Of Bluegrass and Barbers

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The place else however in Bristol, Virginia, the birthplace of nation music, would you discover a fiddling barber? The place else would you discover a barber typically featured in Jim Scancarelli's cartoon "Gasoline Alley"? In what different barber store in America are you able to discover a barber with over 50 years' expertise in each chopping hair and making bluegrass music?

Each Thursday morning, a bunch of among the most proficient musicians this aspect of Nashville collect amid the Vitalis, Osage Rub, and Pinaud Clubman Talc to present Star Barber Store patrons a free live performance. They even take requests.

Gene Boyd started the Star Barber Store enterprise in 1950, and his relationship with music goes again even farther. He started taking part in bluegrass round age 10 and carried out with such native teams because the Holston Valley Gang, the Boys from Hickory Tree and Leon Kiser and the Holston Mountain Boys. Mr. Boyd has carried out with Invoice Monroe, Jim and Jessee and Roni Stoneman. Fellow Bristolian Ernie Ford was a disc jockey when Mr. Boyd performed bluegrass on the radio. Mr. Boyd was awarded a BCMA Lifetime Achievement Award by the Birthplace of Nation Music Alliance in 1998. He additionally seems in an English movie firm video titled "Crawdaddy-from Bristol to Bristol."

Music supplies a robust bond between the musicians who frequent the Star Barber Store and their households. On the Thursday morning that I visited the store, one guitar participant's daughter had accompanied him to the store and proudly declared to me, "That's my daddy!"

One other Star Barber Store common participant confirmed me a guitar that had been handmade by his son. The guitar featured superbly inlaid tiny mosaic tiles across the base and down the neck.

"Does he do this for a dwelling?" I requested.

The person laughed. "Nah. He works at Eastman."

Mr. Boyd's personal fiddle is a beautiful piece of his personal craftsmanship. The one place among the cherry end has worn skinny is the place Mr. Boyd's left hand holds the neck. It is a fiddle that has been performed typically and with a substantial amount of love and respect for the instrument and for the music it emits.

For those who're ever in Bristol, Virginia, on a Thursday morning, go by the Star Barber Store at 1003 West State Road. You'll be welcomed with a cup of espresso, a track, and a haircut, in order for you one.

Everybody Welcome … Besides Possibly Huge Maude

You would possibly assume that Floyd's Metropolis Barber Store with its homespun allure and "two chairs, no ready" exists solely in The Andy Griffith Present reruns. In any case, who can run a profitable enterprise and nonetheless take time to shoot the breeze with passersby? Properly, don't inform anybody that you simply heard it from me, however Russell Hiatt can.

Desire a good haircut and all the most recent gossip in regards to the superb people from Mayberry? Then cease in at Floyd's Metropolis Barber Store on Essential Road in Andy Griffith's hometown of Mount Ethereal, North Carolina. I did. I didn't get a haircut, however I did get a couple of attention-grabbing tales. Now, right here once more, you didn't hear any of this from me, however Andy just lately got here residence to dedicate a stretch of highway named in his honor. It's formally referred to as The Andy Griffith Parkway, however some persons are already calling it "Andy's Street." They're probably not ones to placed on the canine in Mayberry, you already know … er, I imply, Mount Ethereal. And you already know Hal Smith who performed Otis the city drunk on the present? He confessed to Mr. Hiatt that he'd by no means drank in his life. And Ernest T. Bass? He isn't a nutty little troublemaker in any respect. He's a very nice man named Howard Morris who has visited Floyd's Metropolis Barber Store quite a lot of occasions. Helen Crump (a / okay / a Aneta Corsaut) got here for a go to as soon as and introduced alongside about 500 individuals from a tour in Winston-Salem. That go to offered the inspiration for Mr. Hiatt's "Wall of Fame."

It was about fourteen years in the past that Ms. Crump paid that go to. Since then, Mr. Hiatt has put 23,000 images on his wall (and has one other 1,800 able to be positioned, although discovering 1,800 empty areas would possibly pose an issue). These images embrace on a regular basis individuals (like me), a Cleveland, Ohio girl (who was the primary to be photographed for the "Wall of Fame"), governors, main league ballplayers and officers, Oprah Winfrey (whose father Vernon is a barber in Nashville, Tennessee), and even "The Unbelievable Hulk" Lou Ferrigno.

"Now that one fills up a barber chair," Hiatt, declaring the picture of Lou Ferrigno.

It's true. I'll wager even Aunt Bee and Clara peeped across the nook from Snappy Lunch as a way to get a greater take a look at the muscle-bound, smiling actor.

Mr. Hiatt has had quite a lot of enjoyable over the previous 56 years being "Floyd the barber." Who'd have thought that chopping Andy Griffith's hair when Andy was in school would play such a task in shaping Mr. Hiatt's life? Howard McNear who performed Floyd Lawson on The Andy Griffith Present suffered a stroke within the present's final 12 months, 1968. McNear died on January 3, 1969. Thus, the actual life "Floyd" attends Mayberry's reunions and celebrations. When he will get again residence, he as soon as once more will get out the scissors and the comb and goes again to work.

I’ve to say, Russell Hiatt is an actual Mayberry form of man. He faithfully visits his mother-now 98-in the nursing residence; and each different Sunday, he helps prepare dinner dinner for all the household (23 in all). And very like Floyd Lawson, you’ll be able to't one-up him irrespective of how exhausting you attempt. I confirmed him images of my boy-girl twins, and danged if he didn't flip proper round and level out {a photograph} of his boy-girl twins (simply two of his ten great-grandchildren).

In 2000, Mr. Hiatt was inducted into the Barbering Corridor of Fame. "If I'd retired, I'd have missed that," he instructed me. "And if I'd stayed residence at this time, I'd have missed you … and I wouldn't have missed that for the world."

That mentioned, contemplate your self warned about visiting Mount Ethereal / Mayberry. We watch The Andy Griffith Present, and we get preconceived notions about what these townspeople is likely to be like. Then you definitely go there and discover that it's actually higher than something Hollywood may concoct. You go to the Customer's Heart and Ann and Millie make you’re feeling like a VIP, and then Mr. Hiatt treats you want household. I used to be virtually stunned that no deputy stopped me on the best way out of city to present me a jar of pickles … however then once more, somebody did point out that that exact deputy was totally on responsibility on Fridays.

Of Bluegrass and Barbers
Author: Paul

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