Country and old-time string band music were long-time favorites in Durham’s mill villages and rural communities.
Nashville attracted Durham mill-village musicians including John D. Loudermilk (now in the Nashville Songwriters’ Hall of Fame), and Don Schlitz, who wrote “The Gambler,” made famous by Kenny Rogers.
The 1960s Friday night picking sessions at Hollow Rock Store and banjo player Tommy Thompson’s home fueled a local old-time string band revival. In 1972 Thompson, Bill Hicks, and Jim Watson formed the now nationally known Red Clay Ramblers.
Hillbilly music continues to flourish with bands like the Swingbillies and the Doc Branch Band, founded by Terry family members in the 1970s.