a final note, we just recently had to adjust our selling price due to several factors including increased cost of shipping but if you will notice the more you order the better the price per unit. Thanks to all who have help make our hole that we
are in less deep.

Check out our calendar and please come out to see us.

Friday, May 4, 2007

CD's are now available here

Today we are officially re-releasing our music made in yesteryear for another breath of life in the modern format.
As usual we bring them to this current format when the future of the CD is uncertain in the music business. LP's faded after the original release of our Heritage LP and cassettes were endangered when we released it 7 years later. Digital downloads are becoming an increasingly popular way for folks to purchase music by the 'song' or by the album. For the next week or so we will be the only source for purchase of our music in the standard CD format. We intend however to distribute them to some wholesale to sources like County Sales in Floyd VA and Elderly in Lansing, Michigan and to consign some with local outlets like the Willis Village Mart and the Pickin Porch in Floyd. The package we have produced is much more than just a burned disc with songs in some order on it. It really is a replicated CD product with a unique blend of art and information that one doesn't get with a digital download. To hold something in your hand that has really nice photos and historical or biographical information means so much to us whenever we buy CD's of other folk's music.

Knowing about where it comes from and who performed it on what instruments is something trivial but really is what makes the difference in a connoisseur and a casual listener. We have taken an approach to 'picking and singing' that on the surface seems narrow to some critics, but, the more you read and learn about the development of country music the better understanding you would have for why we do what we do. We tend to be preservationist of the broad genre known as Early Country Music first and creators within that sub-genre Old-time Country Duet Singing, secondly.

We became collectors of old recordings from the days of our parents and more so of our grandparents. It was an evolutionary process by which we got to the point of our interest in this genre in originally making the selection of materials for these CDs now available. More specifically, as young folks in our 20's we began to focus our taste on 'acoustic' as opposed to 'electric' music fascinated more by the natural sound that a player could create on natural materials. ie, the wood of a large tree to build a fiddle or guitar as well as the rural instrument maker's use of the hide of cat or groundhog stretched over a hoop with a neck and strings to make a banjo. Combined with a sense of melody and rhythm and influences from the past, rural folks (from these mountains especially) simply expressed themselves in making music for pure entertainment not distracted by the world created by the elctronic revolution. We also discovered the Golden Era of Country Music and its fascinating variety
by listening to re-issues of old 78 RPM recordings shared by our like-minded friends. In the 60's and 70's many of these early recordings were made available for sale in LP format to which we listened and thought of what life and lifestyle would have been like for the singers/players as well as the listeners from the late 20's and early 30's. We realized that rural America's lifestyle at that time was evolving with automobiles, telephones, and record players, still relatively new, not yet taken for granted by most folks who could afford them.

The performances (originally on the 78 RPM format) we listen to were percieved and believed by us and others to be truly honest and deep rooted in family values and local traditions which seem to be endangered in modern times. Unlike the commericialized and over produced pop-country music purchased by today's target audience,
The original target audience for record labels of the 20's and 30's was folks who had grown up with music being a family and local community staple. The songs themselves had subjects of deep emotion that we find just as real today as then. Homesickness, young love, tragic events,
humour, and deep religious faith spoke to us in our background of life experience; as something that we should get on mission to share with our senior audiences as well as to preserve and re-introduce to new younger audiences. Finally, the beautiful harmonies of the singers of the old-time versions we listened to attracted, fascinated and challenged us to creatively produce our own version with back-up that was in keeping with the numerous nuances of the back-up styles we heard on so many early recordings.

So with all that explained clear as mud, We hope you'll at least check out the sound clips. A second listen never hurts either as there is always more
to key in on when you take all background information into account. It is a lifelong challenge to understand and appreciate the huge world of Early Country and Mountain Music. So thanks for your interest I hope you'll continue to grow in your interest of it. Please comment if you like. See the absolute bottom of this page for ordering info.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Reissue CD's now in production

Things have finally come together and our 2 former recordings are on their way to becoming available in the CD format as well as digitally. We should have them available directly from us by the end of April. They will also be available in digital as well as CD formats in May from a national distribution service known as CD Baby.

