December 14, 2017

The Built-Wells Upright 4-String Washtub Bass: A Labor of Love and a Lot of Fun

The Built-Wells Upright 4-String Washtub Bass: As discussed on Thunder Radio's Bluegrass Crossroads Show (listen here), appearing on our CD, and maybe at a music festival near you. I've been a wannabe musician for a long time, and the "wanna" has grown stronger in recent years as I've seen how much fun goes on at bluegrass and old-time music festivals. I've squeezed into a circle of musicians with a video cam at plenty of jams, often filming my daughter Kelsey, an old-time fiddler, and … [Read more...]

Old Bunch of Keys: A Documentary on Old-Time Fiddler Kelsey Wells

Proud mama alert: Kelsey Wells is the subject of a new short documentary from folklorist Caitlin Coad. Old Bunch of Keys, named for an old-time tune, as well as Kelsey's latest CD and thesis project as a Buchanan Fellow at Middle Tennessee State University, is a fifteen minute film available here on Vimeo. Yes, yes, I'm her mama, so of course I've watched it more than once. But even you might enjoy at least one viewing to: Learn more about old-time music, particularly fiddling Sample a … [Read more...]

What’s All This Praying and Politicking for the Mountains About, Anyway?

I often use social media to encourage my friends to pray for the mountains, or to contact their legislators to protect the mountains. Those posts don't always get a lot of comments, but sometimes someone will ask me in person,  "WHAT are you talking about?" So here's a bit of background information, and a great music video that helps explain. Living on a very flat piece of middle Tennessee, I'd never heard of a mining process called mountaintop removal (MTR) until I started attending writing … [Read more...]

Yay! A New Year, and My 2011 Favorites in Books, Music and Techy Stuff

On Christmas morning, each of us Wells found a different Yay! LiFE! magnet in our stocking. As they congregated on our fridge later in the day (undoubtedly holding out hope for a bite of  yay! sausage balls! or yay! eggnog!), I realized that they are an astonishingly simple but enthusiastic expression for most of the passions in my life: Yay! Books! was in my stocking and of course represents my love for reading and writing both prose and poetry. Favorite fiction I read in 2011: The Night … [Read more...]

Bound for the Blue Plate Special

On Monday, December 19th, poetry and roots music from the edge of Appalachia will be taking to the airwaves and cyberspace when Kelsey and I appear on Knoxville WDVX's Blue Plate Special program along with Tennessee poet laureate Maggi Vaughn and Sweet Fancy Moses, the band that Kelsey's in. The one-hour show broadcasts live before a studio audience at noon EST from the Knoxville Visitors Center on the corner of Gay Street and Summit Hill Drive in downtown Knoxville. We're hoping a number of … [Read more...]