Maggie’s You are listening to Black Cove 107.1 FM. WHERE OUTLAW COUNTRY LIVES. All day and every day

Blue Sky Country

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    The Legacy of the Myers

    It is a well known fact amongst the residents of the hardworking town of Black Cove at the foot of the North Carolina Blue Ridge Mountains that in the winter of the final year of that terrible war which had robbed the region of so many fathers, brothers, husbands, and sons, a man named W. P. Inman had returned home to find his sweetheart whom he had left behind. It was on those mountain trails shortly after professing his eternal and undying love for his sweetheart that he had run into the band of desperados which had proclaimed themselves the law of the land in the lawless final years of the war and terrorized the residents of the area. During the ensuing gunfight, Inman had managed to outshoot and vanquish nearly the entire group of murderous thugs, but in the process, sustained a gunshot wound himself which proved to be fatal. However, Inman's descendants managed to rebuild their shattered hometown and soon became beloved and contributing members of the fledgling community. However, if you head on down past Main Street to County Road 110 and continue traveling until you reach the headquarters of Black Cove's radio station, whose first floor and lobby also serves as the town's museum, you will learn about another one of Black Cove's founding fathers.

    Like Inman, Daniel Myers had also returned from the war during it's final year. He was an extremely timid, quiet and soft-spoken lad whom his peers had always known to take refuge in his father's barn with a book rather than roughhouse with the rest of the neighborhood boys. He had read about the death of Inman during the battle on the mountain roads from the letters that his father had sent him. He had also heard about the unspeakable atrocities inflicted by the thugs upon the Swanger family directly down the road from their farm. The war had changed him. Even though he remained soft spoken with a heart filled with kindness to anyone who could not stand up for themselves, he had developed a cold and lethal resentment towards those who had done his loved ones harm. As soon as Daniel Myers reached Black Cove, he had summoned a meeting with the town's menfolk and soon formed up a posse of armed horsemen. Over the next several months, Myers and his band scoured the mountain roads and hills to root out the remaining gangs of dangerous scofflaws which had invaded the area. Many of them chose to shoot it out with Myers' deputies than accept surrender, but Daniel Myers, a veteran of the Army of Northern Virginia who had rode with J.E.B. Stuart and his troopers from the killing fields of Malvern Hill to the hell hole of Cold Harbor and fought his share of harrowing engagements, proved to be more than a match for the bandits and many of them fell to the lightning fast draw of Myers' brace of .44 Colts. By the beginning of 1866, all of the remaining bandits had either fallen to the unforgiving bullets of the "Haywood County Rangers", as they were known while their service lasted, or convicted and hung from the gallows on Black Cove's main street. When a victorious Daniel Myers ran for the position of the county's sheriff in that year, he had readily won, to the overwhelming support of the region's grateful residents, who had been eager to put the loss and horrors of the war behind them. As sheriff of Haywood County, Myers sought to broadcast Black Cove's story and mission as far as he could and encourage likeminded people from the rest of the state to build their lives there, and the town had grown exponentially during his two successive terms in office. However, he also possessed a demeanor of steel and was said to have "ridden to Hell itself and back and dispensed justice from the six-shooter" on more than a few occasions in order to capture those who committed evil acts and see to it personally that they were convicted and sentenced appropriately.

