Thursday, October 11, 2012

the SCOOP on Hillbilly Blood, TV show

update: so many people keep reading this post that I feel inclined to let you know about - MY MUSIC for sale, cheap, awesome, original! Please see the store page at this website.  You'll probably like most the album called Brother Wolf by Spencer Ray (that's me).  It's on amazon and iTunes and lots of free lower quality samples on youtube thanks!
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(re: season 1)

The scoop on America’s best TV show ever.  Ha!  Hillbilly Blood.  Well, the whole thing has been fun and well worth it but because of a variety of issues I am compelled to make a short statement on the show.  I, Spencer two dogs Bolejack, am an outdoor enthusiast and have been my whole life.  If you read my background page that’ll get you started but there’s plenty left out.  I’ve taught North Carolina history and my family goes a long way back to the organ builder at Old Salem, NC.  I was approached to do the show because of my expertise on survival and Appalachian history; living history.  These are skills I have both lived with and taught to others at my school in Cruso, NC.  Eugene is one of those fellows that just makes you feel like you're back in school - he's a living library on primitive technology, plants, tools, and has worked as everything from a cook to auto body builder and has mad skills that are creative as they are scientific. 

The TV show was called “Secrets of the Mountain People”, and as a documentary sort-of reality sort-of show, would both show Eugene and I demonstrating a variety of fixes, tips, and skills, as well as showcasing locals from ALL backgrounds doing what they do best – making do.  Appalachia is very diverse.  We have retirees, old family, hippies, transplants, rednecks, radicals, backwoods fellers and smellers, hillbillies, etc. The heart of the show was showing the grit and resourcefulness of Appalachian people, something I’m very proud of.  A secondary goal was to share great information with the growing community of preparedness minded individuals.  A lot of these skills and knowledge are dying out.  Younger generations may act proud of being from some cultural place, but the reality is they are often too busy to actually live by the skills their parents and grandparents had.  Much of the knowledge is being lost.  The show was a way to preserve this knowledge.

We filmed a variety of things which was challenging due to the constraints of 3D technology, conflicting direction, and very limited time.  It turned out suitable enough for the one hour show.
I was bothered by the cuts to a half hour episode which did away with much of the teaching of how things were made and done, but it’s wasn’t terrible.  The name change, however, was completely out of our control and seems to have more to do with gaining an audience than representing our people or the original intent of the show.  And it worked! In the end who cares what the name is, honestly. 

Eugene and I both hope you have enjoyed it enough to get a chuckle, and perhaps were inspired to get more outdoors yourself and see what you can do with both nature and your own hands.  Find out how people live without daily or weekly, or ever, trips to Wal Mart.  Ask questions about how you’d fare if gas was unavailable, food was scarce, or a sudden crisis robbed your wallet. 
If you have any questions regarding the show feel to contact myself or Eugene, we are easily discoverable on Facebook.  Check the links to the right of this post for our public channels, Windrider and Trapper Jack.   You can also email me from my website at www.lotswild.com
Thank you,
Spencer

ps - I'll be doing my thing at the nation's largest living history festival, Hart's Square, near Hickory NC later this month.  You won't be disappointed come check it out.

update 4/25/13 - come support Camp Hope in Cruso NC this weekend.  See post.

64 comments:

  1. Spencer, you and Eugene are my new TV boyfriends! I can't wait for new episodes. I myself have always had a fascination with Appalachia (never even been close though). Much love from Oregon!

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    1. woohoo!! :D
      thanks,
      if you head down this way give me a holler

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  2. Since I was born in Pineville, KY the show allows me to revisit the lifestyle my grandparents lived and reenforces something my mom would say throughout my childhood. "Make due with what you have Carolyn."

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    1. Correction..."Make Do with what you have Carolyn."

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  4. Loved the show. I live in Western Kentucky and people from Land Between the Rivers live simular ways before they were ran in the 60's. I've visted and love the Appalachian Mountains since reading the Firefox Book Series. Keep it up, Merry Christmas and have a Happy New Year.

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    1. Yes sir and a merry Christmas to you too

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    2. I went to school at Western Kentucky. Love that area!

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  5. North Carolina must be a lot more aggressive about tracking shine than Tennessee is. Nobody in East Tennessee is taping footprints or repelling over creeks to hide a still. Fits the stereotype but not the reality of the Appalachian life I know.

