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What The Heck is A "Whaley" ? | Arts & Culture

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What The Heck is A "Whaley" ?
What The Heck is A "Whaley" ?


                      What the Heck is a "Whaley"

I guess it was about 2 years ago, me and some friends of mine had been asked to play a show way out past Forsyth at a little music hall. I hadn’t been playing the mandolin very long, and was real excited. We got there checked in, tuned up and did our thing inside, a nice little building with theater seats.

After the show I went outside to cool down and there were several lean-to type structures and musicians were gathered up in small groups just a playing. Me and my buddy Joe walked over to the first group Joe still had his banjo on he jumped right in I just stood there in awe and listened.

These folks could play anything they were playing all kinds of music and just a singing and generally having a good time. As we approached one group, there was a mountain of a man playing on one of the sweetest sounding mandolin’s I have ever heard, playing awesome runs and belting out the lyrics to some song I had never heard before, when he finished that song I said "what kind of mandolin is that?"

He replied with one word "Whaley," if you don’t know there are about a zillion different brands of mandolins, I had never head of a Whaley. We listened a while longer and as we walked off one of the local’s caught me and said I think he builds his own. Turns out he was a professional; I think Sam used to be pretty big into the mandolin building business but failing health has slowed that down, I know he still tinkers with them a lot.

Several months later in Juliette I had the privilege of meeting Sam Whaley. A musical delight and also discovered he had a teenage daughter named Jessica, who after about 15 minutes convinced me she could play anything, fiddle, bass ,mandolin ,guitar , and good grief can she sing . After many nights of hanging out on the Porch at Juliette The 2 have become good friends, as I learn the basics of the Mandolin, while soaking in their mastery of music. Sam always trying to help me with advice and guidance, while I try to wrap my head around how he can play 4 notes to my one and talk at the Sam time , How does anybody talk and play at the same time ? From Amazing Grace to Will the Circle be Unbroken, sitting on the porch entertaining the crowd and himself , Sam loves to play. Sam once told me he wanted to play mandolin like Dick Staber, which is how this story got started in the first place, because Staber and Chasnoff will be at the Juliette Opry April 2nd , These 2 kinda do a mix of folk and bluegrass . I know that at some point Dick played mandolin for Del Mcoury (that’s the big time folks) and his website says he’s been playing since 1968, he is quite talented.

Learn more about Staber and Chasnoff.

As usual we will start out on the porch around 6 p.m.(weather permitting).

Any given night we have no idea who will be on the porch but somebody always is . So come on up to Juliette, eat dinner at the Whistle stop café around 5-5:30 then stroll down the street to the Opry-- we’ll be looking for you. Bryant has asked me to tell you Juliette will be trying open mike night from 7-745, we are all Acoustic, With Staber and Chasnoff taking the stage at 8p.m. If you would like to sign up just e-mail me at cabgrn2000@yahoo.com or come by that night.

And if you come to Juliette on the first Saturday of the month and some mountain of a man is playing mandolin and singing on the porch, well boys and girls, that's a "Whaley"

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