The First Sunrise Mural honors Fred Price and Clint Howard along with Tom Ashley. These three make up the trio that was discovered by folklorist, Ralph Rinzler in the early 1960s. They knew a good guitar picker playing on the street over around Boone at the time by the name of Doc Watson. Doc didn’t even own an acoustic guitar back then. He was focused on more modern music. With some direction from Rinzler, the newly formed group hit the road. They received rave reviews from coast to coast. An article in a New York newspaper from the time said they put the “Folk in Folk music.” Their album, Old Time Music at Clarence Ashley’s was placed on the National Recording Registry in 2012. Among the other 23 albums placed on the registry that year are Simon and Garfunkle’s the Sound of Silence and Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon.
Fred and Clint with sons, Kenny and Clarence would later record the Ballad of Finley Preston. The album told the story of the last legal hanging in Tennessee, which happened in the vicinity of our Johnson County Courthouse. The late, great folklorist, Joe Wilson, native son of Johnson County and National Heritage Fellow, produced the album, just number 009 on the Rounder record label. It is important to point out that everyone who remembers these guys remembers not only their music, but their legacy of kindness and humility. They were good people who lived authentically, and their music had a way of putting us in touch with the most decent part of ourselves.