A Night From Virginia USA at the Yinnar Hotel
Submitted by John Werner – Yinnar
Photos by Carolyn Boothman
The people of Yinnar and the surrounding district were treated to a wonderful evening of traditional old-time mountain music on last Wednesday when the Whitetop Mountaineers appeared in the penultimate gig of their third Australian tour, prior to heading off to the National Folk Festival in Canberra.
Following the warm-up set by local lads The Strzelecki Stringbusters, Martha & Jackson took the crowd on an aural and cultural journey back through the years to a different time and place. Renewing ties, originating from their 2009 appearance, they sang of heartache and misery, of murder and revenge and of love and eternal happiness through the intertwining stories of their home in Virginia’s culturally rich Blue Ridge Mountains.
Martha’s powerful vocals, supported by her deft banjo and guitar work, combined seamlessly with Jackson’s crystal clear tenor harmony to provide their trademark ‘mountain’ sound.
While Martha spent most of the first set on guitar, the crowd were treated to some great Monroe-style mandolin picking by Jackson. In the second set, Martha picked up her fiddle and introduced the crowd to Smokey The Rooster, a hand-made birthday present from Jackson, incorporating a rooster’s head for a scroll. To complete the cultural display, Martha danced up a storm to backing provided by Jackson on banjo, along with the Stringbuster’s John & Ray on double bass and guitar.
To close the show, the 13 piece Stringbuster ensemble squeezed on stage with the Mountaineers and ripped into the instrumental Angeline The Baker, and old favourites Will The Circle Be Unbroken and You Are My Sunshine, with the entire crowd joining in on the chorus.
Martha’s invitation to anyone in the crowd to ‘drop by if your ever in Virginia’ may sound like a well worn line when written, but it was delivered with absolute sincerity, and left no-one in doubt that a warm welcome awaits anyone who chooses to seek out traditional mountain music in its humble origins.