Several years ago, Martha Wood, Music Director at Patton United Methodist Church, Franklin NC, was instrumental in starting the band. At that time, the band consisted of Martha, Roy Wood (Martha’s husband), Myra Patton and Alisa Ashe (daughter of Martha & Roy). Martha played the fiddle & dulcimer, Myra the dulcimer, Roy the dulcimer, and Alisa the mandolin. It wasn’t long until they decided that they needed some guitar accompaniment, so, Jim Barker joined the band to provide lead guitar. At this time, the band played mostly spiritual instrumentals during church services and other events at Patton church.
Some time passed, Myra had to drop out, and Fred Kirkland (vocals & rhythm guitar) joined the band. The band began to include more vocals with their spiritual instrumentals and started adding more traditional mountain, folk and country tunes. They also added a sound system so that their audiences could better hear their music. At this point, the band was still restricting their performances to Patton church services and functions.
It was about this time (or a little before) that Martha decided to start an annual “SPRING – RING – STRING – SING” day of music at Patton. This usually takes place in May of each year where the Patton Hand bell Choir, the string band, and choir provide the music. Along with the music, we have lots of food and fellowship. The men do the cooking and their food is judged! This became the first “big gig” for the string band!
From this point, the string band began to grow and play outside the church. Three members from Memorial United Methodist Church (our sister church) joined the band. Cotton Melton (bass guitar, rhythm guitar & vocals), Grady Green (vocals & Autoharp) and Bill Jackson (vocals & harmonica). Also, about this time, Robbie Wood (Vocals & Banjo), son of Martha & Roy and Patton member, joined the band.
passed and another member from Memorial, Jeff Jordan (vocals &
rhythm guitar ), joined the band. Just
this year, Russ Stewart has joined us with his bass guitar. We how have
11 band members (counting Russ)!
The group continued adding spirituals, mountain, folk, country tunes and the original members began to provide vocals. The band prides itself in its interaction with the audience. the audience is encouraged to sing along with us. This is the way we have fun, and we hope the audience does too.