Founded by owner Jim Ricks in 1986, local musicians and musical hopefuls have been buying instruments, taking lessons, rehearsing, and participating in regularly scheduled, yet impromptu Saturday morning jams for two decades.
Ricks began his business after retiring from civil service at Ft. Campbell. “I have an alarm business here in town, and after a hardware store that sold things like guitar strings closed, my book-keeper and I sort of took up that line as well. We would string guitars if people came in and asked. Then I added another person who helped out, and soon it grew into its own business and I opened the store. It’s a good business, I’d say, even if I only open on Saturdays.”
He claims he “thumps on” several instruments, but is a master of none. A true music fan, he produces and hosts two radio programs, a Friday bluegrass format, and gospel on Sundays. “I have equipment to record and play back a lot of the sessions here, but they aren’t that great, because we don’t have a studio setup.”
The highlight of his operation is the Saturday jam session, which attracts musicians and fans from all over Kentucky and Tennessee. “We have as many as 60 people here at times, but a slow day is about 25. “It’s all acoustical, because I can’t really hear the electrical stuff.” Ricks charges no fees to participate in the jams, or for spectators to come in and enjoy.
If a fan is lucky, he or she might run into a famous country-western act looking for an instrument or perhaps an accompanist for a recording or tour. Perhaps two of the most well known names Ricks dropped were Roseanne and June Carter Cash. “Sometimes well known people drop in just to look around. Usually they don’t play, just keep a low profile and try to go unnoticed, because people start asking for signatures,” he laughed about his more famous clientele.
For the rest of this story, please see this week's edition of The Cadiz Record