Inaugural Long Journey Home Musical Heritage Tour Launches In Johnson County, Tn.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015 - by Amanda Stravinsky

The Long Journey Home Musical Heritage Tour merges historic sites, music and stories beginning in downtown Mountain City and throughout Johnson County.

The unveiling of Cristy Dunn’s mural “Birth of a Ballad: The Capture of Tom Dooley” kicks the event off 10 a.m. Sept. 26 on the Mountain City Antiques & Collectibles building, at the corner of Church and Main.

The new mural is the second in a series designed to bring awareness to Johnson County’s rich musical heritage and contributions to the development of folk and country music. The new mural honors the blind fiddler, G.B. Grayson, who wrote and recorded many of the old-time standards known and loved today.

Beginning at the unveiling and continuing throughout the day, Grayon’s music and the music that Tom Ashley, Doc Watson, Clint Howard, and Fred Price carried to the Smithsonian and Carnegie Hall will be performed live at the home places of the musicians and other heritage sites throughout the county.

Brochures will be available to guide participants through a full day of discovering the stories, songs, and places of Johnson County’s musical heritage.

Following the mural unveiling, there will be a cultural art and artifacts exhibit nearby at the public library. From there, the driving tour begins at the Doe Creek site where Colonel James W.M. Grayson captured the infamous Tom Dula, and a performance of the murder ballads so prevalent in Appalachian roots music. Kenny Price will perform claw-hammer banjo tunes on the front porch of the home of the legendary Clarence “Tom” Ashley. Other sites include the gravesite of Colonel Grayson where a capella gospel hymns will be sung; and the home of Clint Howard, where his family carries on the tradition of music. The culmination of the day will be a concert at the mountain home of Fred Price, followed by an open jam. Participants can bring a chair or blanket to enjoy the music.

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