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    1. well, possession of the drink or even parts of a functional still are highly illegal - however, the purpose of having some of that information in the show is simply teaching some basic awareness of counter tracking. Don't think anyone with a real still is gonna put it on TV heh heh

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  6. Anyone can criticize - I dont see him doing anything though. Love your show. Keep up the good work and a very Merry Christmas to you and your family. Linda in Missouri

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    1. Thanks linda, we had a wonderful, blessed, Christmas.

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  7. Just discovered your show tonight. Reminds me of my ole wilkes county days, long ago. Things are differn't down here in georgia, but in my mind' I miss the old timey ways.

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    1. good deer huntin up in wilkes, got some good friends there. thanks for watching take care

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  8. Just discovered your show tonight. Reminds me of my ole wilkes county days, long ago. Things are differn't down here in georgia, but in my mind' I miss the old timey ways.

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  9. I am addicted to the show! You guys are amazing and inspiring!

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  10. Not saying you can't learn from the show, (tonight I learned about pine sap) but trying to market it as "reality" is a laugh. You guys are in manufactured situations to create drama and being followed around by a camera crew -- so if you ever were REALLY in trouble there is someone there to help.

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    1. Eugene and I have been enough real trouble to laugh at these 'situations'. Glad you learned about pine sap. Saved my foot once....

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  11. Proud of you two! Hope in future seasons you take some field trips to other Appalachian states (PA) And yes, Im both proud and too busy, but never too busy to appreciate resourceful, kind, and skillful mountain men. Thank you!

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  12. Just started watching your show today and I really enjoy it. I have family in the mountains of West Central Pennsylvania that have lived off the land for many years. I myself love going up there as I have a camp and really enjoy getting away from the life for a while! I think some of the skills of living off the land are fading away, but I'm looking forward to taking my sons in the woods and teaching them someday what my family taught me. My uncles used to make their own bows, knives and other instruments and they shoot really well! Take care!

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  13. Put ur name up anonymous...i enjoy the show. Nevermind the chickensh#! anonymous comments. Any show promoting hard work and resourcefulness while trying to educate is worthwhile. Keep it up fellas.

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  14. They don't have a southern Appalachian accent. What was that mess about "Popcorn Holler". Popcorn lived on the TN side of the mountain.

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    1. sometimes accents are voluntary, and popcorns holler was a just a fun thang, relax and take a breath

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  15. Great show. Being of Cajun heritage from the bayous of Louisiana it is a pleasure to see the similarities and differences that our cultures have endured over time. Thanks for a great and entertaining show. Keep up the good work

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  16. Truth is, this "reality show" and shows like it are a stark intellectual commentary on the average America TV viewer. Producers apparently have come to a consensus about the level I.Q. of your typical American viewer as they push more and more SCRIPTED REALITY SHOWS. In short they push shows like this because they think they can fool the people that would usually be attracted to it. From Bear Grills to Duck Dynasty these shows should come off as an insult to any red blooded American.

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    1. I haven't had a tv in almost 20 years, I think overall it's a destructive distracting and wasteful thing. However, if you knew the time constraints/budgets/limitations of any tv production you'd understand why they can't just follow someone around for weeks and pick out the coolest stuff but have to take a grain of truth and build onto it. Sure reality tv isn't reality haha, but don't get upset over it - ain't no better than the nightly news LOL which people think is reality too

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  17. Cont....
    Now to be fair these two are very resourceful and hard working men who have learned to live off the land and as our Country buys it's own Treasuries to build up a massive debt it will never pay off and our economy keeps sliding towards the inevitable as irresponsible and uneducated voters make the choice to re-elect a President who's more intent on damaging the economy as he is in building it up, guys like these will be prepared when the inevitable collapse of the US dollar drives the whole of the population of America into the 18th Century.

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    1. much appreciated, yeah, I think it's a bummer people are learning old skills out of fear that our country won't survive as a modern civilization. For some us, well, we just enjoy it. It's become a fad of late...

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  18. Hey Guys,
    Mike from Davie, FL.
    Like any show, in order to take advantage of air time so as not to waste the time of your viewers / network, I would expect some level of planning/scripting. Personally, I enjoyed all six shows I've seen so far. Keep 'em comin'. Educating we city-folk about the basics of nature and survival is beyond valuable. I'm the wanna-be. Happy New Year.