Of course as with all art and artist you would be helping and supporting the artist/musician more by dealing directly with the artist/ musician not a 'middle man'. So it is with us. If you are interested in purchasing either or both of our re-released recordings on CD then check out the appropriate section of this blog to see what the deal is. We are offering a discount for the purchase of 2 or more since this music has been around for over 20 years but in outdated formats.

If you have never heard us before but are interested then please check out the sound clips to get an idea of our style and sound. As far as back-up style goes we pretty much stayed with the two guitar format in the old days. Sometimes we featured a harmonica ( SMM-203 track 8 "The Old Folks at Home" and track 13 "Sweet Fern") and a mandolin (SMM-202 track 5 "When you and I Were Young Maggie" and track 12 "Are you Tired of Me Darling"). There are also clips from Mac's current 26 track release that feature more banjo with solo vocals and fiddle tunes along with some of our duets recorded in 2004.

As of March we have begun recording again at Mountain Fever Studios here in Willis area of Floyd County. We have already gotten several of our songs from our extensive old-time and gospel repertoire 'in the can'. We don't have a time table set for completion just yet. We hope to include several numbers with banjo and fiddle and even a third voice from a friend for a trio sound.

With Spring chores upon us on the farm as well as other time consuming things to make a living (like our jobs ie. Mac- cabinetry business and Jenny -Home Health nurse) we have to take our time with our music preservation. As you can tell from the calendar we get plenty of playing in as well. With these two projects soon to be in hand, hopefully, we can with your help reach the break-even point soon in our venture to put our music back out in the market place. We intend to use future returns to fund more projects to help keep the old songs alive and well and to present them to folks who have never heard them. Check back here often for more about the progress of our new endeavor.

Don't forget to come out and support all live music not just ours. Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Welcome to Mac and Jenny Traynham's new site

Hello Spring is close and we do appreciate you stopping by. Here you can find out more about us and our music as it is happening now as well as in the Past (See our Biography) and in the Future (see our calendar) This blog will serve us as kind of a musical newsletter with new post relaying current info on our latest happenings. Your comments are welcome too so stay tuned and check things out often.

Ever since the release in 2005 of Mac's oldtime mountain music CD entitled "I'm Going That Way" we have become more active performing in many venues near our home in Floyd County, Virginia. However, we are looking to take our music to a different level with the re-release on CD of two of our past recordings of duets of early country and gospel music .

One was a 1986 LP previously released on the Heritage label but soon to be available as Southern Mountain Melodies 107 entitled 'When The Roses Bloom in Dixieland'. The other was previously released by us as a cassette only but is also soon to be available as SMM 207 entitled 'The Sweetest Way Home'.

We are putting on the finishing touches to the 6 panel inserts that feature extensive liner notes about our style of music and about the source of each song. Interesting art work and photography will adorn each project so that if you already own the original release in LP or cassette you'll find the original packages pale in comparison to the updated ones.

The music itself has been digitally remastered to sound technically better than ever in the updated CD format. Check back for the latest in release date and ordering info. We will have certain songs available here for you to sample if you like. Also if you prefer digital downloads of our songs, that should be possible after we've worked out the details with certain distributors.

We are also starting to prep for a new project to begin this Spring and completed soon as possible.

So Check it all out now and comeback later to see the latest improvements, photos, song clips, and performance schedule.

Mac and Jenny

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Spring forward

Spring Forward is in the air. Thanks for checking in. Progress is being made on the music front slowly but surely.

We are into many things that distract our attention like everyday making a living. Mac has an active woodworking
business and Jenny is a part-time home health nurse as well as a fledging greenhouse business.

We plan to include info about these in side pages when we get the info and photos organized. For now we are focused on springing forward no matter how long it takes. We hope you are too.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Music in the works

Over the coming weeks, we'll be putting sound clips here for you to hear. It won't be long before our reissue of two previous recordings (remember cassette tapes and LPs?) will be available. Two CD's, Roses Bloom in Dixieland and The Sweetest Way Home will be available for purchase directly from Mac and Jenny or locally at places like The Picking Porch, the Floyd Country Store and other places to be announced.

Meanwhile, give a listen to a bit of Singing Birds from Mac's currently-available CD, I'm Going That Way.

And from The Sweetest Way Home, here's a sample of When the Springtime Comes Again

Come back soon, and be on the lookout for the CDs SOON!

Monday, February 12, 2007