The Council of Americana Roots Music, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, was founded in 2010 with a mutual benefit of cultural enrichment and community service. Our mission is to promote, present, and preserve Americana roots music, while serving the under-served people of Appalachia with fairness, dignity, and compassion.
Programming includes production of a 16- episode annual public television series titled, Jammin at Hippie Jack’s (JAHJ). This half-hour music television series is dedicated to the preservation and presentation of original singer songwriters of historically significant forms of Americana grassroots music. The series is currently distributed by the National Educational Telecommunications Association (NETA) to public television stations, libraries, and educational institutions throughout the nation. Additional initiatives include a regional radio program, The Hippie Jack Radio Hour, broadcast on WDVX radio in Knoxville and the East Tennessee region and worldwide at www.wdvx.com; a public engagement music festival held in May, and a series of benefit concerts through out the year. All proceeds of which go to outreach for under-served people in former coal mining communities located in rural Overton County, Tennessee.
JAHJ evolved out of a documentary produced by WCTE-PBS in 2006. The star was Jack Stoddart, a fine art photographer whose life was spent living on the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee documenting the vanishing culture of the Appalachian “hill people,” who even in the late 1970’s and early 80’s were still working the land with horse and plough, and surviving in seclusion. After an influential week spent with documentary producer and WCTE President/CEO Becky Magura, Stoddart commenced development of a documentary series about Americana music for broadcast locally on WCTE.
This Revolution will be televised
In 2007, Stoddart, produced an 8-episode pilot series for broadcast locally on WCTE. Because the program was filmed on his farm and he was known around town as Hippie Jack, he called the Americana roots music show Jammin at Hippie Jack’s. In 2008, Stoddart produced a 13-episode television series for broadcast on WCTE, and in 2009 the National Educational Telecommunications Association (NETA) was approached with a proposal to distribute the series. Each program would feature an Americana musician. NETA, enthusiastic about the uniqueness of the program, agreed to serve as the national distribution partner. Jack Stoddart, with the help of a small start-up fund provided by local businesses and community supporters, began producing, directing, and editing the program for national broadcast. Wood Tent Audio, a local recording studio, was contracted to separately record the musical score as it was performed. This partnership further helped the program grow and develop. The initial national broadcast of the program in early 2009 was a phenomenal success, with 44 public television stations in 14 states picking up the program and broadcasting it to a potential audience of over 89 million people. By the next season, more stations picked up the show, and by December of 2010, 94 stations in 22 states were broadcasting JAHJ to a potential audience of 112 million people. Today the program is broadcast in 30 states to approximately 144 million people and continues to gain support.
From PBS to live action
Stoddart has a philosophy, that live music requires a live audience. This sparked the development of the JAHJ music festival and the public “Sanctuary” shows. In the beginning this was carried out with assistance from his son, Silas, and daughter in-law Erica. With the quick growth of this project, a new organization was needed to oversee management, finance, production, development, and resources. In November 2010, the Council of Americana Roots Music (COARM), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, was established to oversee Stoddart’s vision of cultural enrichment, economic development, and humanitarian efforts. Since, COARM’s inception, more staff and volunteers have been brought on to assist Stoddart’s dream of community enrichment and outreach. COARM operates from Crawford, TN in unincorporated Overton County. Operations are overseen by a six person Board of Directors comprised of business and community leaders.
In 2015 Stoddart began to focus his time and energy into humanitarian efforts for Appalachians in former mining communities around Overton county. It began simply, by asking people to bring in donations of food and clothes to distribute to people that Stoddart knew personally. The next step of increasing outreach was teaming up with; Soles4Souls, The Stephens Center, The AD Foundation, and TDOT Recycling. With incredible support from other organizations and locals in the community COARM has expanded its outreach, and in 2017 our efforts include;
- 8 Bus loads of food and clothes, delivered.
- 50 SUV loads of food and clothes, delivered.
- 60 ricks of firewood delivered, including the hiring of locals to cut the firewood.
- Bill assistance (water, electric, gas, and medical co-pay).
- Partnering with Livingston Reach Academy’s backpack program, and providing meals to students and their families.
- 2nd Annual Head Start Christmas Dinner (a bus-load with 300 children coats, presents and food).
- A 5 day event in late December were over 300 people were given food, clothes, and children’s toys.
Now the music festival includes more emphasis on our humanitarian efforts, marked by being renamed, Jammin at Hippie Jack’s Outreach Appalachia Music and Arts Festival. And an additional series of benefit concerts (Live at the Sanctuary) were added to raise donations and awareness for various causes plaguing our area.