TRUCKEE, Calif. — Richard Blair, musician and 27-year Truckee resident, has recorded his latest CD about Truckee’s early history in the late 1800s.
The songs are old stories put to modern folk-roots/Americana melodies and recorded in his Russell Valley studio on acoustic guitars he created. The Russell Valley studio is a serene place to write, record and preserve some of Truckee’s heritage.
These songs were written within view of historical markers that indicate the routes of old wagon trails. Inspiration for the CD came from Truckee’s unique past and the desire to keep it alive. Building guitars locally for acoustic musicians, writing songs about life in Truckee, and then singing and sharing them with others in Truckee, is what Blair calls “Truckee Home Grown.”
Tourists and locals alike know about the Donner Party, but names like Shaffer, Judah, Jibboom and Boca that grace reservoirs, streets and housing developments are the foundation of Truckee history.
Dueling personalities of Truckee’s first Sheriff Jacob Teeter and Deputy James Reed, self-appointed ring leader of the 601 Vigilantes chapter, settled their differences in a gun fight at the Capital Saloon. The building still stands today in downtown Truckee.
American railroad and civil engineer Theodore Judah, (Mt. Judah at Sugar Bowl), set out to build the first railroad over Donner Summit with the help of 1,200 Chinese laborers. Jibboom Street’s colorful and rowdy past is ever a hot topic, while lumber mills that used to line the Truckee River in the 1800s were an economic boom. Twenty-five years ago, the last of these sawmills sat on the current empty space at the East end of downtown Truckee, where you could hear the steam whistle blow every day.
The endurance of legendary Snowshoe Thompson who delivered mail from Placerville to Genoa, Nev. on cross-country skis for 20 winters is still talked about today. And not to forget, the world-famous Boca Beer brewery and local ice harvest that was critical to early refrigeration.
Keeping Truckee’s past alive and re-told is an important part of being a “local.” With the help of musicians Steve Kershisnic on upright bass, Sparky Kramer on mandolin, Craig Iverson on piano, and Elyah Gordon on violin, the catchy melody lines and Truckee’s history will play in your head for a long time to come.
CDs are available at: Mountain Hardware, Mountain Home Center, Truckee’s California Welcome Center, Earthly Delights at Northstar, Office Boss next to Safeway, Truckee Shoe Co. Downtown and New Moon Natural Foods.
Blair may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.