Introduction to Creek Don't Rise

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Written by Paul Race for Creek Don't Rise? commemorates the music and history of the American Heartland.

Paul dressed in period clothes for a event at the Clark County (Ohio) Historical Society.Songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Paul Race started this project in 2001 when he was working on a Folk-based musical that commemorates the National Road, the Dayton Flood, and many other historical events in the region.

Then readers started asking him questions about various instruments he referred to, and he started writing articles about those as well. By now we have hundreds of articles about acoustic instruments and traditional music. In fact we've started "sister sites" to keep this site from becoming so large you couldn't navigate it.

Who Is This Site For? - Anyone interested in traditional music, acoustic music, Folk Revival music, or the instruments such music typically uses. Whether you're a total newbie or a professional looking to learn about some instrument you haven't tried yet.

How Do I Find the Information I Need? - The long green index bar near the top of this page lists many of our resources, as does a long (but somewhat abbreviated) list further down the page.

Chances are, you found this site through a Google search that took you right to the page you needed first. But Google usually only links to the first page we published on the subject, so once you're here the green bar is your friend.

I Have a Question You Haven't Published the Answer To Yet - If you have a question or comment or correction of any kind, please use our Contact page. If you want to sign up to Paul's newsletter "Momma Don't 'Low" at the same time, please click here.

Paul tries to respond to every serious question personally. That's one reason we require your real name and address on our forms, so Paul doesn't waste time on trolls and scammers that he'd rather spend helping real people.

July, 2020 Update

Paul speaking:

I have finally retired from a 40 year career as a technical writer, which included some 12 years teaching college writing. After 40 years of researching, fact-checking, explaining complex topics to "newbies," and debunking "common knowledge" that is altogether wrong, writing has clearly become an obsession.

As a fan of traditional music and the instruments it has been played on, I especially like writing about neglected or marginalized instruments.

Maybe that's why so many readers say that they have found our articles more helpful and accurate than other sources, even from people who actually know more about the subject than I do. And as I learn and try new things, I can't help but write down my thoughts. So as long as I stay in good health, you should probably expect our list of articles to grow.

That said, I am hoping to find more time for my personal musical pursuits. Like recording the couple hundred "worthwhile" songs I have written but never recorded. (We'll talk about the other hundreds of songs later.) Like getting in front of people more often. To those ends, I'm also working on projects that you probably won't see the results of for months (or in some cases, years) to come.

What is my Banjo or Autoharp Worth?

My favorite criticisms come from people who want to know how much money their great-uncles' autoharp or banjo is worth. Sometimes I ask for photos because I really want to know what they have. Sometimes, they surprise me with something that is actually out of the ordinary that may have intrinsic value. But 99 out of 100 are neglected student instruments with no collector's value that would cost more to make playable than they would to replace. Because this is a family site, I won't repeat what they often tell me when I tell them that their family's most cherished heirloom won't actually put their kids through college. That's one reason I have published "How Much is my Autoharp/Chromaharp Worth" and "How Much is my Banjo Worth" articles. If I sense that people are only interested in getting someone to tell them their wall decoration is worth more than their car, I refer them to those articles so they can do the research themselves and get back to me if they have any more questions.

Keeping Up With Our Endeavors -

If you want to keep up with our musical and writing forays, please check out my FB music page here

If you think our efforts are worth supporting for the long term, check out Paul's nascent Patreon Page. He actually started this page as an assignment for a music business class, so it's not very "fleshed out." And at the moment you don't get any special rewards for chipping in, but you don't want to know what our internet costs are. :-)

On this Site

The dropdown menu at the top of our home page and a few others is one attempt to make things easier to find. But if you're just poking around in general, here are some areas you may find helpful: Sister Sites

Other sites we started to keep this site from getting too big to be useful include:

  • Click to see buyers' guides that actually explain is a buyers' guide for acoustic and traditional instrument from a musician's point of view, focusing on the uses, reliability, and practicality of various instruments, and not just the marketing hype about the shape of the fret markers or whatever.

  • Momma Don't 'Low? is a program that support followers of our music-related web pages, including Creek Don't Rise?, Classic Train Songs?,, and Don't 'Low is currently a subsidiary of this site, but we have plans for expansion. If you like acoustic and traditional music and you'd like to be informed about new articles we've posted, as well as what Paul is up to musically these days, please go to the Momma Don't 'Low page. There you will learn about joining our free program for fans, writers, performers, and producers of acoustic and traditional music.

    The primary benefit currently is the free e-mail newsletter that discusses all of those topics above and more. We plan to include other features as time permits.

    Note - If you wish to sign up for our newsletter and ask a question at the same time, please click on the Momma Don't 'Low newsletter button to learn more and to get a link to our signup form. Click to see Paul's blogs, memoirs, and more, including what he's up to musically these days.

  • is the "landing page" for Paul's own musical endeavors, plus many memoirs and blogs about music and the music business.

  • Click to visit a site about train songs that every train lover and Folk singer should know.  Or at least know describes railroad songs that every train lover should know. Or at least know about.

