Dombra Spring = Melody & Rhythm
The Mountain House String Band

To Johnson City, Tennessee


My steps were made from Appalachian Soft Textured Oak by the Miller Brothers Company, Johnson City, Tennessee / Feb. 2007

Paulo is taking up each of the stair treads and sanding them. He found this label on the back of one. According to the Miller Family Papers at East Tennessee State University, Elbert Haynes Miller and W. H. Miller formed two successful Johnson City businesses with other members of their family: The Miller Brothers Lumber Company and Central Tobacco Warehouse. What caught my eye was “Johnson City, Tennessee” -- immediately the lyrics to the family-favorite Old Crow Medicine Show song Wagon Wheel popped into my head: Walkin' to the south out of Roanoke / I caught a trucker out of Philly / Had a nice long toke / But he's a headed west from the Cumberland Gap / To Johnson City, Tennessee. Here they are performing the song on the Woodsongs Old Time Radio Hour:

Turns out that Johnson City was known as a hotbed for old-time music and was the site of a Columbia Records recording session in 1928 known as the “Johnson City Sessions” (Fiddlin’ Charlie Bowman was one of the most famous participants; recordings from the Johnson City Sessions are rare). See a postcard image of the Miller Brothers plant after the jump.


Miller Brothers Company -- Johnson City, Tennessee, Home of "Miller Brand" Oak Flooring / postcard circa 1918 (via Johnson's Depot)


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