    By 1870, Black Cove was a prospering little town whose primary sustenance was it's agricultural production. However, like the rest of the post-war South which had already seen tremendous suffering and even more hardship under the Johnson administration's Radical Reconstruction policies which sought to further economically punish the former Confederate states, Haywood County had barely managed to keep itself from completely collapsing even as it enjoyed a new boom in population and farmland cultivation throughout the late 1860s. The salvation for Black Cove came in 1872 in the discovery of coal in the southern Blue Ridge. During this time, the United States had recovered from the wounds of it's civil war and had become a fledgling global industrial superpower. It's factories, steel mills, and machine shops were ravenous for coal, and the communities in the Blue Ridge and the Appalachia were only too eager to provide. After he had stepped down from his post as sheriff of Haywood County, Daniel Myers and his young son Stephen helped open the first of the southern Blue Ridge mining tunnels. There, the precious black gold and arterial blood of modern industry was carved out from the base of the mountains in endless rotating shifts, rain and shine. The initial heavy work by men with pickaxes and black powder would eventually give way to dynamite, cordite, and steam shovels. The first shipments of Black Cove anthracite had been brought to the nearby railheads on horse wagons trundling along the county roads but that would soon change. One of the many close acquaintances that Daniel Myers had acquired during his business ventures in that decade had been William Mahone, who was the president of the Norfolk & Western Railway, a small but rapidly growing rail carrier based out of Roanoke, Virginia. It was through many long planning sessions by the two men over many cigars and glasses of whiskey when the decision was finalized for the Norfolk & Western to build a trunk line into North Carolina to service the Black Cove mines. By 1902, thunderous and mile long hopper trains belching smoke and steam hauling thousands of tons of coal from the hill country to the coast would be no stranger to the communities dotting the mountain landscape of the Blue Ridge. It was a highly profitable venture for both Haywood County and the Norfolk & Western Railway. It was also around this time that Stephen Myers finally married his childhood sweetheart after years of courtship. After the birth of his two sons whom he named Jacob and Elijah, Stephen, now a major shareholder in his father's mining ventures in the Blue Ridge, decided to expand the venture into steelmaking and tool production, as the years of operation of the Black Cove mines had already amassed a vast quantity of expert hands in these fields of knowledge. He opened three machine shops within Black Cove itself, which would be soon staffed by residents from the town and the surrounding communities eager for work, turning out the cogs, bolts, and gears for a country well on it's way to becoming the leading industrial producer in the global market.


    (A Norfolk & Western Class 'F' locomotive right off the production line at the Roanoke Machine Works, ready for coal service in the southern Blue Ridge. 1887)

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    It is now well into the twentieth century and the country had been experiencing the party of a lifetime in the flashy and decadent Roaring Twenties. Fast cars, fast trains, and even faster dance beats graced an ever changing and dynamic landcape dominated by concrete, glass, and electric lights. Both Jacob and Elijah Myers had fully grown into mature and confident adults who would bring more success to their hometown in their own unique ways. Jacob Myers had taken apprenticeship under his father Stephen and soon took charge of production and quality control in the Black Cove shops. However, Elijah, who had always possessed a heart for literature and song and had been a lifelong patron of Twain, Faulkner, Hemingway, and Toomer, wanted to explore the new and highly energetic world of the music and entertainment industries, which has now entered the lives of every American household through radio and other means of mass electronic communication. Although his father and older brother initially tried to discourage Elijah, they understood his yearning to travel and explore new things that appealed to his adventurous heart. However, before he left Black Cove to embark on his journey, they reminded him of one thing: "Always remember where you came from and who will always be ready to welcome you when you are ready to come back"...

