0

Everett family to celebrate 50 years of making music

photo

A group of men, John McAfee, Perry McKinney, Don Norman, Darrell Wilson and Ronald Wilson play bluegrass music during a jam session in the Everett home located next to the Everett’s Music Barn in Suwanee on Saturday. Since 1964 the Everett family has been playing music in Suwanee, eventually opening their home to anyone with the desire to play music, learn or watch the pickers play. (Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan)

photo

Mark Hathaway, left, of Marietta and Dan Arnold of Watkinsville play bluegrass music during a jam session in the Everett home located next to the Everett’s Music Barn in Suwanee on Saturday. Since 1964 the Everett family has been playing music in Suwanee, eventually opening their home to anyone with the desire to play music, learn or watch the pickers play. (Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan)

photo

Don Norman plays bluegrass music with his banjo during a jam session in the Everett home located next to the Everett’s Music Barn in Suwanee on Saturday. Since 1964 the Everett family has been playing music in Suwanee, eventually opening their home to anyone with the desire to play music, learn or watch the pickers play. (Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan)

photo

Since 1964 the Everett family has been playing music in Suwanee, eventually opening their home to anyone with the desire to play music, learn or watch the pickers play. (Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan)

photo

Darrell Wilson plays bluegrass music during a jam session in the Everett home located next to the Everett’s Music Barn in Suwanee on Saturday. Since 1964 the Everett family has been playing music in Suwanee, eventually opening their home to anyone with the desire to play music, learn or watch the pickers play. (Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan)

photo

Located just behind the house, Everett’s Music Barn built in 1971 has hosted bluegrass bands in Suwanee. (Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan)

If You Go

What: Everett’s Music Barn’s 50th anniversary celebration

When: 5 p.m. to midnight Friday and 1 p.m. to midnight Saturday

Where: 4055 Stonecypher Road, Suwanee

Cost: Donation

For more information: Call 770-945-5628

When Jerry Everett, a Gwinnett County police officer, was killed in the line of duty in 1964, the Everett family was, understandably, devastated. But they weren’t alone.

Musicians came to the family homestead — a three-bedroom house with no bathroom off the beaten path in Suwanee — every Saturday night to try to help the family through their grief.

“It was a tragic time,” said Tommy Everett, Jerry’s nephew. “The investigation (into the killings) went on for 14 months, so every Saturday more and more people gathered here to help soothe the family and help them through those times of sorrow.”

Before Jerry’s death, the Everett brothers — Leroy on the bass fiddle, Randall on guitar singing lead vocals and Roger on the banjo — had been spending every Saturday night in their living room recording music that was played on Sunday on two local radio stations.

After Jerry’s death, the brothers kept playing and even built a special music room onto their house in 1968 to accommodate the growing crowds. And the crowds kept growing, prompting the brothers to build the Everett’s Music Barn, where the trio would play every Saturday night.

These days the members of the original Everett Brothers Band — Roger, Randall and Leroy — are no longer living but their legacies live on, as does that of Jerry Everett.

On Friday and Saturday, the Everett family and the Everett’s Family Band will hold a two-day benefit celebrating 50 years of making music at the family’s Gwinnett homestead. Proceeds from donations made during the event will go toward supporting the barn — where bluegrass bands from all over the country take the stage — and the house — where jam sessions happen every Saturday night on into the early morning hours of Sunday.

This weekend’s event will include music by local and national bluegrass touring acts, including Adkins & Loudermilk on Friday and Frances Mooney and Fontanna Sunset and Kenny and Amanda Smith on Saturday.

As always at Everett’s Music Barn, the cost to attend is by donation.