Piedmont Melody Makers
R.A. Fountain & General Store, Fountain
Saturday, March 7, 2015
Roughly an hour east of Raleigh sits the small town of Fountain. With a population of less than 500 and a relatively empty main street, Fountain drew me on a recent Saturday night with a beacon of the past. For the past several years, Alex and Elizabeth Albright have run the R.A. Fountain General Store. The couple revitalized the space into a fully functional store that sells antiques, books, CDs, homemade ice cream and an array of knickknacks. Every Friday or Saturday night, they host regional roots performers as the space transforms into a gathering spot for the community.
Stepping through the front doors is an overwhelming experience. The smell of the old wooden floorboards hits you immediately. In a building that is more than a century old, it takes only a few seconds to imagine the comings and goings of townspeople when it functioned as a proper general store.
To the music: The night featured a performance by the Piedmont Melody Makers, an ensemble that features Alice Gerrard, Chris Brashear, Jim Watson and Cliff Hale. I sat down with a cold bottle of Cheerwine to watch the quartet deliver songs as old as the space around them. The experience felt directly connected to the music. From the wooden piano to the old license plates to the farm tools hanging overhead, the venue is well worth the drive not only for the surroundings but also for the artists the room presents.