Dew Droppers: First Jason, now Jackie
Several episodes of the classic 1970s television series The Waltons dealt with music and romance at the Scottsville bar called the Dew Drop Inn. In the show's final season, John-Boy's brother, Jason, buys the place.
But Jason left the building, and the reputation of the Dew Drop faltered to the point that the spot became an enter-at-your-own-risk drinking establishment whose unruly crowds caused headaches for Scottsville's tiny police force.
That lasted until about 15 years ago when a Memphis, Tennessee transplant to the area by the name of Jackie Lohr decided to buy the bar on Scottsville's main drag and turn it into a family restaurant.
"Jackie has really cleaned it up," says longtime Dew Drop regular Moe Mosher. "She doesn't put up with any nonsense."
"I always used to watch The Waltons with my children," Lohr recalls. "I just couldn't think of a better place to open a restaurant."
Her intentions, however, were twofold. Lohr may be the biggest lover of blues music this side of the Tennessee border. "My two biggest passions are my family and blues, and they come together nicely here," she says.
In her zeal to promote the history and culture of blues music to her patrons, she features live music of various kinds on a regular basis. "I have one hell of a blues collection in the jukebox too," she says with pride.
In the recently aired PBS series on the blues, Lohr spotted an inaccurate date for one performance– because she saw herself in the crowd.
Finding the right crowd started early. As a teen she worked at the front desk of a hotel used by the film crew and guests of the Johnny Cash Show. That job put her in contact with some of the best musicians, writers, and producers of that era. And she has used those connections to put some local bands in the right places to be heard.
Currently, she's an active member of the Blues Foundation, and for five years running she's been a judge for the esteemed W.C. Handy Awards.
The president has declared 2003 the "year of the blues," and that's fine with Lohr. "It's my religion," she says. "Blues raises the hair on the back of my neck like the Lord was speaking to me."
Although her family and restaurant keep her very busy, she can still see the end of the road. "When I finally sell this place," she says, "I'm moving to an apartment above a bar on Beale Street in Memphis so I can hear music all the time."
PHOTO BY JEN FARIELLO