Guest Author Paul Gamble-- Documentary Photographer,
Historian, Musician and Storyteller
by Dana Koogler
May 1, 2023
with Paul Gamble telling his own stories as a Guest Author.
Photographs on here are not mine, but those of Paul, Shawn and Amanda Gamble.
My friend Paul Gamble is what I call " a hoss among men". He is a leader, not a follower.
Above is a photo of Paul with wife Shawn and daughter Amanda. They are a great looking, fun family of fine people!
About a decade ago I used Flickr photo a fair amount. I still do, but not like I did. One of my contacts on there was Natedawg. aka Nathan Yarbrough Once I started using Facebook I found him there, and that he had a good group for the Cherokee National Forest. He suggested to me that there was a man and a family Kenny and I needed to get to know. Paul Gamble. Nate explained that he had a feeling we'd hit it off really well. I took him at his word and looked up Paul finding him on Facebook as well. It is funny how a seemingly minor thing can make such a change in one's life. Nate turned out to be more than a little right. Paul and his whole family are great people. We do have a lot in common. I tell him we are siblings and that one of us got dropped at the wrong house by the stork. He shares many similarities with me.
- He was raised country as cornbread
- He values strong family ties
- He loves history and documenting it.
- He is a little sentimental
- He has a wicked sense of humor and a strong sense of the ridiculous.
- He pisses people off from time to time for no apparent reason aside from the fact he exists. I have had the dubious distinction to be able to do that for many years. I see him on a streak of it and I have to laugh cause I know he really doesn't care nor does he understand anymore than I do what sets folks off?
- He has a love for photography and outdoors
- He enjoys the simple pleasures in life
- He has a real zest for life
- He loves music of all kinds like I do, but he knows, appreciates and plays Honky Tonk music.
Paul is a native Tennessean born and raised in The Knobs down around Chestuee Creek.
He met and married his wife Shawn at a fairly young age. They have a long, happy marriage and one beautiful, talented daughter Amanda. They like history, photography, critters, travel and are quiet, intelligent people. Paul has been among other things:
an EMT, fireman, policeman, documentary photographer, hiking guide,historian and musician.
His music making days and days as an EMT yielded some particularly dramatic, funny stories.
He agreed some time back to be a guest author on my blog. I am just now getting it together to write it up. I warn you... do NOT have anything in your mouth when you read this or need to go to the bathroom. You will laugh so hard you'll wet your pants or get choked! I could not stop laughing when I read this. Everyone in my family I've read it to has died laughing over it!
Below is a photo I took of the outside of Marie's County Line Tavern. It is open to this day and much more refined than in the past. Marie has persisted in the business world and it paid off! It is better than ever. It was closed the time I took this, but I hope to go visit myself and experience it!
Paul's Story in His Own Words
Above are some of the best images I collected of Paul in his music making mode! Good looking as well as talented. He's taken ladies. Been off the menu for a long time thanks to Shawn. She is movie star pretty, but modest as they come!
Amanda is a talented documentary photographer, writer, historian, videographer, in her own right.
She's pretty like her mama, tough like her daddy as well as outdoorsy and creative! An irresistible combination.
Below is Paul's photo of the old homestead at Ballplay. I loved this spot so much and his photo of it I am painting a picture using this as inspiration. This done with his approval.
Below is the painting, but I have done more on it since this was taken.
Above: Paul decked out and playing music much like he must have been the night the bar maid saved the damsel in distress!
I will forever appreciate these crazy stories, honky tonk music, bluegrass, and country. I watched Ken Burn's History of Country Music documentary. The episode about Hank Williams was fascinating. By the end of it something unexpected happened. I was crying. Watching it unlocked memories buried inside me of various things that went on as a kid. I will forever appreciate Miss Audrey and Hank Williams with their loving, fighting and struggles. My family lived that life. My grandfather and grandmother .. my mom's parents were just like that. Music, dance halls, drinking, fighting, falling out, making up...
Unless you've lived it or been affected by it close to home you can't understand it.
Edited to Add: I wanted to go visit Marie's County line Tavern before I wrote this blog entry. I hit up my friend John Quillen on the Instagram messenger. I wanted to aggravate him a little bit. I asked him if he wanted to go to a dive bar with me. (He is a drug and alcohol counselor, and Marie's is not really a dive bar). He told me "No, but I will save you an appointment for when you end up in JAIL!"
Now that's a good friend right there, but Paul would be a better friend cause he'd be a settin in the cell right next to me.
Finally I leave you with a video of one of the musical numbers Paul and his musician friends were playing when this stuff took place. John Law Burned Down the Liquor Store!
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