There'll be a lot of bluegrass music and a lot of history in the air Saturday, April 16, at 4055 Stonecypher Road in Suwanee.
The weekly gigs at the renowned Everett Music Barn will resume at 8 p.m., under the property's new ownership. And the revival comes at a special time.
On April 17, 1964, Gwinnett County policeman Jerry Everett and two other officers were slain during a robbery.
It was Jerry Everett's death that gave rise to the bluegrass performances, recalled Tommy Everett, his nephew.
"Folks were gathering to soothe the family," Tommy Everett said last week during a work session at the Everett barn, where many locals gathered to prepare the property for the new performances.
The "pickin" began in the living room of the main house, but in a few years, the impromptu performances began to occupy every room of the house. Then in 1971, the inspiration hit: build a barn at the rear of the property.
So material was gathered from an old apartment building in Norcross. Even nails were re-used, Tommy Everett said. "It was the 1960s, and we were dead broke," he recalled. Tommy Everett now works for the City of Sugar Hill golf course.
So the legend began. The Everett Brothers Band was built around brothers Roger and Randall and sister Pauline. Even The New York Times noticed, with a Page One story published on Jan. 22, 2001.
The weekly gigs came to a halt on Nov. 10, 2010, a month after Roger Everett's death. The last surviving sibling, George Everett, had no desire to keep ownership or maintain the tradition. So the property was sold to a three-member group of area residents who were determined to preserve the site and move the music forward.
"I love it," said Agnes English, a Stonecypher Road resident for 30 years, while sitting on the barn's porch during the recent work session. "I spent my wedding night in 1954 in the main house."
The revamped Everett band will perform at 8 p.m., and Center Stage will be the guest visiting band April 16. Already a schedule of visiting bands is set through August. A donation of $15 per person is suggested for the guest bands.
The main house is "available for jamming," the schedule says.
Another tradition will be maintained for the weekly gigs: no alcohol. "Ma Everett didn't take to drinking," one local remarked at the work session.
Framed nostalgia still adorns the walls of the music barn. It includes pictures of the Everetts as well as posters of such country music luminaries as Flatt & Scruggs and references to the Ryman Auditorium, the original site of the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tenn.
New touches include a fresh sound system. Baker Audio in Norcross donated the installation, and an attorney from Buckhead paid for the new tech toys.
And "the ladies of Everett Music Barn" furnished the food for the recent work session to fine-tune the legendary site, Tommy Everett said.
So the stage is set. A lunchtime prayer by Michael Everett (a Cumming resident and Tommy Everett's brother) at the work session asked for "strength to continue the performances for another 40 years."
"I've done this my whole life," said Tommy Everett, also the sound man for the performances. "It's my heritage. We want to play."