No Foolishness & No Drinking – The History of Everett’s Music Barn

“No Foolishness & No Drinking”

Those were the everlasting words of “Mama” Everett as her sons, Randall and Roger Everett, asked her permission to have members of their bluegrass band over to the family home to record live music for a talent contest held by local radio station WDYX out of Buford, Georgia in 1964. From that moment on, and (nearly) every Saturday that followed, Everett’s Music Barn (as it later became known) has hosted scores of local musical talent and even played host to some of the most famous Bluegrass artists from all over the United States.

In the early days, the Everett Brothers began their weekly jam sessions out of their family living room, but with an increasingly robust in-person audience each week, they soon grew too big for the space. It became a family affair, as many family members would pitch in to sing, play an instrument or host guests to their family home. Around the same time, tragedy struck the Everett family when one of the brothers, Jerry Everett, was killed in the line of duty. Jerry was an inaugural member of the nine-member Gwinnett County Police Department in 1963, but in 1964 he and two fellow officers were assassinated. It took 17 months to solve the murders. Still, in the intervening time, the Bluegrass music community coalesced around the Everett home every Saturday to comfort and soothe the family and the local community reeling from the tragedy. This act of solidarity immortalized the weekly musical tradition at the family home in Suwanee.

In 1968, the Everett family added a “Music Room” to the home to accommodate a growing cohort of weekly attendees to the live music sessions, but even then, it was still not enough space. That same year, the lumber from a three-story building being demolished in Norcross, Georgia, was donated to the family. Again, the Bluegrass music community came together to help the family transport lumber to Suwanee to construct what is now known as Everett’s Music Barn. It took approximately three years to complete, but ever since then, the weekly tradition of hosting a Bluegrass music jam fest has endured.

Over the decades, famous Bluegrass talents such as Jim & Jesse, Doyle Lawson, Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out, Larry Sparks and the Osborne Brothers, creators of the southern classic “Rocky Top,” have descended on Everett’s Music Barn. Many famous Bluegrass artists got their start at the music barn, and over the decades, they returned to play at the special place. The Everett family and the entire Bluegrass community have consistently provided a family-friendly atmosphere, great music and fellowship to the many thousands of visitors to the barn each week.

Scan to hear Tommy Everett talk more about the history of the music barn.