Last October, a jovial fellow named Matt Kinman showed up at the Goleta Old Time Fiddlers Convention, which happens annually in the second weekend of October near Santa Barbara, CA. A likeable guy with a southern way of talking and unusual upstrum frail on the banjo, he walked away with top awards in banjo, fiddle, and singing categories. Matt recently teamed up with LA fiddler Ben Guzman of Triple Chicken Foot to launch a wonderful documentary video series called The Back Porch of America. In Episode 1, Matt Kinman visits with Mark Newberry, a fifth generation chair maker on Jennings Creek, Tennessee. The episode premiered on Aug. 6 on The Bluegrass Situation.
“So much of what we’re looking at, is people that make things, do things, and live this old way of life,” Guzman said. “There is storytelling that goes on, music that goes on, food that goes on with it, and all these things are a way of life that may be gone if people don’t carry it on.” The first episode in the series tells the story of the Newberry family, who for five generations has made chairs by hand from the trees grown on their farm in Macon County, Tennessee.
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