- Special Sections
- Public Notices
An upcoming benefit concert will help pay for a fitting memorial for a late local musician.
Proceeds from the March 16 concert at Galax’s historic Rex Theater will be donated towards a cemetery stone for Artie Marshall (1927-2003).
On March 16, Artie’s husband Jim Marshall will perform at the Rex with many of his musical friends, including Stevie Barr & Friends, The Wolfe Brothers, Kyle-Dean & Snake Smith, Willard Gayheart & Bobby Patterson, Erynn Marshall & Carl Jones and other special guests.
Jim and Artie performed together, playing at the Worlds Fair in Knoxville, Tenn., in 1982 and the Brandywine Music Festival in Maryland. They also were recorded by the Smithsonian Institute.
Jim Marshall was born in 1929 at the old hospital on Main Street in Galax and grew up near Ground Hog Mountain in Laurel Fork.
His dad, Henry Marshall, was an old-time banjo player who owned a stockyard in Mount Airy, N.C. The Marshall family was a musical one and every Saturday night people from the area, like Reed Rakes and the Hall twins, got together and played music on their front porch.
Both Jim and his brother, Clarence, learned to play the banjo, but each developed different style. Clarence played three-finger index-lead while Jim’s two-finger picking approach was most influenced by Wade Mainer.
When Charlie Monroe met 10-year-old Jim Marshall at a church concert and heard he played banjo he said, “You should come work for me!”
This really inspired Jim to practice.
Jim Marshall met his future wife, Artie Ruth Melton, when riding the bus from school. They got married in 1951 and soon after bought a place at Orchard Gap where they opened a restaurant and played music on Friday and Saturday nights.
Later, Jim also owned a music store in Hillsville, offering for sale some of the only bluegrass records in the area.
In 1969, he bought the property near Virginia 100 in Hillsville and opened the “Country Corral,” where he sold records and held auctions.
It was the first open-air music park in Carroll County. The Country Gentleman, JD Crowe, Jimmy Martin and many other musicians attended and played there through the early 1970s.
Jim has made several recordings, including “50 Years of Bluegrass Memories” and “50 Years of Blue Ridge Ballads.” Both are collections of historical songs about the people, legends and lore of this region.
Jim now resides at a nursing home in Laurel Fork, but his friends visit him often to play music.
He will once again host his popular Friday night jams at the Blue Ridge Music Center when the facility on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Galax opens for the 2013 season this spring.
• Admission for the Jim Marshall Benefit Concert is by donation at the door only on March 16. The Rex Theater is located at 113 E. Grayson St. in downtown Galax. Concert begins at 7 p.m. and doors open a 6:30 p.m. There will also be a bake sale and silent auction, the latter including several instruments, artwork and other items. To donate an item to the silent auction or for information, call (276) 236-5309, extension 112.