Saying that Jennie Lowry leads a multi-faceted existence can be a gross understatement, however music is a single hub round which the numerous different components of her life revolve.
That features rising up with musician mother and father, proudly owning a music retailer in downtown Mount Ethereal, internet hosting a weekly reside radio program highlighting the normal sounds of the Blue Ridge and dealing as a DJ at a station that does the identical. Even the origins of her husband and kids are rooted in music and are concerned in it immediately.
Not surprisingly, Lowry spent her youth in what’s billed as “Music Metropolis,” after she was born in Mount Ethereal in 1977 and her household relocated there when she was about 2.
“I really grew up in Nashville, Tennessee,” Lowry mentioned, which was resulting from her father, Jimmy Lowry, enjoying within the band of nation music star Donna Fargo, additionally a neighborhood native.
Being that the Lowrys shaped a close-knit clan, the Nashville contingent would make frequent visits again to Mount Ethereal, which Jennie says didn’t actually present the identical feeling of being at dwelling as residing right here.
It took a tragedy to vary that dynamic: her grandfather, James Lowry Sr., being recognized with most cancers.
“And we determined over a weekend to maneuver again,” recalled Lowry, who then was about 20.
“And I don’t wish to say ‘begin over’ — but it surely was sort of like beginning over,” she mentioned, together with her dad — who was an solely little one — additionally driving tour buses round that point together with sustaining his profession as a musician.
The younger girl moved in together with her grandparents, and inside a short while her grandfather died, however Lowry is grateful for being round him for so long as she may.
“It was such a blessing to have the ability to reunite with my household.”
Lowry additionally mentioned this occasion was life-changing in a very particular method, crediting her late grandmother, Madeline, with instilling a love of music inside her that lives on to this present day.
“I can’t even think about what would have occurred (in any other case),” she added of having the ability to take pleasure in such high quality time and be taught helpful expertise along with the music publicity. “I wish to prepare dinner, I wish to can — these are issues that my grandma taught me that I love to do yearly.”
What little spare time Lowry has is also stuffed with hobbies corresponding to family tree and studying, with the record together with historic works and how-to books such because the “Foxfire” collection versus novels.
Amongst her ancestors are T.J. Lowry, a long-ago editor of The Mount Ethereal Information.
Enterprise profession launched
Nonetheless, Jennie Lowry’s musical path took a little bit of a detour when she started waitressing at native eating places together with Snappy Lunch, Ray’s Starlight and Goober’s.
She had dabbled with the concept of constant her formal schooling after graduating from Hillsboro Excessive College in Nashville, which included one semester at Belmont College. But faculty was simply not for her, much like many youths who need a more-direct route into the job market.
“I needed to go to work.”
Ultimately there was a breakthrough that allowed Lowry to totally discover her skills within the enterprise world, which additionally was the catalyst for her marriage and changing into the mom of three kids.
“Bob Meinecke is who I’ve to thank,” she mentioned of a neighborhood retiree who’s a former enterprise dealer.
Whereas nonetheless residing together with her grandmother, Lowry was approached by Meinecke about the opportunity of her mother and father shopping for the Olde Mill music retailer, given their background as musicians, though her mom Sylvia had began instructing at the moment.
This as a substitute led to Jennie acquiring a mortgage to purchase the enterprise, then positioned on West Pine Avenue beside Value Honda.
Rick Caudill type of got here with the deal, resulting from having labored on the music retailer since about 1995. The previous proprietor suggested Lowry that she ought to do no matter she may to maintain Caudill on board “as a result of clients like him.”
Not solely did Caudill stay there, he and Lowry acquired married in 2006 and the remainder, as they are saying, is historical past, together with Olde Mill music shifting to its current location on North Predominant Avenue. It focuses on a big selection of acoustic and electrical devices, sound techniques, sheet music, books, provides and different merchandise along with providing music classes.
“He’s very musical and doesn’t come from a household of musicians,” Lowry mentioned of her husband, suggesting a little bit of irony in comparison with her quick household. They play collectively in a prayer band at their church, amongst different performances.
“I really like my job right here,” she mentioned of Olde Mill Music, a household operation that goes past simply being a husband-and-wife crew. That’s as a result of the couple’s three kids — James, Madeline and Ricky, who’re named for different relations — are home-schooled there.
And, sure, all of them have realized to play musical devices as a result of entry offered by the shop.
“I’m so fortunate to have the ability to work with my household,” Lowry mentioned, expressing delight for her kids. “If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be the place I’m.”
Oddly, 2020 has been one among Olde Mill Music’s higher years, regardless of the COVID-19 disaster.
