Bluegrass music enthusiasts gather once a month at the old train depot museum in the west-central Louisiana town of DeRidder to jam on some of their favorite old-time songs. The Third Saturday Jam Session features a fiddle and banjo, mandolin, acoustic guitars and string bass.
About a dozen musicians arrange their chairs in a circle while family and friends sit nearby to enjoy two hours of finger picking, strumming and fiddling. The players take turns leading and singing the songs, which are a mixture of bluegrass, old time country and gospel. Ron Yule, a professional fiddler, music teacher and author, helps organize the bluegrass jam session. “I reckon it’s in my blood because my grandfather played fiddle,” Yule tells me. He adds, “The people that really excel at it, it’s in their soul, they can’t get rid of it.”
Listen to the music
bluegrass jam has louisiana roots
In a state known for its rich Cajun music, attending a jam of bluegrass music is a treat. Yule has written several books on the fiddle and its history in Louisiana, including When the Fiddle Was King, and Louisiana Fiddlers. “The first book I ever did was on all the string bands that were in this area,” he explained. “They played probably the same music we played today.”
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Town’s history on display in Beauregard museum
The Beauregard Museum is housed in the old train depot in downtown DeRidder, Louisiana. The depot was built in the mid-1920’s when there was passenger rail service. The museum tells the story of the timber boom which was aided by the arrival of the railroad. Visitors can see century-old photographs of local timber operations and some of the tools of the trade. Museum Director Elona Weston explains that this museum is really a community effort, “It’s a random mix in here”. She adds, “We started from our sawmill and timber history, but include a lot from rural life”.
The Beauregard Museum is located at 120 South Washington Ave, DeRidder, Louisiana. Phone: (337) 463-8148. The Jam sessions are held on the third Saturday of each month at 12 noon. Be sure to check the Museum’s website for the most up to date information.