    With those words in mind, Elijah Myers had picked up his suitcase, and like any other young and aspiring song-and-dance man of that time, his journey would eventually take him to Nashville, Tennessee and later, a once old mining town which had since blossomed into a shining super-conglomerate of gambling, decadence, and high life in the middle of the Nevada desert known as Las Vegas. Cities of neon lights and earsplitting bandstands. Of dapper mobsters and bootleggers who were more than eager to provide for the millions of thrill seekers who came to engage in vice and drink. Of well dressed playwrights and singers mingling with corporate executives and industrial tycoons who dealt in millions at the card tables. All of this enthralled and amazed Elijah, but most of all, he had been more than thrilled to hear the same strains of Appalachian mountain bluegrass melodies which he had listened to since his birth being reproduced in the lyrics and beats of the big city songwriters. He was amazed to see how far the culture of his hometown had reached, and inspired new generations of artists. However, even among all of this newfound amazement and adoration, Elijah Myers could not help but realize that something had been clearly missing. The "folk" songs that his peers had produced and performed across big city stages with so much enthusiam and effort had indeed warmed his country heart, but it was not long before he realized that all of those songs, despite their appeal to "folk roots", at their cores, were still written by big city authors for big city audiences, whose perception of life in the rural mountains had mostly been shaped by what they had seen from movies and popular culture. The more he had listened to them perform, the more he could not help but recognize the same repetitive tunes, lyrics, and subject matter. Those were songs designed to set trends, attract spotlights, and make fortunes. Not for actual storytelling or passing on the tales of the people who had suffered and toiled to carve an existence out of landscapes of harsh wilderness, war, and strife. All of this only sparked a desire in Elijah's heart to return home, back to the familiar wooden buildings, meadows,rivers, and stories told around warm fireplaces under the peaks of the southern Blue Ridge that he had known all throughout his life. It was in the early predawn hours of one brisk morning in April of 1936 when Elijah Myers found himself boarding the final Greyhound bus at a lonely terminal in Memphis heading home. As the bus rumbled along US Route 19 back towards Black Cove over the Tennessee - North Carolina state line, Elijah stared out of the windows at the inky blackness swirling past outside and realized exactly what Black Cove needed for this new and technological century. A radio station. In the next couple of years, Elijah Myers, with the help of his father Stephen, brother Jacob, and several prominent electrical engineers in the Myers Industries, built the first transmission antenna for Black Cove's own broadcasting station.

    It is now the present day. Black Cove is a hardworking blue collar town as it had been all throughout it's history. Nestled between the modern, sprawling buildings of Myers Precision Tools and Components and the main line and command hub of the Norfolk Southern Railroad less than half an hour's drive away, Black Cove employs over 80% of the region's working people and accounts for almost 10% of the State of North Carolina's industrial production. Over the latter half of the 20th century, Myers Industries had been awarded numerous contracts to manufacture precision parts for everything from the fuel injection systems aboard the Apollo program's Saturn V rockets that had carried the first American astronauts to the Moon to the US Navy aircraft carrier USS George Washington. Further down County Road 110 is a smaller and more humble brick building of three stories and surrounded by an old wire fence looking out into the forests leading to the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains. However, the significance of this structure matches those of any other industry in the town, for it houses the town's complete historical archive as well as the transmitting center for Black Cove 107.1 FM, now known as '107.1 Outlaw FM' by it's fans worldwide. True to his word, Elijah Myers had constructed the station with the sole intent of keeping alive and passing down the stories of the brave individuals who had made the town's survival and growth over the years possible, as well as carrying on the tunes and melodies of the mountains and frontier spirit which defined this country's traditions. Even with the 21st century ushering in a new age of deafening electronic noise in the form of pop music and other cheap, mass-produced entertainment catering to the short-sighted masses who only wanted to consume, and consume ever so more, listeners across the land knew that Black Cove 107.1 FM only played traditional folk melodies and ballads which had been handcrafted with so much tears and sweat by their authors and nothing else. This mission had been embraced and continued when leadership of the station passed down to Jasper Myers, Elijah's youngest son in 2002. With the rapidly growing popularity of the station and it's audience, it was inevitable that soon, industry agents from the big city "pop-country", mainstream radio stations, and Internet music streaming networks would try to tame and bring the lone outlaw under their wing and their monopolies. However, they had no idea just what kind of outlaw Black Cove 107.1 FM and it's helmsman, Jasper Myers is...