Whereas in-store group classes had been curtailed, as was Rick’s specialty of establishing sound techniques for occasions corresponding to concert events, and retailer hours had been in the reduction of one hour per day throughout the peak of the pandemic, there have been pluses.
“We’ve been capable of preserve,” Lowry mentioned.
This included church buildings shopping for tools to accommodate outside providers, and the shop house owners have observed extra folks utilizing the COVID-19 down time to be taught to play a musical instrument such because the piano or guitar.
“Possibly even an aged particular person,” Lowry mentioned of oldsters who may need delay doing that for years pre-coronavirus.
“I simply assume that’s perhaps one of many good issues that’s going to return of this.”
Jennie Lowry tends to downplay her musical talents, admitting that she is extra of a listener than a performer, and when she does choose up a guitar, for instance, it’s primarily for her personal enjoyment.
That is mirrored in Lowry’s different two gigs. These embody internet hosting the Merry-Go-Spherical music present broadcast reside from the historic Earle Theater downtown on Saturdays, and dealing as a DJ at some point per week on the native radio station that airs the present, WPAQ.
“I actually love internet hosting the Merry-Go-Spherical — it’s such an honor to me, it’s such an enormous deal,” Lowry mentioned of a program that’s been round virtually so long as the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. She additional appreciates the truth that the Merry-Go-Spherical helps hold alive the music of this area.
Lowry changed Travis Frye as Merry-Go-Spherical host, who in flip took over for the late Clyde Johnson.
“Most Saturday mornings I could be discovered there,” she mentioned, with this system resuming this month after a pandemic-related hiatus.
Lowry’s work with the Merry-Go-Spherical goes hand in hand together with her part-time job as a DJ, as she possesses a wealthy, pleasing voice high quality and data of the old-time and bluegrass music WPAQ provides that are stipulations for each.
“You’ve acquired to have the ability to speak,” she mentioned of the necessity to keep away from the dreaded “dead-air” durations of radio broadcasting.
“And I don’t have an issue with that,” Lowry added with fun.
“I really like the DJ side greater than I really wish to play (music), and I feel that’s why I take pleasure in it a lot.”
Lowry likes old-time/bluegrass sounds and is a fair greater fan of Massive Band music popularized by such performers as Tommy Dorsey and Benny Goodman.
“However I actually like several sort of music,” she mentioned, stressing that the Merry-Go-Spherical and DJ duties present her the posh of simply being a fan.
Though Lowry relishes time round her household, she admits that working for WPAQ does provide an outlet of her personal and “permits me to be me.”
Whereas Jennie Lowry has a lot on her plate, she nonetheless finds time for volunteerism, most notably her longtime management involvement with the Downtown Enterprise Affiliation (DBA).
That group works for the betterment of outlets and different entities in Mount Ethereal’s central enterprise district, together with promotional actions and occasions to attract folks downtown corresponding to Christmas and July 4 parades, cruise-ins and others.
“I can see in my very own children the enjoyment they get out of group actions like cruise-ins and parades — and anyone has to assist with these,” she mentioned of the meticulous planning and logistical group required for every.
Aiding with this, together with DBA President Phil Marsh, offers Lowry a way of satisfaction. “I wish to volunteer, as a result of I see the enjoyment folks get out of it,” she mentioned of varied downtown occasions that largely have been sidelined this 12 months.
“I don’t have a enterprise background,” Lowry mentioned, but on the identical time she absolutely understands the challenges smaller shops corresponding to these downtown face in an period of competitors from on-line, big-box and purchasing middle retailers. “I simply actually consider in shopping for native when folks can and staying small.”
Being a small enterprise proprietor additionally permits the flexibleness of helping group organizations such because the Surry Arts Council which normally isn’t the case with nationwide chain operations, Lowry noticed.
Her enterprise philosophies are accompanied by guiding rules of life which she tries to observe and instill in her kids.
“Simply attempt to do nearly as good a job as you may, no matter that’s,” Lowry tells them.
The truth that her father toured rather a lot has influenced the way in which the native mother offers together with her kids.
“He was gone a lot in my childhood,” Lowry recalled, which was considerably compensated for by later attending to carry out with Jimmy.
“And I’ll at all times cherish that point — it was so vital to me and developed me as an individual,” Lowry mentioned, though his demanding journey schedule earlier in her life definitely left a mark.
“On the finish of the day, it made me understand that I at all times wish to be there for my children.”
It’s a part of the easy philosophy Jennie Lowry endeavors to reside by total:
“I simply assume making an attempt to take at some point at a time and simply get by this present day,” which she was fast to level out doesn’t imply overlooking tomorrow.
“However take into consideration what I have to do to get by this present day,” Lowry defined, together with treating folks proper.
“And if I screw up immediately, attempt to do higher tomorrow.”