Things that happened & things that will happen

We enjoyed all the music at the Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Convention in Athens, Alabama this weekend. It was good to get my annual fill of both funnel cakes and kettle corn!

Some of us had fun competing in the dulcimer contest (some enjoyed it more than others!) though it started way too late (close to 11 pm). Jan Hammond placed 2nd, Al Maiorano came in 4th, and Jerry Todd came in 5th.

I did not get a video of either Jan or myself competing but here’s Al:


Looking forward to seeing everyone at the regular jam this coming Thursday (10/7).

David B <><

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-7

Athens Dulcimers Updates

A new event has been added to our calendar
Oct 3 (Sunday)- Walk Thru the Cemetary 2:00-4:00 PM. You are welcome to wear your old-timey clothes, if you wish. Try to be there by 1:45; bring your chair and snacks or water if needed. This is always a fun event

Fiddlers Convention Concert Schedule
Thursday Sept 30 7 pm Volume Five
Friday Oct 1, 5 PM Jimmy Fortune
Friday Oct 1, 6 PM Dailey & Vincent
Saturday Oct 2, 5pm Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver

Judging A Book By Its Cover by David Bennett

David B <><

See ya at the jam tonight!

This is the last jam before Fiddlers

David B <><

You strum away on your harps like David and improvise on musical instruments. Amos 6:5

Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Psalm 95:1

Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord Ephesians 5:19


Ray Hunley Memorial Jam Sept 2nd

This from Louise:

For those who don’t know Ray Hunley lived in Old Hickory, Tennessee, outside of Nashville and was one of several people who was “instrumental” in helping to get Athens Dulcimers started.

If you have a CD by the Nashville Dulcimers, that is Ray Hunley.

The next jam, on 2 September, will be in memory of Ray Hunley. Bring and play your Ray Hunley dulcimer if you have one, play some of the tunes we learned from Ray, share a memory of time spent with him/Dauphine, and if you’re inclined bring a written memory or note/card to be sent to his family.

If you don’t know who Ray Hunley is, come to the jam and find out.

In the mean time here’s some links to videos featuring Ray:

Don Pedi & Ray Hunley Golden Slippers

Ray Hunley Steel Guitar Rag

Ray Hunley, Jerry Todd & Louise Todd play mountain dulcimers

2015: Ray Hunley with Jerry and Louise Todd

DULCIMENTARY: Ray Hunley & Athens Dulcimer Club

Hope to see y’all the first Thursday in Sept (9/2).

David Bennett <><

Jesus said in John 16:22, “So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.”

Ray Hunley

We just learned this evening of the passing of Ray Hunley on Friday.

Ray Hunley
July 23, 1926 – August 20, 2021 (95 years old)

Here’s a link to Ray’s obituary:

This remembrance from Louise Todd: “Ray was a mentor to many of the Athens Dulcimer players and responsible for many of us learning to play. He and Dauphine were ready to give up camping and then they ran into this new group of “wanna be” players and knew his work was not done! He and Dauphine enjoyed camping for many more years. I think most folks in the Athens Group have a Ray Hunley crafted dulcimer. Every time Jerry would talk to Ray, he would say, “ I sure would like to get down there to play with you all.”

Ray Hunley 2012

Visitors & Jamming

While a large part of our group was out west camping and playing dulcimers in Mississippi we had a nice little group at the regular jam.

Of special note we had two dulcimer playing guests.

Derrick visited us from Huntsville

Juanita was the other guest. She is 91 years old and is learning to play the dulcimer from Jerry and Louise. Juanita recently moved to Athens from Nashville, Tennessee.

Looking forward to the return of our campers and playing with them at the next jam on September 2nd.

David B <><

In John 16:33, Jesus says, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

Luke wrote in Acts 5:41, “So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.

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A Rose By Any Other Name…

This week I ran across a wonderful and memorable dulcimer club name: Toadsuck Dulcimer Club.

They meet at 6 pm on Monday nights in Conway, Arkansas at the Family Life Bible Church. They remind me very much of the Athens Dulcimers because, like us, they typically play old-time tunes and hymns and, “they don’t have a formal setting, but instead prefer the feel of an old front porch “jam session,” like something out of a scene from “Mayberry.””

There is a Toad Suck, Arkansas, it is near Conway and two hours from Fly Gap, Arkansas (I mention that because toads eat flies) but is less than 12 miles from Pickles Gap, Arkansas. There is also a Toad Suck State Park and a Toad Suck Ferry Lock and Dam nearby.

As to the unusual name I saw a few explanations about the origination of the name on the Internet. One version has it that long ago, steamboats traveled the Arkansas River and when the water was too shallow, the captains and their crews tied up to wait where the Toad Suck Lock and Dam now span the river. While they were tied up the rivermen would head over to the local tavern. Neighbor folks said of the river rats, “They sucked on the bottle ’til they swelled up like toads.”

The theory that probably makes the most sense, for me at least, has to do with river terminology. There’s a river term for a protected eddy along a riverbank called a “suck.” When the river recedes, frogs and tadpoles can be easily seen in that shallow water at the river’s edge. It may be that a riverboat captain hollered at his crew to avoid that “toad suck” when they were in danger of running aground. Old maps also show areas called “bear suck” and a “cow suck” indicating that was a fairly common descriptor back in the day.

Don’t forget to hop on over to the Athens Dulcimers jam this Thursday (8/19)!!

Also don’t forget to check out our schedule. The Aug 27 gig at the Senior Center is cancelled for the time being.

David B <><


Isaiah 41:13 For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.”

Psalm 91:2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”


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