Liars Bench Presents Hangman, Hangman Slack Your Rope
at WCUs Mountain Heritage Center, April 19
(from April 12, 2012 press release. Contact: Gary Carden firstname.lastname@example.org Carl Iobst 828.269.7844.)
The unjust hanging of Jack Lambert to be centerpiece of second Balsam Chronicles show
Gary Carden of The Liars Bench, a two-year old program featuring authentic traditional Southern Appalachian storytelling, music, poetry, and drama, announced the second of the “Balsam Chronicles,” continuing with the story of the hanging of Jack Lambert and other murder/execution stories in “Hangman, hangman slack your rope” at WCUs Mountain Heritage Center on Thursday April 19 at 7:00 pm. Free admission for all.
Supported in part by a grant from the Grassroots Arts Program of the Jackson County Arts Council and the North Carolina Arts Council, this is the compelling story of the circumstances of Jack Lambert being 'framed' for the murder of Dick Wilson, convicted, and unjustly executed in the last legal hanging in Swain County in 1886.
Carden said “hangings were a relative rarity in Appalachia. You would think from folklore and myth that it was just happening all the time. People came as if it was just dinner on the ground or a picnic. There's seems to have always been a confusion in people's minds as to whether hangings were a deterrent or an entertainment. With this show, “Hangman, hangman slack your rope,” there will be revelations—there will be a surprise ending!”
In addition to Liars Bench regulars Gary Carden, host and storyteller; Lloyd Arneach, the Cherokee storyteller; Paul Iarussi, claw-hammer guitar specialist; William Ritter, vocalist and musician; and Karen Barnes; the April 19 performance will also feature descendants of both Dick Wilson and Jack Lambert.
Each of the three “Balsam Chronicles” shows will showcase the history and folklore of one of the counties in the Balsam range. The April 19 show will celebrate the history, music, and folklore of murder and hangings in the Appalachians and Swain County in particular. Among the subjects to be presented April 19 are John Hardy, Tom Dula, Jack Lambert, Dick Wilson and Cherokee myths and legends of figures who sacrificed themselves for the Cherokee people.
During the past year, Carden has designed and directed a series of shows that dealt with Cherokee history and culture; religious music, Jack Tales, and myths and legends. After a show from last October was recently featured on the regional television program Life in the Carolinas, both the performers and the staff of the Liars Bench became convinced that the show should move toward becoming a significant voice in defining and preserving the region's culture. This decision was confirmed by the cover story publication in a WNC newspaper recently of Carden and his creation, The Liars Bench show.
Recently, The Liars Bench, in conjunction with the Mountain Heritage Center, developed a grant proposal that was funded by the Jackson County Arts Council. “This grant has given us the resources to develop programs that deal with topics such as Dr. John R. Brinkley, the hanging of Jack Lambert, and the historical basis for the belief that Abraham Lincoln was born here. We continue to do this with storytelling, music, poetry and drama.” The story of Dick Wilson and Jack Lambert is the second “Balsam Chronicles” presentation. For additional information, call the Mountain Heritage Center at 828.227.7129.