Ladies to their seats and gents all foller, thank the fiddler and kiss the caller!
- Common barn dance caller saying
It might be the year 2015, but on Jan. 10, you can turn back the clock and attend an authentic Old-Time Barn Dance hosted by Savannah Folk Music Society.
Barn dances once provided rural America with entertainment from its own heritage. These dances, influenced by regional and folkloric history, were passed down through generations.
The local barn dances take place monthly, but this will be Savannah band Paving Gravy's first time playing the event.
The members of Paving Gravy will tell you this is not your grandmother's barn dance.
I asked Colleen Heine a few questions about this event. Heine plays the fiddle and guitar for Paving Gravy, but she is also a member of popular local band The Accomplices.
My first question was about the name Paving Gravy.
"The name actually came from a dream I had, and I woke up with the phrase 'Paving Gravy' on repeat in my head," Heine said. "I know it's strange, and we get confused looks pretty much every time we tell people our name. But it's fitting for the band.
"Paving Gravy conjures images that are both urban (paving) and rural (gravy), and I think the music we play fits right there at that intersection. It's traditional American old-time, bluegrass and old country music, but with a modern twist. Plus, who doesn't want to think about a street full of gravy?"
The members of Paving Gravy are all extremely talented and stay busy with various projects.
Zachary Smith, who plays upright bass and clawhammer banjo, is also a member of The Accomplices. Cory Chambers, on guitar and mandolin, and Jay Rudd, who plays bluegrass banjo, guitar, mandolin and upright bass, are both members of the talented band City Hotel.
But why a barn dance?
"SFMS hosts these dances, featuring live music, every month. This will be Paving Gravy's first time playing for this event," Heine said. "When I lived in the Midwest, I often played for square dances and contra dances there. There's a thriving scene there that includes all different kinds of people of all ages. There were even these 'underground' square dances that lots of punk rock kids came to, believe it or not.
"I adore barn dances (which is just another name for a square dance, a contra dance, an old-time country dance or a combination of those things.) Playing for them and dancing them is so ridiculously fun."
Best of all, you don't even have to know what you're doing, Heine said.
"You don't need to have any dancing experience. The caller teaches everything. And you don't need to come with a partner; you'll meet people! Paving Gravy is really excited to get to play for the January dance, and I hope we'll inspire some folks who wouldn't otherwise consider coming to a barn dance to come out. I'm pretty sure once you try it once, you'll be hooked," she said.
A couple of callers and a hybrid band of talented local musicians which will provide the soundtrack to a dance for all ages? I can't think of a better way to kick off the new year.