There’s a term, “Music of the mountains”, that gets tossed around here quite often. While it can be tricky to point out with all the country and country infused rock and bluegrass being played these days, when you hear it, you know it. And when it comes to “Mountain music” or “Music of the mountains”, the sound that best personifies it comes from an instrument called the dulcimer.
The dulcimer is a plucked, three or four stringed, almost harp-shaped violin of an instrument. How’s that for a description? In Townsend, Mike and his wife Connie Clemmer own the Wood-N-Strings Dulcimer Shop, which also doubles as an open air recording studio, a.k.a. porch.
According to their web site, Mike’s dream of owning a dulcimer shop evolved from his life-long love of many types of music, playing music, singing and his ability to repair instruments. Over 30 years ago, it was an acquaintance who asked him to assist on making good on a number of dulcimer orders the acquaintance had in Townsend. Armed with years of experience repairing guitars and basses, Mike accepted the challenge and learned the art of dulcimer building. Since, it’s been a labor of love according to Mike.
Their Wood-N-Strings Dulcimer Shop still resides in Townsend, Tennessee. Visitors can stop by and watch how a dulcimer is handcrafted from walnut, cherry, butternut, sassafras or wormy chestnut and enjoy the song of the mountain dulcimer. Also, guests can check out the happy sound of the Ban-Jammer – Mike’s original creation.
As mentioned, they also operate a pickin’ porch from May through September every year which is now featured in a number of YouTube recordings. Currently they are preparing to host the fall Dulcimer weekend November 9,10, and 11 at the Townsend Church of God, right around the corner form their shop.
Wood-N-Strings Dulcimer Shop
7645 E. Lamar Alexander Pkwy. PO Box 383
Townsend, TN 37882