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  19. love your show ! tell your producers not everyone wants to chuckle at hillbilly's !!! i'm genuinely interested in the history , why things are done and how they are made . for example the walnut press - if this show is ment to preserve some history and skill of the mountain folk , show the process of your skill - why ginseng is an important herb and how it is being overcollected from the forest . your local flavor and mountain folk are great . love to see the interaction . you have the kindest manner with the old folks . you may be from the hills but you guys have more class than the city slickers . will be watching as long as you are on the air. please air some shows about medicinalmuases of things on the mountain too.

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    1. I would really like to have more medicine making but they keep filming us in the winter haha, a little tougher but not impossible. let's see where it goes. thanks for watching friend

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  20. i would approach PBS about doing a documentary series - or the discovery network - apparantly some people do not appreciate all that you have to offer . i've always told my daughters there are smart people out there but a smart hillbilly can out wit even the smartest .

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    1. a real documentary would be a stellar thing, be sure to check out Eugene and I's youtube channels. Both of us have been teaching the real stuff for many many years. His channel name is trapperjacksurvival and mine is windrider707
      thanks for watching

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  21. My twelve year old son and I just discovered the show and really enjoyed it. I think most intelligent viewers are perceptive enough to realize the limitations of a "reality" show. I appreciate the effort in trying to get people outside and preserve some endangered skills. You got my son Googling pine sap and scraping our white pines.
    PS Love the Molon Labe sticker on the truck!

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  22. Love the show. If u dont like it, turn it off! I know what, have the naysayers spend a week with spencer/eugene and tape it. We have to watch it on comedy central because we would laugh our ass off...keep doing ur thing guys

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  23. Love the show, was wondering how I could purchase one of your knives for my hubby.

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    1. please look at the top of this page, there is a link for the STORE. There you can find more information. Also a private email works well. All that info is at the contact page, above. Thank you. Enjoy taking a look around the website!

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  24. Just ran across your show and watched one, my husband and I loved it! We have set our cable box to record them, the kids will love it, too. We try to "live off the land" here in Apex, but don't have the miles and miles of wilderness to play in that you do! I went to school at ASU - that part of NC is such a beautiful place - and very cold :) Keep up the good work, you are truly providing kids with options other than texting and computer games - good for you!

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    1. thanks Laura. I went to ASU for a couple years before moving into the woods and then finishing up at UNCA to save money, be near home. I love those high peaks up near Boone too and have spent a lot of time out in those hills. Here's to less video games!

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  25. You don't have to be from a certain area to be a valued citizen of that community. We all can appreciate the value of making a difference in someone's life. Spencer and Eugene are doing this. We must pull together for common man and eventually each individual will have a different skill set to attribute to surviving together. I appreciate the show and also the process that it invokes to think beyond what we are told or showed by the media or common society. Thank you brothers Happy New Year

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    1. yes sir thank you, happy new year also.

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  26. In episode 6 why didn't you push start your truck? It looked like a stick to me. Just wondering?

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    1. no problem, I guess they didn't show the hill behind us it was way up steep and about 30 feet until the main road, logs in the ground blocked forward motion -

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  27. I just caught a few episodes this morning. Loved the show! As a city boy from Philly now in SoCal, I found it educational and entertaining. It's amazing how far one can get with an appreciative-common sensical-respectful approach to life, land and fellow man! Well done. I hope their planning to order more episodes.

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  28. Great show!! My wife and I love watching from down in Houston, TX. It seems to me that it may be a little better to live in a smaller community than a large city like Houston..people will just pass you by if your in need here. Hope to see more episodes in the future. Take care and be safe!!

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  29. I saw the title of the show and thought it would be something to laugh at as if it would practically be mocking itself. Then I watched an episode. I was surprised and when I heard Spencer speak, I knew immediately this was a well-educated person. Whether things are staged or scripted is completely irrelevant...the point of the show is clear and concise. I really enjoy it (even if it isn't what I was expecting). Thanks!

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  30. Like the show but I'm dissappointed it's not the real deal. I was actually feeling bad for both of you. I was going to come by and help you out the next time I came to my property in Bethel. Well, Happy New Year!

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    1. well, Eugene and I have lived for so long in so many tough situations similar and much worse than anything the show portrays so it's all based on a grain of reality - they just have to build things up a bit, that's the nature of tv I guess. I do live here, lose chickens, split wood, bowhunt, make knives, and all that. The real situations are far too dangerous to and unpredictable to film, so they build a show around a lot of what we have done. Holler at me when you are here we'll get some coffee. I'll always take a little help on the farm!