    It was on a warm and sun filled late spring day in June, 2010 when three young college-age promoters working for an online radio streaming service from Nashville made their way down County Road 110 in their brand new company issued Toyota Prius. Their boss had sent them to try to entice 107.1 FM to join their massive million song online database with a spectacular franchise offering as well as installation of new technology completely for free. The three young men parked in front of the brick building's gate and a moment later, was buzzed into Jasper Myers' office on the second floor. Upon ascending the stairs to the second floor landing, the trio breathed in a collective intake of surprise when Mr. Myers ushered them into the bright and spacious sunlit room. For standing before them was a large man almost four times their ages, yet moved with a confident, powerful, and athletic demeanor utterly belying the wrinkles on the iron hard face. His imposing frame was only further reinforced by the black Stetson hat which adorned his head and his Carhartt jacket, pants and boots, all of which bore the countless scars and marks of years in the tool shop and the tree stand. After a minute of awkward silence, one of the hipsters regained his composure, introduced his companions beside him, and began to eagerly explain the reason for their visit. "We have over a million songs stored in our cloud streaming service and as of now, we got over 100,000 app downloads and growing by the day. We actually had to relocate our servers a few times now due to how fast we are growing", the young man exclaimed. Jasper Myers remained silent throughout the entire presentation. He produced a bottle of one of his prized black label whiskeys from an ornate cabinet behind his stately stained mahogany desk, pouring a glass for himself as he beckoned them to go on. "....Hundreds of artists want to get on our list and we recruit a lot of them right from Myspace and other social websites..." Jasper Myers took a long gulp of his whiskey, a slight tinge of annoyance beginning to show on his otherwise neutral face. "............Eric Church, Florida Georgia Line............. Jason Aldean..... the Dixie Chicks....." At this point, Jasper Myers' face hardened and took on an expression of overt scorn. "Who?", he demanded, setting his nearly empty glass back onto the table. "Ain't never heard of 'em, ain't caring to either". Jasper pointed a finger at the window. "Look over there", he said. The three hipsters followed his gaze and saw the white walled and thoroughly modern facilities and loading docks of Myers Precision Tools and Components in the distance. "Now look over here", he continued, pointing at the wall above the cabinet where three old style revolvers sat on brass plaques above a framed portrait of him and his wife Lilah taken during their marriage years ago. The hipsters once again were overcome with awe when they saw the guns, carefully polished and cleaned, glinting in the light of the afternoon sun streaming through the window. "That Leech & Rigdon on top belonged to a fella named Inman, who came back home from the war in 1864 and shot dead a whole gang of shitbirds terrorizin' this here town. That was the gun he used and what he still had in his hand when he died as well.", Jasper said. "And that pair of .44 Army Colts under it belonged to my great grandaddy, Daniel Myers. He carried those during the war, and when he became Sheriff of this county, and for the rest of his life afterwards.", he continued, his eyes resting upon the three young promoters. "This is Black Cove right here", Jasper continued. "Everything in this town has been built by the same people whose sons and daughters still live here today. Everything here is a story that one of us holds dear in his heart. Everything that you see here is the product of toil and sacrifice made by our forefathers. My father built this station with the intent to tell stories with every note we send out over the air and I intend it to stay that way. Stories not just from us, but from all who have suffered and worked to build the great country that we have now. God, guns, family, country, loyalty, love for the people we care about, friendships, and hard work are the ways which we live here." Jasper Myers drained the remainder of his glass and wiped his chin with a handkerchief that he took out of one of his shirt pockets. "To put it in simpler terms... I don't give a shit about who is driving a new jacked up truck. I don't give a shit about whose baby's momma left him for another man. And I certainly do not give a shit about who got pulled over by the county sheriff last Saturday night for having an open keg of horse piss in his passenger seat... I ain't got nothing against your countrified pop but I think it is in our best interests that ya'll take that shit back to Nashville and Memphis and tell the others to not bother with coming down here again if that is what they seek. I don't plan on changing my mind on this issue and neither will my grandson, to whom I plan to hand over operations of this radio station when he comes home from the Army...... I hope ya'll understand now?"

    (NOTE: All locations and characters in this story from 'Cold Mountain' belong to it's author, Charles Frazier, and director Anthony Minghella, who has painstakingly and lovingly brought the beauty of Frazier's novel to the screen for all to see. Although this story is fiction, and so is the town of Black Cove, and the Myers family, many other people portrayed here are actual historical figures, such as William Mahone, president of the Norfolk & Western Railway from 1853 to 1875. And the story of Black Cove and it's people represent the many thousands of hardworking blue collar American towns which have built this country and made it's life possible. This story and thread is a tribute to these towns and communities and the traditions which they continue to uphold so dearly, for it is a story that so many real life communities have actually lived through in this country's history. All are welcome to keep this thread running with their own contributions and submissions.)


