There’s a barn in Suwanee that has hosted the most famous bluegrass acts in the country, and you’ve probably never heard of it. Arguably the most influential venue in Georgia’s grassroots music scene, Everett’s Music Barn has been a gathering place and sounding board for some of the most influential musicians in bluegrass history.
In the rock walled barn a few ceiling fans whirl overhead, there’s a pair of longhorns mounted to the stage; an American flag and a needlepoint tapestry are tacked to the back wall. Singers lean in towards a microphone at center stage. Each musician steps forward for a solo, retreating to whistles and hollers from the audience. The picking is lightning fast, and the twang is steely. This stage has seen the likes of Dailey & Vincent, Larry Sparks, Steep Canyon Rangers, and The Grascals. And there’s no telling what discovered or undiscovered musical talent you’ll see take the mic.
It all started in the 1960s when Randall and Roger Everett won a talent contest on WDYX, a country music radio station in Buford, earning them a recurring spot on the live Saturday morning broadcast. The brothers would invite musicians they met at the radio station back home to jam, and with Mama Everett’s permission and the promise of “no foolishness and no drinking,” they would fill the living room with banjos, mandolins and fiddles. To accommodate the growing number of guests, the family expanded their small farm house. When that wasn’t enough room, the community helped them build a separate music barn. Live bluegrass has been happening there every Saturday for the past 50 years.
Planning to attend this weekend? Know this before you go: There’s no smoking, no drinking and no cursing. Although hooting, hollering and chatting with your neighbor are highly encouraged. Bring your own instrument and join in one of the impromptu jam sessions in the house or on the porch. Doors open at 6 p.m., music starts at 8 p.m. Entry is by donation, so don’t forget to throw some cash in when the coffee can is passed around.