While staying at the Heritage Campground, Amy our campground hostess stopped by to suggest that we stop by Maness Pottery and Music Barn in Carthage. Why? I mean what do pottery and music have in common? Well as we found out this is the place to be on a Tuesday night as this is where many of the locals gather to enjoy good music, good food, and good company.
As we drove up to the Maness Pottery Barn the first thing we noticed was the lack of anything looking like pottery. It turns out the proprietor Clyde Maness had once actually sold a little of everything from his Pottery Barn, including pottery for a while but not any longer. However one thing consistent for the past 39 years has been that Clyde invited his neighbors to his place every Tuesday night for a community jam session. Upon entering the barn we discovered a crowd in the front room either chatting, tuning instruments or grouped in circles singing and playing. In the next room we we saw what resembled a large family reunion or church gathering as tables were piled high with potluck dishes. We saw a plastic jug with a slit open on top holding donations made by those choosing to donate for the dinner here as well.
The next room revealed a large stage and plenty of comfortable chairs. Along one side was a specially made dance floor. The music goes from 6 to 10 p.m. and Clyde lets bands play their style of music on stage for 20 minutes at which time before sending another band up to play. I mean nearly a dozen bands will show up every Tuesday night for a jam session where they get no pay and there is no cover charge. A cardboard box was passed through the crowd once while we there where the audience had the option to toss in a few bucks to help Clyde offset the cost he incurs to provide this musical event every Tuesday night.
The musicians come form all over this part of North Carolina and are typically composed of people who might be lawyers, accountants or policemen in the nearby towns. What do they play? Well the night we went there was a mix of country, bluegrass and gospel some with vocals and some simply acoustic. No amplifiers or electrical guitars here just banjos, guitars, bass and mandolins. Mostly bluegrass (one of my favorite venues of music) was played and nearly every time a band would crank up some bluegrass the local dancers called Cloggers (a style of folk dancing) would flock to narrow wooden dance floor and they would dance, many with metal taps tapping loudly with the beat of the music.
More than 200 friends, neighbors, and visitors such as us were in attendance this past Tuesday night. Each person there seemed to have a great time either listening to the music on the main stage, chatting or playing cards in a room nearby, eating some home cooked vittles in the dining area or enjoying watching the musicians in the front room queuing up to play next.
In the front room we had the opportunity to meet Clyde Maness a lively energetic fellow who has lots of stories to share with anyone who is willing to listen. For nearly 40 years he has cooked up his famous pinto beans and potato salad. He proudly shared that his barn jam has been televised and featured in many music magazines. Besides a lively chat with Clyde we loved watching the collection of musicians waiting to play next as they would tune up their instruments, break out in smaller jam sessions while warming up or trading guitar notes with each other.
What a hoot! If you are ever in this part of North Carolina on a Tuesday night you really must stop by Charlie Maness’s Pottery and Music Barn where even the parking is free… Find it at 10995 N.C. Highway 24/27 just west of the small town of Carthage, N.C. 28327. This little southern cultural event is a great thing to experience in this quaint spot in the Piedmont of North Carolina…