A thousand words beyond the Hill

Brian Wagner

Just across from the Blue Moon Variety Shop, right next door to the Rosine General Store sits the closest point to heaven on U.S. Route 62: the Rosine Barn Jamboree. Legends have graced the stage, and the faithful can make the pilgrimage weekly if their hearts desire.

Out back, Vincent Brown and his son Mike enjoy the night air. Warm vibrations from the upright on stage drift about like a summer breeze.

“I gotta find me another song,” Mike says while killing time before his 10 o’clock date with the mic. Pickin’ at his Fender, he sings along, “Bad, bad Leroy Brown,” and stops.

“That ain’t bluegrass and I really don’t care,” Mike explains.

“What kind of guitar is that?” Vincent asks a man headed towards the stage.

“It’s a Martin,” the picker answers. A few minutes later Vincent opens his case, grabs his six-string and calmly sings a song.

From bluegrass to gospel, country to rock and roll, music is in their blood and they’re not alone. On an average Friday night more than 100 faithfuls come to listen or pick at the barn. Some never make it to the stage but find a seat affront the general store; others even fill truck beds with the sweet sounds.

Regardless of the brand, verse, age or spot, fiddles, mandolins, basses, banjos and guitars sing ’til the sun’s long gone with that ole Kentucky blue moon lightin’ the way.

Brian Wagner is a senior photojournalism major from Knoxville, Tenn. He can be reached at [email protected]