Rural Roots Music Festival to Come to Fremont, Nebraska, 10/4-6
"It's an amazing world we live in today," says Bob Everhart, President of the National Traditional Country Music Assn. "It's thrilling to see some prehistoric creatures return to planet earth," Everhart said in a recent radio interview, "but more importantly to me is the struggle to keep our old-time rural music alive. Nebraska is one of the last states in America that makes an attempt at keeping their cultural heritage a part of the present. Early 'country' music was directly from the soil, from the real 'country' if you will. Country music we hear today is not really 'country' music, it's just a pale imitation of the real thing. Originally from 'rural' America, so-called country music today has fallen into the hands of whoever has the most money. Still, the roots from whence it came is very important, especially to Nebraskans. The 'rural' music of the Great Plains tells the tales of early life on the prairie, it tells stories of homesteading and pioneering. So, where are the stories about the groundbreaking activities of our ancestors? What happened to the songs of our early rural music makers?"
According to Everhart's wife, Sheila, "Bob is the curator of the Pioneer Music Museum, and a recording artist for the Smithsonian Institution. Many people take him for granted, but his entire life has been dedicated to 'saving' some of the music that was a soothing medicine to the ears of our early settlers. He is also a prominent historian of country music in general, especially the way it was originally written, and what it was written about, and why."
The Everharts have developed a concert program for the Smithsonian they call 'A Traveling Museum of Music,' and will be performing parts of their research at the annual "Old Time Rural Music Gathering," a festival of early country music styles from the past. The event takes place at the Christensen Field House in Fremont, Nebraska, October 4-5-6, and features a number of celebrities that also perform an older form of country music. On the program with the Everharts is Jim Reeves nephew, John Rex Reeves. According to Reeves, "I am keeping my uncles music alive, just like he did it. I was very close to my uncle Jim Reeves, and spent a large part of my life learning how to sing like him." Also performing at this years gathering, is Terry Smith, the composer of "Far Side Banks of Jordan" for Johnny and June Carter Cash. According to Smith, "I am a retired schoolteacher, which is how I made my living, and I am a strong supporter of what the Everharts are doing, attempting to 'save' what country music sounded like from its earliest development up to and past the Hank Williams, Sr., stage. Today's country music has incorporated a great deal of modern technology and electronic wizardry which of course was not in early rural music."