    Old Joe Riley - Dean Brody


    This Old Raft - Dean Brody


    Old School - Creed Fisher


    Cattleman's Gun - Dean Brody


    Bounty - Dean Brody, with Lindi Ortega


    Black Sheep - Dean Brody


    If You Have The Right To Burn My Flag, Then I Have The Right To Kick Your Ass - Creed Fisher


    When A Good Old Boy Goes Bad - Travis Tritt (My Honky Tonk History)


    When You Come To Take Mine - Creed Fisher


    You Shoulda' Been A Redneck - Creed Fisher


    This Place Called USA - Creed Fisher

     
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    sirhrmechanic

    Command Sgt. Major
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    A good read!

    Sadly, the people who built great towns are being pushed out... replaced by techie hipsters who want to erase history and turn every town into their personal Aspen.

    Economic cleansing is their method... as they try and create ersatz country towns full of lumbersexuals and hipsters who dress like civil war veterans... but can’t change a tire.

    The last thing they want in “their” Disney resort towns is real country people.

    Sirhr
     

    SCRAM2013

    Chief Steponlog
    Full Member
    Minuteman
    Oct 28, 2019
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    Golden Corner - SC
    The area is best known for bluegrass and meth.

    Mr. Mtncreek,

    Unfortunately, things went from shine to meth.

    I love Bluegrass. Five Forks, Cousins and the General store here in NW SC Appalachia. The simple things come hard. Many stories as there are across the land. Ask someone why these are called the blue ridge mountains.

    E
     
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    Blue Sky Country

    Urban Cowboy
    Full Member
    Minuteman
  • Mr. Mtncreek,

    Unfortunately, things went from shine to meth.

    I love Bluegrass. Five Forks, Cousins and the General store here in NW SC Appalachia. The simple things come hard. Many stories as there are across the land. Ask someone why these are called the blue ridge mountains.

    E


    The saga of 'shine in that region had been very well documented. The folks living in the mountains and foothills have always been extremely independent, resourceful, and decisive against overreaching entities trying to encroach on the traditions and the way of life that they have maintained since the colonial days. There are still family owned custom gunsmiths producing completely one of a kind and 100% handcrafted and handforged percussion long range muzzleloaders and falling block single shot rifles to this day. Many a Prohibition agent and enforcer during the 1920s took one way trips to this region and never returned...

    I am a lifelong adherent of bluegrass and 'hill country' as well. That and good ol' Virginny tobacco with a hint of Kentucky Burley... A small part of the inspiration for this write-up was the click of a Ronson Jetlite away...

    Wood tips.jpg
    Wood tips.jpg

    @sirhrmechanic : Thanks. It was a great amount of satisfaction setting that post up and it evoked powerful emotions even as I wrote it, so I tried to do it in a way that will provide the same for everyone who reads it. These places and communities have always been a source of inspiration for me for as long as I could recall...
     
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    MtnCreek

    Unreconstructed
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    Jan 6, 2012
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    The saga of 'shine in that region had been very well documented. The folks living in the mountains and foothills have always been extremely independent, resourceful, and decisive against overreaching entities trying to encroach on the traditions and the way of life that they have maintained since the colonial days. There are still family owned custom gunsmiths producing completely one of a kind and 100% handcrafted and handforged percussion long range muzzleloaders and falling block single shot rifles to this day. Many a Prohibition agent and enforcer during the 1920s took one way trips to this region and never returned...

    I am a lifelong adherent of bluegrass and 'hill country' as well. That and good ol' Virginny tobacco with a hint of Kentucky Burley... A small part of the inspiration for this write-up was the click of a Ronson Jetlite away...
    ...

    Plenty of stories about the mountain being dangerous. Holes in the mountain covered over with leaves or snow and if you didn't know where to step, you would fall though, deep into the mountain and never been seen again. Scots Irish to American translation: Fuck around - find out.
     
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