Chattanooga's Live Music Scene: The Mountain Opry

Thursday, March 6, 2008 - by Bob Payne

This week’s review is of the Mountain Opry, located on Signal Mountain. I know, it's not a band, but it has operated every Friday night for nearly 30 years and offers some of the area’s best bluegrass, mountain and traditional Americana music that can be found on a consistent basis anywhere in the Tennessee Valley.

The Mountain Opry usually has 4-6 different performances on a Friday night in a very wholesome, family atmosphere. There is no charge for admittance, but they do accept donations and they have a great concession stand on-site for snacks and beverages.

Banjo pickers, fiddlers, bass players, guitarists, and some good old-fashioned harmonizing are featured on the stage each week. When the weather is decent, as it will be very soon, the action outside the building is hot, as well. The groups preparing to go on stage practice outside and jam with other pickers around the picnic tables and among the tall oak trees in the yard. The jam sessions are really something to watch, as the region's best bluegrass artists just join in with each other for some big-time mountain music.

I have been there several times, and have never been disappointed. Even my grandkids, who aren’t exactly bluegrass music fans, had a good time there. The last time we were there with them, Meredith Goins, a world-class fiddler known throughout the Bluegrass world, performed. The grandkids were mesmerized by this 19-year-old fiddler champion from Dunlap.

We were there one night when the power went out, and the group just kept playing in the dark, with only the emergency lighting glowing in the building. The crowd never moved - they just kept watching and the band just kept playing. That’s the nice thing about fiddles and banjos. They don’t need electricity to play.

The show starts at 8 p.m. and goes for about three hours. Get there early to get a good seat or watch the groups tune up and jam outside. It's easy to find – just go up Signal Mountain on Highway 127 North and turn off on Fairmont Road, a couple of miles after you go through town. Look for the Fairmount Orchard sign and the Mountain Opry sign on the right side of Highway 127.

The website for the Mountain Opry is

Live! In Chattanooga

Thursday, March 6

Rhythm & Brews – Robinella with Jay Clark
Midtown Music Hall – Channing Wilson
T-Bones – Pee Wee Moore

Friday, March 7

Market Street Tavern – Bawn in the Mash
T-Bones – Bald Eddie
Buds – Convertibull
Rhythm & Brews – Fly By Radio
Spectaters – Adrenalin Drop
Midtown Music Hall – Brian Vanderark from the Verve Pipe
Ari’s – Fantasy Band

Saturday, March 8

Midtown Music Hall – Jamie McLean with Leaving Miss Blue
T-Bones – Honky Dogs
Spectaters –Adrenalin Drop
Rhythm & Brews – Heather Hayes Band with Matt Stephens Project
Ari’s – Fantasy Band
Dalton Depot – Nathan Saxton Band
Market Street Tavern – The Flynts
Ziggys – The Sid Vicious Experience with The Spectremen and Local Union

Sunday, March 9

Midtown Music Hall – Randy Rogers Band and Nathan Farrow

Monday, March 9

Rhythm & Brews – Monday Night Big Band

Wednesday, March 11
Rhythm & Brews – Blind Melon with Up With The Joneses
Las Margaritas Riverview – Priscilla and Little Rickee

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