  • has articles about Christian music, Christian music careers and performance, Christian living in general, and vintage saxophones, another of Paul's interests. This site has separate newsletters, etc., by the way - there isn't a lot of overlap with the Momma Don't 'Low(tm) newsletters.

Paul Race and sister Tess Hoffman in an historical recreation in 2017, put here to give you some idea of what the play would look like staged.About the Play

Not to forget about the play that started it all.

In the immortal words of Joni Mitchell, "Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you got 'till it's gone." No, I have no illusion that the American Midwest is the wonderful place that they showed on, say Little House On the Prarie, but it is more than a place that folks on either coast have to fly over to get to the other coast. And we wanted to document and celebrate the things that have made the Heartland different from any other place, while there are still folks who know the difference.

For more information about our play and about our little piece of the Heartland in southwest Ohio, click here.

For information about other music collections and projects, check the links at the bottom of this page.

Paul Race playing a banjo. Click to go to Paul's music home page.Whatever else you get out of our pages, I hope you come away with some great ideas for "sharing the joy."

And please stay in touch!

    - Paul Race Click to see Paul's music home page Click to contact Paul through this page. Click to visit the Creek Don't Rise discussion forum. Click to see Paul's music page on Facebook Click to see Paul's music page on SoundCloud Click to see Paul's music blog page Click to learn about our Momma Don't Low Newsletter. Click to see Paul's YouTube Channel. Click to see Paul's Twitter Page.

All material, illustrations, and content of this web site is copyrighted ? 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006,
2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 by Paul D. Race. All rights reserved.
Creek Dont' Rise(tm) is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising
program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

For questions, comments, suggestions, trouble reports, etc. about this page or this site, please contact us.

How To Help Us Promote Traditional Music for Free: If you find our tips, explanations, and recommendations helpful when picking out a product, and you appreciate that we don't continually inconvenience you with irrelevant ads or obnoxious popups, Please Bookmark This Page and come back through it when you're ready to order. In some cases - not all - we get a very small portion of your purchase price, all of which goes to supporting our sites. Ironically, if you don't come through our page, someone else like Facebook or the Weather Channel will usually get that "fee" anyway. In the meantime, it costs you nothing. We never see who placed the order, so you don't have to worry about us pestering you with followup e-mails or some such. But it helps us know what pages our readers find useful, and it helps our advertisers know who to support.

And that, in turn, helps us provide more useful resources. Thank you!

Visit related pages and affiliated sites:
- Music -
Heartland-inspired music, history, and acoustic instrument tips.
Best-loved railroad songs and the stories behind them.
Visit musings about music on our sister site, School of the Rock With a few tools and an hour or two of work, you can make your guitar, banjo, or mandolin much more responsive.  Instruments with movable bridges can have better-than-new intonation as well. The Independent Christian Musician. Check out our article on finding good used guitars.
Carols of many countries, including music, lyrics, and the story behind the songs. X and Y-generation Christians take Contemporary Christian music, including worship, for granted, but the first generation of Contemporary Christian musicians faced strong, and often bitter resistance. Different kinds of music call for different kinds of banjos.  Just trying to steer you in the right direction. New, used, or vintage - tips for whatever your needs and preferences. Wax recordings from the early 1900s, mostly collected by George Nelson.  Download them all for a 'period' album. Explains the various kinds of acoustic guitar and what to look for in each.
Look to Riverboat Music buyers' guide for descriptions of musical instruments by people who play musical instruments. Learn 5-string banjo at your own speed, with many examples and user-friendly explanations. Explains the various kinds of banjos and what each is good for. Learn more about our newsletter for roots-based and acoustic music. Folks with Bb or Eb instruments can contribute to worship services, but the WAY they do depends on the way the worship leader approaches the music. A page devoted to some of Paul's own music endeavors.
- Trains and Hobbies -
Free building projects for your vintage railroad or Christmas village.
Visit Lionel Trains. Click to see Thomas Kinkaded-inspired Holiday Trains and Villages. Big Christmas Train Primer: Choosing and using model trains with holiday themes Building temporary and permanent railroads with big model trains Click to see HO scale trains with your favorite team's colors.
- Christmas Memories and Collectibles -
Visit the FamilyChristmasOnline site. Visit Howard Lamey's glitterhouse gallery, with free project plans, graphics, and instructions. Click to return to the Old Christmas Tree Lights Table of Contents Page Click to sign up for Maria Cudequest's craft and collectibles blog.
Click to visit Fred's Noel-Kat store.
Visit the largest and most complete cardboard Christmas 'Putz' house resource on the Internet.
- Family Activities and Crafts -
Click to see reviews of our favorite family-friendly Christmas movies. Free, Family-Friendly Christmas Stories Decorate your tree the old-fashioned way with these kid-friendly projects. Free plans and instructions for starting a hobby building vintage-style cardboard Christmas houses. Click to find free, family-friendly Christmas poems and - in some cases - their stories. Traditional Home-Made Ornaments