Cabin in the Pines: Albert Music Hall and Constructions of a Pine Barrens Musical Tradition

Christine A. Lutz


Albert Music Hall is an outpost of bluegrass, folk, and country music in the New Jersey Pine Barrens, offering hours of live music every Saturday night. It has formally been in existence since the 1970s under the auspices of the Pinelands Cultural Society, but it traces its roots back to the 1950s, when brothers Joe and George Albert started hosting informal musical gatherings at their Pines fox hunting cabin, known in the area as the Homeplace. What started as locals playing old-time and country music at a rustic cabin deep in the woods has evolved into a more formal venue that features musicians from around New Jersey and beyond. Albert Music Hall has persisted as an island of an older, more rural, and isolated Pines in an industrialized, urbanized state. Through an examination of the language, material culture, and music of the venue, this paper considers questions and constructions of authenticity in relation to notions of what a true Pine Barrens musical experience might be for Albert Music Hall audiences and musicians. 

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