From the Pages of We Are the Music Makers!

inWe Are the Music Makers!on October 16, 2014

JCMCCOOL-1

 

J.C. McCool composed the fiddle standard “the Black Mountain rag.” he began his career when he was just 10 years old playing with Walter Davis and Clarence Greene, who recorded in the 1930s as the Blue Ridge Mountain entertainers. When I first came to Swannanoa, NC in 1981 to go to college, I was introduced to Walt Davis, Ray Greene and J.C. by my new fiddler friend Jeff Robbins. We went out to ray’s on the weekends and helped him build a cinderblock building in his backyard. there, ray hosted a pickin’ party for old time musicians to get together and play every Monday night ever since, for more than 20 years. after I started Music Maker, I visited J.C. and found him crippled with arthritis and nearly blind. he told us his fixed income was too little to afford groceries. We offered him a monthly stipend to help out. While he accepted the checks, he admitted being uncomfortable accepting money from an organization that primarily supported African American musicians. Several years later on another visit, he spoke his heart — that after a lifetime of being prejudiced he had an awakening and changed churches to one that embraces all people. J.C. thanked us for being part of his enlightenment.

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