You may have noticed on your WMMT pledge card, among the various and sundry pledge levels (a certain amount for a hat, a certain amount for a t-shirt, etc.), a somewhat curious option: a Day Dedication. If you were ever curious what that means, every so often, we here at WMMT dedicate an entire day of our broadcasting to a specific person, band, group of folks, or organization, which you get to determine as a donor on that level. Today, WMMT 88.7 FM – Mountain Community Radio dedicates our entire day of programming to The Goose Creek Symphony.
From the official Goose Creek biography:
Goose Creek Symphony is considered by many to be one of the most original bands of their time. Major record labels (Capitol & Columbia) of the 60s/early 70s didn’t know what to do with a band that played a mixture of rock and roll, folk, jazz and country with an undeniable hillbilly influence, a hippie attitude and a reckless sense of instrumental daring. They used horns and fiddles as well as effects and blended it with psychedelic rock and roll. The true definition of “Cosmic American Music”.
In the 70s they fit into a country rock mode, but they were more esoteric and versatile than many of their contemporaries and had more grit and a rugged, less commercial sound. They were/are a good time band that love to jam and stretch out regardless of the genre. They recorded three eclectic albums for Capitol, Est 1970, (1970) Welcome to Goose Creek (1971) and Words of Earnest (1972). All were moderately successful with the last boasting a hit single cover of Janis Joplin’s “Mercedes Benz”. In 1974 the band moved over to Columbia and recorded Do Your Thing But Don’t Touch Mine, which was their weakest to date thanks to an outside, unwanted producer. Shortly thereafter the band took a hiatus…. a really long one which lasted almost 17 years. Then out of nowhere they came back (and musically it sounds like they never went away), and lo and behold they sound almost contemporary.
And when they came back, the very first show they played after their hiatus was WMMT’s 1991 Hillbilly Nation Celebration, a memorable, killer, performance of a lifetime on the same bill as the Metropolitan Blues All-Stars. With Floyd County roots (Charlie was raised “up Goose Creek Hollow”), Goose Creek Symphony has always had a special place in the hearts of WMMT programmers and staff. In addition to decades of airplay, and many memorable live performances, Goose Creek has put out two albums over the years (1990’s Oso Special and 1991’s Acoustic Goose) on Appalshop’s storied record label, June Appal Records. Let’s put it in the words of the man who made this Day Dedication possible, WMMT’s Hollywood:
In the hills of Eastern Kentucky, we are known for getting excited when our kinfolks are coming home. And when your kinfolks are coming home, you get that anxiety, that anticipation, and you’re sitting and waiting for them to come home. This week, we’ve got kinfolk coming in, and I’m excited. A hero of mine, a neighbor of mine, and a part of my family is coming in. His name’s Charlie Gearheart and he’s bringing his band, the Goose Creek Symphony with him.
3 1/2 decades, Charlie Gearheart has been my hero. He’s been my hero because I can relate to all of the songs that he plays, all the songs that he wrote. Every, every child in the mountains, or every child in the hills, as we like to say, we all seem to have the same upbringings: playing in the creeks, with the canes, and the fishing poles, and such. His memories, his songs are my life. After 3 1/2 decades, he is my hero, and just born across the ridge, he’s also my neighbor. And we dedicate this day to him with love, compassion, and peace forever.
The live performance Hollywood is talking about will take place this Friday (unfortunately conflicting with Seedtime on the Cumberland) at the Mountain Arts Center in Prestonsburg, Ky. So, then: the one acceptable excuse for missing Seedtime Friday night will be catching “The Goose” in a local stop on their limited 2012 tour. To all Gooseheads, and to the members of the band themselves: Today on WMMT is for you. Thanks for being such an integral part of our life as a radio station, and our lives as listeners, programmers, and friends.