R.G. Absher
R.G. Absher

Shiner's Hollow

Shiner's Hollow is about a place deep in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It’s also about a tradition developed during a hard and yet vivid period of history. Be prepared to let your imagination flow!! We’re entering an era of romantic legends and tales .

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!

R.G. Absher

SELECTIONS

Hezekiah Jones -- ( c Kermit Teague/Jim Gambill,R.G. Absher, Teague Town Tunes Publishing Co., BMI) Old Hezekiah is rough and tough and out to steal the hearts of all the ladies in town. 
Shiner’s Hollow -- ( 1999 c R.G. Absher BMI) Shiner’s Hollow is a place deeply hidden in the woods amid Mountain Laural thickets and along a cold clear creek.("Shiner’s Hollow" was recorded in memory of the late Brenda Harrington, who was an excellent banjo player from Alexander County, North Carolina.) 
Copperhead Road-- (Steve Earl, UNI Records) -- We included this contemporary Steve Earl song which relates several generations of the shiner traditions.
Old Slewfoot -- (Howard Hausey/ James C. Webb, Little Hurry Music Inc.,BMI) Old Slewfoot Is a story about a Bear. The famous tale is like that many that have been told around old country stores for generations.
San Antonio Rose (Okrun Michael, Alpha Musicana, BMI) The sounds of this long time favorite were no doubt enjoyed on the car radio back in the fifties and sixties when the fast cars ran the back roads. Jeff and Wes play a little twin fiddle in celebration of that western swing sound.
Patsy HaR.G.rove-- (1999 c Wes Tuttle BMI) -- The instrumental by Wes creates a distinct lonesome sound. Picture a windswept mountain pass on a stark winter evening.  ("Patsy HaR.G.rove" was named in honor of Wes Tuttle’s mother.)
Greenville Trestle High -- ( James H. Jett III, Trestlehigh Music Inc.,BMI) Doc Watson is one of our favorite musicians, and we enjoy playing some of the tunes that we’ve heard Doc play.
Eyes of Caroline -- ( 1999 c Randy Gambill Let’s Get Real Publishing Co.,BMI) Randy’s song writing brings out a keen appreciation for the lovely hills of the Carolina countryside.
Bootlegger’s Run 1999, R..G. Absher BMI -- "I wrote this banjo tune especially for the chase!" R.G.A
Cindy’s Waltz -- (1999 c Jeff Pardue, BMI) -- Jeff wrote this beautiful waltz. Get your partner and join in on the dance!  (Cindy’s Waltz was named in honor of Jeff’s Wife Cindy.)
Deep River -- (Paul Williams/Sam Humphrey, Champion Music, BMI) In the rural south, rivers seem to be great mediums for relating life stories and episodes.
Surrounding The Mountain/Thunder On The Mountain (1999 c R.G. Absher, BMI) These instrumentals were written about events and scenes that occurred during the American Patriot Militia victory over the British Loyalist force in the Battle of Kings Mountain on Oct. 7, 1780. Several Extra Measure band members are descendents of soldiers who fought in the revolutionary war battle. In the Spirit of the Scotch-Irish in the battle, "Surrounding The Mountain" is a Celtic styled intro, while "Thunder On the Mountain" has more of an Appalachian sound.
Deep River Blues -- (Alton Delmore, Lionel Delmore Music Co., Universal Songs of Polygram Inc., Vidor Publications Inc., BMI) Tony’s singing and Mike’s finger picking bring to mind a lazy southern river and a lazy summer day.
Columbus Stockade Blues (John H. Duffey/Charles O. Waller, Zap Publishing Co., BMI) The tune touches a little on the pain of doing time in a southern jail. Not all the moonshiners escaped capture, and thus many did experience active jail time.

Musicians

R.G. Absher -- banjo on all selections
Randy Gambill -– lead vocals on (1,5,8,14), harmony vocals on (3,4) rhythm guitar on (1,2,3,4,6,8,9,10,11,12,14), mandolin on 3 and 5
Billy Gee-- bass on all selections, lead vocals on 1, harmony vocals on (3,4,5,7,8,13), lead guitar on (1,2,8,11,12)
Tony Joines-– lead vocal on 7 and 13, lead guitar 7 and 13, resonator guitar on (1,2,4,8,9, 0,11,12,14), swing rhythm guitar on 5, rhythm on various other cuts.
Jeff Pardue-- fiddle on all selections, vocals on 5 and 7, accordion on 3
Mike Palmer-- finger style guitar on 7 and 13, rhythm guitar—various other
Wes Tuttle–- mandolin on (1,2,4,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14), fiddle on 3 and 5, vocals on (3,7,10,13)