By Stacy Parish, Children’s Department
Originally decreed as Black Music Month by then-president Jimmy Carter in June 1979, the designation was changed in 2009 to African-American Music Appreciation Month. In his 2016 proclamation, former president Barack Obama stated that African-American music and musicians have helped our country “ . . . to dance, to express our faith through song, to march against injustice, and to defend our country’s enduring promise of freedom and opportunity for all.” Hence, I bring to you in no particular order, a great selection of books from Williamson County Public Library Children’s Department celebrating “Lady Day’s” soaring vocals, the Motown Sound, Bob Marley’s plaintive ballads, Jimi Hendrix’s groundbreaking guitar playing, and much more.
First on the list for today’s magical musical journey is Rhythm Ride: A Road Trip Through The Motown Sound by Andrea Davis Pinkney (J 781.6440 PIN) “You ready, child? Let’s go.” Thus begins this beautifully written account of young performers who were catalysts for change in American music, and along with it, a cultural revolution. The 1960s were exciting and often turbulent times. For Berry Gordy, the man who has been largely credited with creating what would come to be known as “the Motown Sound,” it all started with an $800 loan and a vision of greatness. The year was 1959, and Gordy was on the brink of something amazing, something that would have far-reaching influence on music for decades to come. Drawing upon the talents of his family and local performers, Gordy created a record label for black musicians such as Smokey Robinson, Mary Wells, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Martha Reeves, and Diana Ross, just to name a few. The rest, as they say, is history.
Next up on the recommended reading list for African-American Music Appreciation Month is Jimi: Sounds Like A Rainbow written by Gary Golio and illustrated by Javaka Steptoe (J 92 HENDRIX). A stylishly written and illustrated story of the phenomenally talented James Marshall Hendrix, known to the world as Jimi, who departed this earth at the way-too-soon age of 27. His legacy lives on decades later, and his groundbreaking music continues to inspire and electrify fans of all ages.
Strange Fruit: Billie Holiday And The Power Of A Protest Song by Gary Golio (J 782.4216 GOL). At the time of her death from liver and heart failure in 1959 at the age of 44, Billie Holiday (nee Eleanora Fagan) was heralded as one of the greatest female vocalists and jazz singers of all time. Her best-selling record and signature song “Strange Fruit” challenged the attitudes of racism in America and was an important milestone in what would become the American civil rights movement.
No reading list about African-American music would be complete without mention of the excellent books about black musicians in the “Who Is/Who Was?” series, which features titles such as Who was Bob Marley? (J 92 MAR), Who Was Louis Armstrong? (J 92 ARM), Who Was Stevie Wonder? (J 92 WON), and Who Was Michael Jackson? (J 92 JAC). The books in this series feature whimsical illustrations and side notes about the subject, and are so much fun to read . Check ‘em out! (OK, that’s my one and only pun for this blog, I swear.)
Trombone Shorty by Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews (J 788.9316 AND) is a delightful, picturesque story of how a talented young boy from New Orleans didn’t always have the money to buy an instrument, but he did have the dream to play music. Plucked from a crowd by none other than the legendary Bo Diddley and allowed to play his trombone on stage, he was then inspired to form his own band. Today, Andrews is a frequent performer at the annual New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, the place where he got his first break.
Last but not least on my list of recommendations is Bob Marley: The Life Of A Musical Legend by Gary Jeffrey (J 92 MARLEY). Part biography, part graphic novel, this very cool book celebrates famed Jamaican musician Bob Marley. His body ravaged by cancer, Marley departed this earthly realm at the young age of 36, but his music and his message of peace continues to inspire people all over the world.
As always, the opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author alone, and not representative of any other WCPL employees. Ms. Parish can occasionally be overheard quoting Jimi Hendrix’s lyrics and belting out “Voodoo Chile,” but only when she’s home alone or behind the wheel of her car.
Isn’t June everybody’s favorite month? School is out and the summer is spread out before us like a church picnic. In 1998, President Clinton designated June as Great Outdoors Month, and since then, the month-long celebration has grown by leaps and bounds, with special events planned throughout the month to showcase our nation’s parks and waterways.
This got me thinking — how would I observe and enjoy the great outdoors right here at home? I love exploring historic sites and parks with a camera, not at all hard to do in Williamson County, but if that’s not your cup of tea, opportunities are plentiful for outdoor fun, exercise and relaxation. And the best part? Almost everything is free and ADA accessible. So, what are you waiting for? Get out and find your happy place!
