Juke Joint Jam Academy at The Holy Moly – April 9-11, 2015

I’m about to re-enter music-workshop-world — not just Memphis dulcimer workshop world — but general music workshop world — at The Holy Moly, in the downtown historic blues precinct of Clarksdale, Mississippi! This is so exciting!

Mountain Dulcimer in the jam at The Holy Moly, Clarksdale, Mississippi 38614

Dulcimer cartoon by Carla Maxwell

I chose to study the mountain dulcimer in my leisure time, through workshops and independent practice, when I attended the Memphis Dulcimer Festival and took a beginner dulcimer workshop, in 1990. The workshop method of relaxed, casual, hobby/leisure learning among other people with similar interests, without academic pressure, was perfect for me. I was able to learn to play a string instrument at my own pace and enjoy making music for the simple joy of making music.  I enjoy the schedules and the organisation and group activities that an academic world provides, but I do not enjoy the stress of taking tests and receiving scores nor the guilt and shame that sometimes comes with all that.

I get inspired when I see and hear inspired musicians. I learned this about myself when I was a teenager, and I was reminded of it in 2000, when I attended my first week-long mountain dulcimer workshop in Swannanoa, North Carolina. That was the year I decided I wanted to host/facilitate educational, entertaining, music gatherings.  During my return for a second week-long mountain dulcimer workshop at the Swannanoa Gathering during the summer of 2001, I began my plan to host mountain dulcimer events in a classroom that was available to me in Memphis, Tennessee.  By the end of 2002, I had planned and hosted the first Memphis Dulcimer Gathering with Larry Conger and was scheduling a second annual event. My first mountain dulcimer event was a great success, as it was a lot of fun and, for me, confirmed that the world needed more music workshops for people like me who just wanted to make more music.

A lot of musical fun was launched in 2002 from the first event I hosted with Larry Conger and a couple of friends. The Memphis Area Mountain Dulcimer Club was started and commenced its monthly meetings. In 2004, I co-founded and became the first president of The Memphis Dulcimer Gathering, Inc., a 501(c)(3) organisation. The Memphis Dulcimer Gathering & Folk Festival, an annual September event, came to be just as beautiful and musically-nurturing as the old Memphis Dulcimer Festival that had inspired me.  I felt blessed to be part of a world of positive musical movement.

Unfortunately, in 2007, I attended my last week-long mountain dulcimer workshop in North Carolina, the same year I  resigned as president of the Memphis Dulcimer Gathering, Inc.  My life’s circumstances were changing for the better, but my connection with Memphis dulcimer workshops and house concerts was fading.

Since 2007, I have had a continuing daydream, though. For years I have been imagining hosting events that would interest and entertain musicians…..all kinds of acoustic musicians….not just Memphis dulcimer players. I also dreamed I might be able to join in a jam as my Memphis dulcimer-playing-self and feel warm and included with acceptance, as well as confident with my playing skills, sharing the joy of community music-making. (That dream actually started in 2000 in Swannanoa, North Carolina, as I heard all the musicians come together to jam in the evenings, when the workshop hours were over. I don’t think I had ever before heard music so beautifully played and enjoyed.)

Although you won’t hear many mountain dulcimers, on any night of the week, live music can be found, here in Clarksdale. And, some Clarksdale musicians go on world tours, advancing with the musical momentum of the Mississippi Delta. But, the Mississippi Delta needs musicians to come here for mutual inspiration. I need musicians to want to come here for inspiration, whether to learn more about the blues or to be inspired by Americana music, in general.

So, here I am ready in Clarksdale, Mississippi, in the historic downtown blues precinct, to co-host the Juke Joint Jam Academy, a Clarksdale Juke Joint Festival related event, with my husband. I encourage other musicians to gather here to study instruments that interest them and become inspired to make more music, start a music club, lead a music workshop, host a house concert, or just enjoy the music of Mississippi.

To learn how to host music events, I recommend attending music events.

Click here for the schedule of workshops and instructors for the Juke Joint Jam Academy. Click here to visit the venue: The Holy Moly, P.O. Box 1531, Clarksdale, Mississippi 38614 Click here to register for the Juke Joint Jam Academy, April 9-11, 2015

Cartoon of Carla Maxwell playing a mountain dulcimer

Cartoon Selfie by Carla Maxwell, Memphis-Dulcimer.com


I Got Married on a Monday in March!

