Gold Country Quirky: Musical Organ Rally - NBC Bay Area
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Gold Country Quirky: Musical Organ Rally

Musical organs and their talented owners toodle towards Jackson.



    A SOUNDTRACK FOR A CITY: If you've ever strolled Jackson, the town that serves as both the Amador County county seat as well as the busy burg at the heart of Gold Country, you kind of know it comes with its own inherent soundtrack. It's just one of those picturesque places, full of the spirit of 1849, that summons the echoes of banjos and fiddles and the twangy, deep, storytelling instruments of yore. Many of those instruments have found new life in modern pop and country -- call it Suspender Rock or Alt-Nostalgia or one of the other affectionate names journalists have applied to contemporary twang -- but there's another instrument that may be due for, well, its larger due on the Billboard charts: the musical organ. But make no mistake: Musical organs have plenty of love from their devotees, people who both appreciate the cranks the organs boast and their calliope-esque cadence and their wood-carved and metal-shiny beauty. Fans also appreciate that these instruments were oftentimes some of the only live music people regularly enjoyed a century or two ago. Are you sweet on that particular storybook sound? A number of organists are ready to roll into Jackson, with their gorgeous instruments in tow, over the last Saturday in September.

    LISTEN UP: "Unusual musical band organs" will set up shop, along with their humans, of course, down Jackson's Main Street on Saturday, Sept. 27. The nickelodeon-type wonders are free to see and hear, and there's a concert at the United Methodist Church on Sunday at 1 p.m. if you need some more time with the antiques. It isn't all about the tunes, though: The musical organ weekend coincides with The Days of 49, which will see an "authentic wagon train of twenty horse-drawn wagons pull into Jackson..." on that Saturday. And the reason? Amador County is 160 years old. (Fun fact: Did you know Amador City, which is just a pip up the way from Jackson, is California's smallest city?) Organ pipes, wagon trains, Gold Country history: If you aren't wearing suspenders and sleeve garters out on Main Street, we'll probably be a mite disappointed. And may musical organs remain as whimsical and beautiful as they are, even if a hot band soon takes the instrument's unique sound to the very top of the pop charts.