Country Connections

Carl Smith - from Union County to Mr. Country - Part 1

Country Connections
by James and Ellen Perry
As March 15, 1923, came, the Doc and Ina Smith family had no notion of what was to transpire in a short 23 years, and how their family would be impacted by the birth this day of their only son after bearing and raising five girls. The name given to this baby boy born on this day, just a short walk north of Maynardville, Tennessee, was Carl Milton Smith.

Chubby Beeler, the Man Behind the Stars

Sharon and Chubby Beeler

Country Connections by James and Ellen Perry
I first met Chubby Beeler during my freshman year 1959/1960 at Horace Maynard High School in Maynardville, Tennessee, the county seat of Union County. Chubby was a phenomenon at school as he was a very good guitar picker and had an easygoing personality, as we called it back then. He hasn’t changed over the years even after all his success as a guitar picker displaying his great talent from Union County to the Grand Ole Opry and many places in between.

The Betterway Quartet - A dream that came true

From small acorns, large oak trees grow, and so did a Union County gospel group. This group started jamming about 1978, so said one of the founding members to me. They included Jerry Cole, Sr., Bill Turner, Neal Walker, and Dannie Peters.
Then they became known as Union Grass, a bluegrass and bluegrass gospel band. Union Grass started entertaining at bluegrass festivals, local churches and pie suppers. They always closed with a bluegrass gospel song or a gospel song by Hank Williams.

“Lath” Wyrick—A man before his time

Esther Keck Wyrick and William Lathan “Lath” Wyrick

Esther Keck Wyrick and William Lathan “Lath” Wyrick

It was 1954. My brothers and I were sitting on the front porch of our home with our Dad, Jesse Perry, when a 1950 Dodge pickup came into the yard. It was Lath Wyrick.
He got out and walked up to the porch. Daddy said, “Get a chair and set a spell, Lath.”
“I believe I will, Jess,” Lath said.

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