Can you hear the music?

Hank Hayes • Dec 11, 2017 at 8:30 AM

KINGSPORT – Bluegrass now has a full-time home in downtown Kingsport.

The Appalachian Cultural Music Association (ACMA) has relocated its Mountain Music Museum and “Pickin’ Porch” show from Bristol to Broad Street.

That show will have two stages – at the Broad Street venue in the former Uncorked location and also at the Renaissance Center, where ACMA plans 11 events in 2018.

The organization also plans to get involved with the “Bluegrass on Broad” series of shows.

“We’re just excited to be in Kingsport,” said Tim White, ACMA chairman and host of the “Song of the Mountains” show on public television. “We’ve gotten support from city officials, sponsors and the chamber. That’s pretty refreshing. We’ve struggled since we started in 2006 and it wasn’t from lack of enthusiasm from our members. We were struggling from financial support.”

White and ACMA now has a full-time executive director, Rick Dollar, to run the museum and events.

“Rick Dollar was instrumental in the relocation of the ACMA to Kingsport and seeking out the funds to make it happen,” added White.

Dollar has nine years in the radio business. In 2014, Dollar, along with a friend, Tony Dean of Marion Va., founded Net Radio Dogs. Dean and Dollar found themselves promoting, interviewing and befriending Bluegrass stars such as Doyle Lawson, Ricky Skaggs and Bobby Osborne. Dollar is also the marketing and promotional director at Poor Mountain Records and interviews guests on Song of The Mountains.

“Doyle Lawson said ‘That’s a good thing for y’all to go to Kingsport,’ he’s from here and the Carter family bought their first instruments here in Kingsport,” White noted. “This isn’t our first rodeo, we know how to get it done. We just needed the support and we feel like we’ve got it here … when the rubber meets the road, it’s about music. Tourism dollars is a big business in Tennessee and Virginia as well.”

The success of “Bluegrass on Broad,” said Kingsport Assistant City Manager Chris McCartt, prompted city officials to take ACMA seriously.

“We realized how important that was to the economic vitality of our downtown, with people walking down the street eating at our restaurants and shopping,” McCartt noted. “I thought ‘This is something we need to take a long hard look at’ … this is going to be good for us and downtown to put feet on the street. Look at what the state is doing to promote music and music heritage.”

Kingsport Mayor John Clark added: “Any time we have an opportunity to add an asset to our city, we are all over that.”

Dollar cited the words of Frank Carmack, stage manager for “Song of the Mountains.”

“Tim (White) said ‘We put on shows.’ Frank said ‘No, we put on damn good shows.’”

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