Turning the Page

There are certain days from your childhood that you never forget. For me, it was a Saturday morning when I was five years old. Every ten minutes, I ran to the backdoor and stood on the top step. From there, I could see all the way down to the bridge that spanned Bull Run Creek.
What was I so anxious about? The piano my parents had bought was to be delivered that morning. My mother has always loved music and she knew of its importance, so she made sure we had one. For years, my parents made a payment on it every month.

'Take a Country Road' to the 16th Union County Heritage Festival

tents at a festival

Craft vendors and demonstrators at the 2018 Festival

As the 2021 theme says, tourists from area counties as well as several states plan to “Take a Country Road” for the Union County Heritage Festival on Saturday, October 2.
Just follow Thunder Road (Hwy 33) and Wilson Lane to all of the festivities in Wilson Park. Visitors can board the free shuttle (the big yellow bus) sponsored by Monroe Bus Lines, State Farm Insurance, and City of Plainview to view the Quilt Show, talk to the authors, and eat some country cookin' at the Union County Museum.

Let there be music: 10th Annual Luttrell Music Festival

The Luttrell Music Festival—formerly referred to as the Luttrell Bluegrass Festival—is a city-sponsored annual event that also receives grants from the Tennessee Arts Commission that showcases local musicians in a fun-filled, festive family atmosphere.
Although the festival name has changed, there is still plenty of down-home bluegrass music to enjoy, plus this year there are country and gospel bands as well.
There will also be a variety of craft booths and food vendors. It is sure to be a great time for all, and admission is free.

Tumblin' Run: Bluegrass and Tradition

Tumblin' Run bluegrass band at the Union County Opry

Tumblin' Run bluegrass band at the Union County Opry, photo by DreamKapture Photography left to right Zeke Flatford, Lyndon Kitts, Trey Farley, Tucker Jones

There are deep roots for mountain music, or bluegrass, in Appalachia, East Tennessee and Union County. Many local folks have a passion for the music and the customs it entails. It is a tradition that passes down through generations to our youths.
Tumblin’ Run is a local band that is carrying on the mountain tradition. Members Zeke Flatford (age 20), Lyndon Kitts (20), Tucker Jones (16), and Trey Farley (18) all have a keenness for keeping the tradition alive and bringing the old-time melodies to their audiences.

Music - All Good, No Bad, and Certainly Not Ugly

One of Mancini's most famous works. Picture courtesy of Adrienne Arsht Center

Seeing “The Cradle of Country Music” on the banner of the newspaper made me think of my own tastes in music. I am not a musician. I couldn’t play chopsticks on a kid’s toy piano if someone had a gun to my head, but I know what I like to hear. I do enjoy country artists like Dolly Parton, the Oak Ridge Boys, or the Statlers. I also like some of the ‘good ol’ rock ‘n’ roll of four or five decades ago, but what I really like are instrumentals, specifically instrumental soundtracks.

Historical Tribute Show - Union County Opry

Union County Opry

It begins on the night of Saturday, April 20, 2019 in the Union County High School Auditorium when the announcer introduces the Union County Opry Band to play a musical tribute to entertainers that have come from Union County including Lois Johnson, Carl Smith, Chet Atkins, Roy Acuff and Jim Wyrick. “The good Lord above has poured out a special bucket of talent on Union County,” said Danny Cooke.

Union County Opry

Union  County Opry

Maynardville is now home to The Union County Opry. Known as the Cradle of County Music, Union County is noted for its musical heritage; four of its sons are now known throughout the world–Roy Acuff, Chet Atkins, Carl Smith, and Kenny Chesney. Lois Johnson, Hilda Kitts Harrill, and Melba Kitts Greene are among its best known women entertainers (

Remembering Fiddler "Bitt" Rouse

Remembering Fiddler "Bitt" Rouse

The fiddler has played his last tune for the night, but Bitt Rouse will not soon be forgotten. Most people would not know of whom you were speaking when you mentioned Palmer Stiner Rouse, because nearly all his life he was known by his nickname. My sister, Dorothy Kitts, had him as a 5th grade student at the old Rush Strong School in Lead Mine Bend. Then he was called “Bitty” Rouse because he was so small for his age, but he grew to quite a tall man. The nickname was shortened to “Bitt.”