Cortez Grand Old Opry

Location of Interview
Collection Name

Vanishing Culture Project


The "Vanishing Culture Project" was a Florida Humanities Council grant to capture the oral histories of longtime residents of Cortez.   The project also produced several stations about the folkways of the fishermen of Cortez that are placed around the village and a mural painted on the side of a prominent fish house in the community.

Date of Interview

National Capital Contracting

Principal Investigator

Richard Culbreath is a member of the Culbreath family from Cortez, Florida, and is associated with the Cortez Grand Old Opry. His contributions to the local music scene are notable, and he plays an integral role in the preservation of regional musical traditions. Leo Galle, hailing from Biloxi, Mississippi, is a musician who collaborates with the Culbreath family. Ray Bach is from Myakka City, Florida, and also participates in the musical activities of the Cortez Grand Old Opry. Goose Culbreath is recognized as the last surviving member of the original Cortez Grand Old Opry and has significant historical importance within this musical community. 

Scope and Content Note
The interview documents a casual and collaborative rehearsal session among Richard Culbreath, Goose Culbreath, Leo Galle, Ray Bach, and other unnamed musicians. The discussion focuses on the preparation for a performance at the Cortez Grand Old Opry. Topics include the logistics of rehearsing without prior practice sessions, the spontaneous nature of their musical arrangements, and the use of various instruments, such as banjos and fiddles. The interview also delves into technical details of instrument modification, such as the use of railroad spikes to adjust string tension. There is a recurrent theme of balancing musical quality and showmanship within limited time frames during performances. The narrative captures the dynamics of their interactions, humor, and shared commitment to traditional music. Additionally, the interview provides insight into specific songs they plan to perform, their techniques, and personal anecdotes.

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