- Timberland Park
One of the newest of Williamson County Parks, located just south of New Highway 96 on the Natchez Trace Parkway. Timberland has pristine wooded trails, one of which is ADA accessible with a turnaround overlook at the end. There is also a very inviting high rocking chair deck at the interpretive center just waiting for you!
- Franklin Historic Audio Cell Phone Tours
To tour Franklin historic parks, print a copy of the brochure and tour from the online link below, and then call the number provided. The tour will take you to designated areas of these Historic Franklin parks.
1) Historical overview of the Battle of Franklin, 2) Winstead Hill, 3) The Cotton Gin Assault on Columbia Avenue, 4) Rest Haven Cemetery, 5) City Cemetery, 6) The Park at Harlinsdale Farm, 7) Fort Granger and Roper’s Knob, 8) Collins Farm, 9) Eastern Flank Battle Park, 10) Toussaint L’Ouverture Cemetery, 11) McLemore House, and 12) Hard Bargain Neighborhood. Visit Franklin Walking Tour App
- Fort Granger Park and Pinkerton Park
You can go to one or both from the same entrance off Highway 96. Or, you can walk from Historic Downtown Franklin using the Sue Douglas Berry Memorial Pedestrian Bridge which will take you right into Pinkerton. Signs will direct you to Fort Granger from the bridge.
- Fort Granger is a hidden gem, quiet and expansive, yet sheltered. It has its own entrance off Eddy Lane which is ADA accessible with ramps that will take you through the park. This is the quiet side of Pinkerton, and you’ll find folks relaxing in hammocks or on the ground having quiet conversations and enjoying the solitude under the shade trees. http://www.franklin-gov.com/government/parks/facilities-and-parks/park-locations-maps/park-locations/fort-granger
- Pinkerton is the most highly used passive park in the City of Franklin Park system. Pavilions are obtained on a first-come, first-serve basis, and it is a great place for a family reunion. With expansive space, grills, walking trails, and Tinkerbell Park, you can easily spend the day. http://www.franklin-gov.com/government/parks/facilities-and-parks/park-locations-maps/park-locations/pinkerton-park
- City of Franklin Park Trail Systems
Get mileage, location and surface information here.
- City of Franklin Parkfinder Map
- Franklin Bicentennial Park
Trailhead and Harpeth River Greenway
- Harpeth River Canoe Access Points
- The Park at Harlinsdale Farm
Not just for dog lovers, but you can take your dog for a walk or to the dog park in this lovely old horse farm. Also, the farm setting and old barn make it a popular spot for photographing your favorite subject.
- Aspen Grove Park
So you work in Cool Springs and just need a quiet place to eat your lunch and take a short walk? With its 1/2 mile trail and pavilion, this little park, tucked away off Aspen Grove drive, is the perfect midday getaway.
- The Skate Plaza at Jim Warren Park
Take your kids to skate, or just sit and watch the amazing teenage skateboarders show off their skills.
- Westhaven Lake, Highway 96 West
Open to the public and the fishing is easy. Speaking from personal experience, this is a great place to teach your child or grandchild to fish. The lake is full of bream, or sunfish, and they practically jump onto your hook before it hits the water. Please note that Westhaven Lake is catch and release only. Bring your fishing gloves so that you can remove hooks and release the fish safely back into the water.
- Owl’s Hill Nature Sanctuary, Brentwood
By reservation only, for nature and wildlife lovers. There is a free hike day scheduled each month. Go online or call to get information about nature classes and interpretive hikes.
- Franklin Farmer’s Market
For the freshest and most local food, you can’t beat the open air Franklin Farmer’s Market, open on Saturday mornings at the Factory in Franklin.
- Concerts in the Park
Want to enjoy some amazing music under the stars on summer nights?
Summer concerts at Crockett Park’s Eddy Arnold Amphitheatre and Franklin’s Carnton Plantation.
- Lawnchair Theatre, Leiper’s Fork
Fun for the whole family!
- Williamson County Parks
- Franklin City Parks
- Brentwood City Parks
Not free, but lots of fun!
- Segway Guided Tour of Franklin
I can’t wait to try this!
- Pedego your way around Franklin!
Pedego rents electric bikes by the hour. Located at First and Main, what are you waiting for?
- Paddle Dog Adventures at Westhaven Lake
Boat and paddle board rentals. Have you tried paddle board yoga? You can, now! See their Facebook page for special events and schedules.