Last week we were proud to have Dr. James L. Rungee as our guest during the Sandy Lee Watkins Songwriters Festival. Dr. Rungee is an avid Bluegrass fan and bass fiddle, banjo, guitar and harmonica musician. He had nothing but outstanding remarks about being in Henderson KY. He called Henderson Kentucky his “home away from home”. We hope to have Dr. Rungee and his friends with us for many years to come for the Songwriters Festival. For 2014 he has already reserved the whole house.
Below is a reprint from The Gleaner Opinion Page article that appeared Saturday, August 10, 2013.
Henderson Made Visitors Feel At Home
I have just returned from what can only be described as a magical week in Henderson, getting to learn about, listen to and converse with some of Music City’s royalty as part of the Sandy Lee Watkins Songwriters Festival. This was my first visit, but won’t be my last!
What wonderful ambassadors your town has in Mary Elizabeth and Norris Priest of the L&N Bed and Breakfast. A more welcoming and cordial couple you won’t find anywhere (if you haven’t experienced breakfast and magic with Norris, you’re missing out!). A shout out to Taunee and her smile at Stay Fit 24, who wouldn’t hear of charging me anything for the two days I used the superbly equipped exercise facility there. And also to Aaron, Cailee and Emily at CKB, whose smiles and warm conversation made it impossible not to return over and over there to eat from the restaurant’s superb menu. The chef there definitely has his kitchen switched to game on (and is why I had to go to Stay Fit 24)!
I know I speak for every festival attendee when I say this is one of the best tickets around!
I commented to someone after the first early session on Wednesday night that I couldn’t recall ever having seen more talent in one room at one time, a comment I would find myself repeating over and over with each session. The venues were all wonderful. The sound engineers did an over-the-top job.
I ate way too much popcorn at Rookies, and the intimate in-the-round setting at Delizio’s really made one feel as if they were sitting in one of the writer’s living rooms watching a song-jousting match with a bunch of his or her buddies!
Little did I realize last Wednesday as I pulled away from my house in Tennessee en route to Henderson that I was headed home.
No, I have never been to Henderson nor do I have kin there. But from the neighborly hellos and waves from folks in the downtown streets, to the friendly servers, bartenders and store owners in every downtown establishment that I patronized, to just random town residents expressing genuine concern that I was finding everything and confirming I had all I needed, I could not have been made to feel more like family!
This event is indeed worthy of at least equal billing as the established blues and bluegrass festivals hosted by Henderson. With loyal sons and daughters like Kerry Kurt Phillips and Susie Watkins, the festival’s destiny is certain and clear and could not better honor it’s namesake’s legacy. I was not surprised when I looked up home in the dictionary and found:
home [hohm] noun
1. A house, apartment, or other shelter that is the usual residence of a person, family, or household.
2. The place in which one’s domestic affections are centered.
Thanks to a wonderful town for a GREAT week. I plan to be back next year if not sooner!
Jim Rungee is a resident of Murfreesboro, Tenn.