The Council of Americana Roots Music (COARM), a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, was created with a duel benefit of cultural enrichment and economic development. Our mission is to preserve, present, and archive music of original singer songwriters of Americana roots music. 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; and two public engagement music festivals held in May and September in rural Overton County Tennessee.
So how did it all begin?
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. 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.
Stoddart’s philosophy that live music requires a live audience stemmed the development of the two JAHJ music festivals and the addition of his son, Silas, and daughter in-law Erica into the organization.
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 and economic development. COARM operates from Crawford, Tenn. in unincorporated Overton County. Operations are overseen by a six person Board of Directors comprised of business and community leaders.