The Homestead Pickers will be leaving the comfort of their McHaffie Homestead cabin’s front porch in Silver Dollar City to bring their old-timey tunes to California at 7 p.m. Saturday in the Finke Theatre.
These seasoned performers are known for their instrumental prowess, comedic presence and penchant for down-home Ozark living, engrossing audiences with early American, bluegrass, gospel and Irish music.
“We do a lot of joking and stories and comedy stuff — a lot of ad-lib,” string aficionado and farmer Greg Bailey said. “We never do the same show twice. We are too old to remember what we did at the last show is what the problem is, so we just fly by the seat of our pants; and if somebody wants to hear a request, they holler it up from the audience and we do it.”
Although the band has toured around the United States and Ireland, it is usually found in McHaffie’s Homestead cabin on the Silver Dollar City square. The cabin was built in 1843 by the pioneering Levi Casey family. The Homestead Pickers help give the hewn-log house life with music and stories that offer visitors a glimpse at life in the Ozarks in the 1880s.
The versatile quartet is composed of Greg Bailey, Greg Becker, Danny Eakin and John Walter Morrison. Between the four, the ensemble can perform with dozens of instrumental combinations, including the hammered dulcimer, dobro and mountain banjo.
“We don’t have a set list,” Bailey said. “We just get up there and whatever the Lord wants us to do, we do. We’ve got 180 songs recorded and know many, many more. … We’ve got a total of 107 years of working at Silver Dollar City with all of the band members.”
Eakin is the group’s resident storyteller. Since arriving at Silver Dollar City in 1985, he’s known as the ultimate in hillbilly entertainment, sharing true and mythical tales about Ozark living.
“Being around this part of the world, people down here are just a little more friendly,” Bailey said. “People around here look you in the eye when you walk by and tell you hello, and that’s just the way we are. If we aren’t looking you in the eye, we are looking down at the ground to make sure we aren’t stepping in something.”