Clay County's Musical Heritage

Music has always been a part of Clay County's soul, from its roots on early plantations. William Parmenter writes of hearing it coming in on the breeze from the church on the McIntosh plantation at Orange Park. Wilson's Hall in Green Cove Springs hosted many a traveling bands. And at the Magnolia Springs Hotel, the house band would come to life at the elaborate pergola each time a steamboat would bring newly arriving guests.

The Clay County Community Band has been performing for us for more than twenty years, and in 2008 premiered an original composition, Sesquicentennial March and Song, in honor of our 150th anniversary. See their Concert Schedule at www.claycountyband.com

Here we highlight some of singers and songwriters near and dear to our hearts.

 

Hank Garland

 

Hank Garland

"Legendary country, rock and jazz guitarist Hank Garland, who performed with Elvis Presley, the Everly Brothers, Roy Orbison, Patsy Cline, Charlie Parker and many others, has died at the age of 74." -- AP

Hank was an Orange Park resident for twenty years, before his death in 2004. His Obituary

 

 

 

 

Kort McCumber

Americana Music * Singer Songwriter * Multi-Instrumentalist

One of our own, Kort McCumber, now living in Gold Hill, Co., is on the top of his career, writing and singing around the world. Check out his tour dates at kortmusic.com and his recordings at iTunes.

 

Ronnie VanZant

Lynyrd Skynyrd (The Beginning)

Link to the official history of the group.

 

<< Ronnie Van Zant

Van Zant Park, a large, beautiful park near Lake Asbury has been dedicated to his memory, after his death in 1977.

Johnny VanZant

Lynyrd Skynyrd (Today)

 

Check out lynyrdskynyrd.com

Lynyrd Skynyrd's lead vocalist today is Johnny Van Zant, brother of Ronnie.

 

<< Johnny Van Zant

Bobby Ingram

Molly Hatchet

Bobby Ingram, lead guitarist and owner of the band, lives in Lake Asbury.

Official Website -- and be prepared to turn the volume down . . . or up . . . before you go!

Olustee String Band

 

Olustee String Band

Ken Carey, a Clay County veteran of Vietnam, is a member of the Olustee String Band. You'll be truly lucky to catch this group performing live at some local venue, but you can always listen to their CD, available at the Archives for your listening enjoyment.

Red Jumpsuit Apparatus

Red Jumpsuit Apparatus

We offer a free tour of the Old County Jail to anyone who can tell how this band from Middleburg got its name.

"Basically, we are a five-piece band from Middleburg, FL, which is on the outskirts of Jacksonville, FL. We started almost 5 years ago now, a couple of friends from high school, we made a band, wrote some good songs, got a record deal and now we are touring our first record with our first single and having pretty good success."

Check out their tour dates.

The VanZants

The Van Zants

Johnny and Donnie have come together as brothers to create The Van Zants, a country group playing "My Kind of Country."

 

Check them out at thevanzantz.com

Slim Whitman

You might be lucky enough to see this Clay County resident, Slim Whitman, having coffee by his picture at the Middleburg McDonalds, where Claude Bass sat down with him for a chat.

Like so many Clay Countians, Mr. Whitman served in the Navy. Afterward, Col. Tom Parker (of Elvis fame), got him a contract with RCA and he changed his name from Ottis to Slim. He earned his place at the Country Music Hall of Fame Walkway of Stars even before Hank Williams.

His hits include "I'm Casting My Lasso Towards the Sky," "Love Song of the Waterfall," "Indian Love Call," "Secret Love," "Rose Marie," and many others.

Slim lives at his Woodpecker Paradise estate in Clay County. The book, "Mr. Songman," is available at the Archives.

Donnie Van Zant and 38 Special

 

 

38 Special

 

Well, we haven't seen the bus out back, so Donnie Van Zant and his 38 Special must be out on tour again. Donnie has been the lead guitarist and vocalists since the band formed in 1974.

Check out their discography and tour dates.