Book is tribute to innovators of country music
AUTHOR: Carl Birk was in the Thayer/Mammoth Spring area last week to promote his book Unfurrowed Ground A portion of the proceeds of the book will go the George D. Hay Foundation. Foundation members are, back row: Bonnie Cohn and Gale Foster; front row: Birk and daughter Kirby.
MAMMOTH SPRING -- A book signing was held at the Mammoth Spring Country Music Theater June 2 with author Carl S. Birk as the special guest.
Birk was in the area to promote his new book, Unfurrowed Ground, a tribute to the innovators of country music.
"Country music comes from deep in the heart of the American people. The music of the hills has evolved over the decades to make a unique musical experience," Birk said.
He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin where he received a degree in history, library science and audio visual. For the past 20 years he has taught in the Houston, Texas, Independent School District. There he has instructed children in computer and library science. He has developed projects over the years for children. Of all the projects, Birk said Delightful Country Kids is the most successful.
"From 1989 to 1996 I instructed children in basic learning skills through the theme of country music. This includes song writing, performing, interviewing country singers and other categories," Birk said.
He said some of the famous entertainers who have participated in the program are Brooks and Dunn, Mark Chestnut, David Ball, Tammy Wynette and Neil McCoy.
He said 120 entertainers have participated in the Delightful Country Kids.
Birk grew up in Michigan and when he was a youngster he said he listened to country music on WMAQ out of Chicago. "I was kind of like Barbara Mandrell. I was country when country wasn't cool," he said.
The author is traveling and promoting his book with his daughter, Kirby.
Birk said he is impressed with the work the George D. Hay Country Music Foundation of Mammoth Spring has done and will donate a portion of the book sales to the foundation. Birk and Kirby both said they were excited about being in the area where the Grand Old Opry idea was born.
Birk said, " I love being here. The most impressive part of country music is right across the highway." A chapter in the book is dedicated to the Solemn Old Judge. Birk said he fell in love with country music when he was fairly young.
"Country Music is the true American music. It has feeling and can reach everyone's soul. Today's artist are more popular than previous stars in the industry. Before these stars were a group of performers that have been basically forgotten for their contributions to this art form. My book is to pay tribute to this fine American art form," Birk said.