In sleepy hollows filled with shady coves of Mountain Laurel and Rhododendron, cool frothing mountain water swirls past rocky cliffs and moss covered rocks. The early settlers were drawn to this area. The Scotch-Irish, English, and other European settlers came in search of land even before the American Revolution. In the late eighteenth century (late- 1700’s), it was a rough land and initially a dangerous and fearful place at the fringe of the American frontier. By dim lit campfires, early Moravian explorers heard the moaning sounds of wolves and mountain lions late at night. Personal safety of the Colonial Period residents was a concern due to conflict and war with the Cherokees and British .
It was in these rugged mountain crags that the residents carved their niche and developed their own rich culture and way of life. The hard working and self-reliant mountain people had a reputation for many rich traditions, folk art, story telling and music.
Scotch-Irish were known to be very musical bringing their Jigs, hornpipes, reels, and ballads into the mountains. Today, this music has been modified and further developed into its own distinct style of music. Barn dances and hoedowns have survived for more two centuries and are still thriving strong today.
Among the powerful "legends of the hills," are the stories of those who manufactured illegal whisky from homemade operations hidden deep in the woods. The old process of distilling spirits was brought to America by the settlers from Ireland and Scotland. The combined resources of abundant corn in the fertile valleys and cool mountain water from the nearby secluded hills, made it easy to set up and run a "moonshine operation." It was called moonshining because the work was often conducted at night to escape detection from law enforcement authorities.
Wilkes County North Carolina has been referred to at times as the "Moonshine Capitol of the World." This is laR.G.ely because between 1920 from about 1965, illegal moonshining was widespread with Wilkes County. It was out of this period that many fascinating stories and tales arose.
Though illegal, the various moonshining and bootlegging operations painted a colorful picture. Late night chases by Federal Agents (ATF agents) on serpentine mountain roads created stories for later Hollywood movies like "Thunder Road"and "White Lightening." And its not surprising that the sport of stock car racing was at least in part born from the moonshiners habit of making cars (hotrods) faster in order to run from the law.
So here we go! Shiner’s Hollow is a recording project put together by the Extra Measure Band which attempts to paint the nostalgic past through the medium of music. Shiner’s Hollow is really like a lot of places and the lore of our area also relates to many other areas in the rual south.
By-the-way, the Extra Measure band just happens to be from Wilkes County North Carolina. These musicians have heard getaway and chase stories first hand from the shiners and retired federal agents. who once ran the mountain roads. It was certainly a dramatic tradition born from the manufactor and transportation of a "certain illegal clear beverage" which was produced in "them hills."
The music on this project includes sounds from both traditional and contemporary styles. In addition, we’ve included several original tunes and songs which the band hopes you will enjoy. One word of caution--Watch your speed when listening to the music while driving a twisty mountain road!