The Cockman Family is a Shindig staple

I appreciate the June 29 Xpress article about Shindig on the Green [“Mountain Values”].  However, I take strong exception to the paragraph about The Cockmans. The writer, after interviewing Glenn Bannerman (long-time Shindig host and family-dance team leader), writes that The Cockmans are “peripheral players no one has ever heard of,” and implies even they end up performing on Main Stage.

It seems that the writer did not understand Mr. Bannerman was using The Cockmans as a strong example of the beauty of Shindig. They began playing on Main Stage when they were little boys, barely big enough to get their fingers around the necks of their instruments, always getting standing ovations! I can certainly imagine Mr. Bannerman explaining how musicians, playing all around under the trees (the periphery), can find themselves on the Main Stage.

The Cockman Family is an award-winning bluegrass gospel band. They have been performing for at least 25 years. Most recently, they were awarded the Community Heritage Award by the North Carolina Folk Society.

They try to get to Shindig as often as possible. They still get standing ovations and are as humble and gracious as they were when they were children.

You do not have to be famous to play on Main Stage, but we do have famous folks who show up to play just because it’s Shindig!

The writer’s mistake was in writing in the present perfect tense without qualifying when it was that no one had heard of The Cockmans. Playing on the periphery does not make one a "peripheral player." I am thankful for Glenn Bannerman, Brooke Buckner and all the heroes who make up The Folk Heritage Committee. They have made it their mission to preserve our mountain heritage. Thanks to all of them! See you at Shindig!

— Jane Gurley


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One thought on “The Cockman Family is a Shindig staple

  1. boatrocker

    Maybe gospel styled bluegrass is the problem in the first place.

    Maybe bluegrass in its truest form should be free of the Christian right wing religious agenda and thus preserve the true musical form of Appalachian string band music that uses the fiddle (aka the Devil’s box as it makes people dance-gasp!) in order to entertain.

    By the way, shape note singing is awesome. Shape note singing pre-dates bluegrass by a century or so. The banjo came from West Africa for the purposes of calling it white music. Just don’t mix it with politics.

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