Sometimes nothing sounds better than spending a Saturday afternoon strumming a guitar by the water.
A few times a year, dozens of folks do just that at Pickin' by the River. The concerts feature a full afternoon of live acoustic music at Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park in Beaufort. Bluegrass, country or folk music fans can listen to local bands play, or they can bring a string instrument and join in one of the many jam sessions that spring up during the afternoon.
The latest of the occasional series will be held Saturday.
Organizer and guitarist Pat Claxton explains the pleasure of pickin' by the river.
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Question. How have the concerts gone so far?
Answer. It varies with the weather. We'll get anywhere from 40 people listening to over 100. We've had a lot of different musicians. We have new ones come. We've actually had a few groups get together because of Pickin' by the River. Some get together and say, "Hey, we sound pretty good; let's start a group."
Q. Many happy marriages?
A. Some happy, some not so much (laughs). That's the way it goes.
Q. So people can just show up with a guitar?
A. We have a stage show from noon until (5 p.m.). It's very low key. People come and sit in the pavilion and listen. And then we have our jam sessions out in the park. There's no interference between the two. I've looked out and seen four or five different jam sessions at times. People move from group to group depending on what type of music they're playing.
Q. Do you get many newcomers? Sounds like it could be a bit intimidating.
A. We encourage beginners to come out. In this type of music, I've seen a lot of musicians who are very encouraging and understanding. They're willing to help out.
Q. Where do people come from?
A. We're getting people I didn't know were around here. We have a gentleman who comes from Hilton Head, and he's interested in antique banjos. He puts them together, and he actually plays one. We have a group that comes out of Walterboro that's a bluegrass gospel old-time family group.
Q. Do you have time to play or do you just organize?
A. I'd like to play more. I'm more organizing and introducing groups. I do have a group that plays. My husband and I have a third player who plays dobro. We're what they call a string band.