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Kenny Price concert promises to bring his rich mountain music heritage to life

On Saturday, August 6 at 7pm, Kenny Price will perform with Mountain Tradition; featuring Greg Fields on guitar, Grady Stout on banjo, and Jim Mixen on bass at Heritage Hall. Kenny is known well by the locals for his musical talents and tradition, and this will be his second concert of this magnitude in Johnson County.
A deeply rooted native of Johnson County, Kenny has a rich heritage steeped in the music and the stories of these hills. Fiddlin’Fred Price, Kenny’s father, played at Carnegie Hall and UCLA with Clint Howard and Doc Watson in the 60’s when folk music was popular and deeply appreciated as a reflection of Johnson County’s heritage
Kenny performed on RFDTV on Sat, July 23 when a camera crew from the Cumberland Highlanders Show that is televised in Kentucky set up a remote in Kenny’s house and they did a segment of Kenny singing and playing several of Tom Ashley’s tunes with Kody Norris playing backup. Campbell Mercer, the booking agent for the Cumberland Highlanders Show, will be airing two of these songs at a time during the next few months. The setting for this segment is significant in that Kenny’s home place was one of the major settings for the birth of country music. This is where Doc, Fred, Clint, and Tom came together on many evenings and jammed tunes like “The Coo Coo Bird” for which they became famous. According to Minnie Miller, country music may have been born in Bristol, but it was conceived in Johnson County.
Kenny fondly remembers a strong musical tradition in his home stemming from his father and his grandmother who played the banjo. At nine he began playing the traditional music of the mountains after his dad “put strings on that old banjo and helped me learn to play.” When he was 19, he learned to play the fiddle and performed for several years with his famous father. He now plays several instruments and sings. Because of his experience with the folks who brought country music to life in this area, he knows many of the old ballads and tunes brought here from the British Isles during the 18th and 19th centuries.
This Heritage Hall concert, like the last, will be dedicated to the memory of his father, Fred Price, and his late son, Adam Price, along with Tom Ashley, perhaps the most prominent contributor to the old time music tradition of this region as well. In fact, Ashley was featured in a book about three of the most important musicians of old time music from Tennessee. The volume was published in the late sixties and co-penned by Minnie Miller as her graduate thesis.
During Price’s Heritage Hall concert, he will be playing Old English ballads and songs that Tom Ashley performed in the 20’s and 30’s. He will also be performing old time fiddle tunes his dad played as well as gospel songs that his son Adam liked to play. Additionally, he will be singing and playing old songs and ballads about local stories along with a brief history of each.
This show is not just a concert. It is a reflection of the rich musical history for which Johnson County is known throughout the region. What a great way to touch base with the voices of the Appalachians, both past and present and the wonderful heritage of these hills while spending an evening with your friends and neighbors at Heritage Hall.