Music tops agenda for ECHS meeting

Published 8:02 am Wednesday, September 17, 2008

By Staff
The program for the Escambia County Historical Society's next meeting on Sept. 23 is titled “Fiddlers, Banjo Players and Strawbeaters - Alabama's First Pop Musicians.”
Presented by the Alabama Humanities Foundation, Mrs. Joyce Cauthen and her husband, Jim, will discuss the early fiddlers of Alabama, the musicians who played with them and the popularity of this music in their communities.
Discussions will also surround the pivotal role played by African-Americans in developing the music at the roots of today's bluegrass and country music.
This talk will be made especially interesting by the presence of fiddler Jim Cauthen who will demonstrate fiddle tunes that have been specifically mentioned in historical writings, slave narratives and early newspapers of Alabama.
Joyce Cauthen will demonstrate use of the banjo, “straws” (a technique in which broom straws or knitting needles were beat on the strings as the fiddler played) and guitar in backing up the fiddle.
The audience will hear musical styles and tunes that are seldom heard today and will have the opportunity to ask questions and share their perceptions of the differences in this music and the modern country music that is based upon it.
The meeting is 3 p.m. in the Gallery Room in the Thomas E. McMillan Museum on the campus of Jefferson Davis Community College in Brewton. For more information, please call 251-809-1528.