Adrian Kosky and I decided (spontaneously) to get married on Monday, March 17, 2014…..St. Patrick’s Day will be an anniversary party day for us every year from now on!!

We had fun without a plan.

On Monday afternoon, we went to buy a wedding ring from the local jewellery store here in downtown Clarksdale, Mississippi, but the store was closed and not opening again until the 19th of March.  So, I have a Wal-Mart wedding ring!  It was the only one in Wal-Mart’s jewellery department that fit my finger……AND it was very reasonably priced!! 🙂

Our wedding was officiated by our wonderful friend, Randall Andrews, at the Atzimba Mexican Restaurant on State Street in Clarksdale……yes, right at the table, pushing the chips & dip and Diet Coke aside, Adrian and I exchanged our vows and took a selfie for our first wedding photo.  The event was lovely, it was fun, it was definitely relaxed, and it was sincere.

We are happily calling each other “husband and wife.”  We’re a little giggly about it, and we are enjoying all the love and good wishes that we are receiving as messages from friends & family via facebook. 🙂

Here are a few photos that tell the story of our wedding and the first day of our marriage.

Atzimba Mexican Restaurant, Clarksdale, MS

The Surprised and Spontaneous Wedding Hosts at Atzimba Mexican Restaurant, Clarksdale, Mississippi

Randall Andrews,

Randall Andrews signs our marriage certificate

Adrian Kosky holds his marriage license

Adrian admires our fancy marriage license

Wedding Rings Selfie

The Ring Selfie — Showing my Wal-Mart wedding ring

Wedding Photo of Adrian Kosky and Carla Maxwell

Happiness with a marriage license, wedding rings, and true love – photo by Robin Colonas

The Atzimba wedding chimichanga

Chicken chimichanga dinners! The wedding feast!

Money for Rope playing on the Juke Joint Chapel stage at the Shack Up Inn

For our reception/party, we borrowed Money for Rope’s gig. The Australian band happened to be playing at the Shack Up Inn in Clarksdale on St. Patrick’s Day. (I don’t think they know they were our wedding band.)

First day of marriage breakfast -- cream filled, devil's food, donuts from Delta Donut

Cream-filled, devil’s food, donuts from Delta Donut –Our first breakfast together as husband and wife–enjoyed at the famous crossroads of highways 49 and 61, Clarksdale, Mississippi

Egg and cheese biscuits at the Crossroads in Clarksdale

Egg & cheese biscuits at the cross roads in Clarksdale — Our second breakfast together as husband and wife — Just after donuts!

It’s Wednesday now, and we are back at work on The Holy Moly project….scrubbing and sealing floors.  It’s our unusual life, as usual, today.

Adrian and I are always thankful for life together. We are both now thankful that we will be “married” wherever we might be and will no longer need to explain the “de facto” relationship we had in Australia.

Table Hill is in The Local – Hepburn Shire’s Community Magazine

Yay! Look, Mom! I’m in “The Local -Hepburn Shire’s own community publication” and here are a couple of photos to prove it!



I’m happy to be included in this lovely local magazine…..especially to be shown on the “GIGS” page!!  It is a cartoon likeness….probably my best presentation….which happens to be a cartoon band “selfie” that I drew last year.

This is the text under the photo:

“Music in the raw, crafted from real life, infused with sounds from Memphis, to the Mississippi Delta, to the hills of Central Victoria.  Table Hill consists of a mountain dulcimer playing gal from Memphis – Carla Maxwell, a local singer songwriter steeped in folk and blues – Adrian Kosky, and a saw playing, harmonica wielding local poet who brings triangle playing to a whole new level – Phil McNamara.  Together they weave and spin a gumbo of fiddle tunes, original songs and timeless traditions, bound together with a sense of lively fun.  Table Hill occasionally has friends joining them in the musical mayhem, like Tony Soccio on the mandolin and Ken Parfrey on the slide guitar.  They play where they are invited, and sometimes when they’re not…”


Table Hill will be playing in Lyonville at the Radio Springs Hotel, Thursday, the 20th of February, 2014, not the 21st.  Details, details…..at least I’M ON THE GIGS PAGE!!   🙂