The 40th Old Timer’s Day was celebrated at Pickett State Park this past Labor Day. As usual, the annual event was full of music and merriment, enjoyed by all in attendance. A homespun microphone stand revisited the way this event started 40 years ago: with the barest of materials in a makeshift setting, carried on only by sheer dedication to a day of spent celebrating old-time music.
Michael DeFosche played fiddle tunes from the repertoires of Clyde Davenport and Fiddling John Sharp, demonstrating his wide range of abilities as a musician, capturing the unique accents of each repertoire.
The humorous Leonard Anderson brought the crowd nearly to tears with laughter, singing joking lyrics written about local life here in Jamestown, Tennessee.
Throughout the park, musicians clustered around one another, young and old, to play all throughout the day. The festivities could hardly be constrained to one main stage.
A particularly special visitor, Evelene Sharp, arrived mid-day. In spite of her elderly age, she was determined to join in the festivities. Evelene is the eldest daughter of the legendary Fiddling John Sharp. The entire Sharp family is renowned for their rare gift of musicianship, often demonstrated here in Pickett State Park or at the old Sharp Place. They have played for us throughout the 20th century and are still going in the year 2015.
Throughout the day, Evelene held court, warmly greeted by friends and local admirers, basking in the attention.
Evelene demonstrated her fine guitar-picking as she played Sharp Family tunes with Bobby on the banjo and Michael on his fiddle, as the trio have done for decades. They first began playing together right here at Pickett State Park, a fine musical partnership that has led to dear friendships and a continued dedication to the Sharp family musical tradition.
The usual buck dancing inevitably ensued alongside the stage, often led by the enthusiastic Bud Conatser.
After performing on stage, Evelene continued to dance alongside family and friends. She simply could not be held down!
It should also be noted that this appearance took place two days after Evelene celebrated her 95th birthday on September 5. She spent her birthday picking tunes on the guitar—when she had a free moment between the onslaught of well-wishing visitors.
Here at Sandrock Recordings, we love Evelene dearly and are so proud to represent her as one of our musicians. You can hear Evelene on Sharp’s Hornpipe Volume II: The Sharp Family Recordings. To see more photographs from Old Timer’s Day 2015, or download your own copies, visit our Flickr album here.