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  31. I'm enjoying the show. It is what it is. When I lived and worked in Alaska I had a TV crew with me to film. Mostly for my job, but then also for some "trucking" stuff, which you all can guess what that is. It's not so much scripted, but it is certainly directed for the story telling medium.

    I grew up seeing much of what these two guys are doing, and heard stories from my own dad who grew up dirt poor. Moving to Fairbanks you would see much of this "Mountain Man" Mentality everywhere you go... well up until the 2008 Election, something then changed and "Politics", not civility and hospitality took over.

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    1. Yeah man you got it, the strange thing to get used to is how people can't seem to differentiate between real and story. Haha it's funny to me, does make me a little worried for my country as a whole, but you're right. We do carve bows and hunt and make and fix and shoot and split and all that, but the tv world is a strange one. Just crossing a creek has to be some big deal heh heh heh take care friend

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  32. more feedback, Spencer/Chenzen:
    I don't watch TV, but I DO "watch" this Monster (WWW)... so by hook 'n' crook I did see a couple of the TV episodes, and thought - I hope you guys are pulling down Some Money for this?! And since it's in the "genre" of Reality TV, I guess, I'm a little surprised that you didn't get LOTSWILD plugged in there - but it wouldn't fit the "narrative" of hillbilly would it?
    I thought the gemstones episode was particularly good (just singling it out).

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    1. I think someone should have a public service announcment and explain that reality tv is a genre or medium of presentation. I didn't want LOTSWILD in there because we are the absolute authentic deal in every way, from traditional warrior training to survival and mountain living skills. The show does a huge job in getting the word out anyway, and we make a little money but probably not what you think hahaha. Maybe I can get a gig on real housewives of atlanta or something LOL. The gem show was cool. Thanks for checking them out

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  33. I like the show just don't like the lies. You implied that you were able to trap a deer with your tree rig. But what you didn't edit out is that when you were removing the hide from the deer you didn't expect the viewers to see the hole going through the the deer's cape and the wound through the deer's back. If your going to talk about living off the land. Don't lie to the viewers. I know it is just the producers trying to milk up the story! But stay to your roots as a hard working honest man from North Carolina!

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    1. Well I appreciate what kindness you did offer, but I am gonna have to reply with a couple things. I wish you would have left your name you sound like a cool fella, or miss. I didn't imply anything, if the armchair survivalists of the internet aren't smart enough to notice (I'm not calling you one) that there are two different deer; one snare, one skinned, that's not my fault. I hate the fabrications that TV makes, but I never said anything about that deer. By the way Jeremiah Johnson didn't kill a Grizz, Moonshiners don't break any laws, Pawn Stars is a stage, Storage Wars is a setup, Santa Claus aint real and there are no Ewoks. Or Darth Vader. And Barack Obama's real name is Barry Soetoro. TV is a lie if what you are looking for is every scene and angle to be un modified reality, get used to it and if you watch it then you are submitting to the entertainment value not its authenticity.

      Also consider that I teach kids how to follow North Carolina game laws as well as federal conservation. I take this seriously and want anyone with any woods sense to know that we didn't use an illegal deer snare. It just so happens to make survivalist fans feel important to gripe about it all over the internet.

      After you've called up every other 'reality' show and complained about lying, then shoot me an email and let me know how you feel. Until then relax a little. Go outside, and marvel at just how in the HECK we came up with our beautiful deer in 48 hours notice in a mountain chain where most of the locals LEAVE and go to Georgia to hunt because the game is scarce and smart. I'll chat anytime, follow contact page and shoot an email. Thanks.

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    1. I hope you both are safe and dry. I looked your show up and what do you know ... I found it! Good luck in your endeavors and I hope yall get picked up by a major network. Eat lots of peppermint candy canes.... ;-)

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    2. Joanna is our HEROINE! Two days of flooding and broke down truck in a part of Marshall I didn't know well, late, day before season two shoot. Hahaha, I always tell folks the real people and real situations are cooler than the camera could ever show. Thanks SO MUCH!

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  35. I enjoy your show. You give a lot of useful tips about making do with what you have. You kind of inspired me to get out there and spit some wood with my father's old axe. Saved some money on gas by keeping the house warm from my wood stove. We're in a deep freeze right now in southern NJ and every bit of wood helps. Also, did your buddy actually find that stone and sell it? Great show - good luck to you and yours. Stay warm.

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