Jordan Wallace, Bluegrass and Books

Bluegrass and Books to Benefit RISE

“I bet you’ve never heard a drum part played on a banjo,” said Carly Burruss of The Sawnee Mountain Train Wreck before the band broke into a bluegrass cover of Kacey Musgrave’s Smoke.

Burruss, a student at Kennesaw State University, Jordan Wallace, a biology senior at Brenau University, and Wallace’s sister Patience Bryant, a local high school student, make up The Sawnee Mountain Train Wreck, a bluegrass group out of Cumming, Georgia, that brought out a crowd of students and community members to Brenau’s Tea Room for the Bluegrass and Books book drive.

The book drive, put on by the Phi Kappa Phi and Alpha Lambda Delta honor societies, benefits children in RISE, Real Interactive Summer Learning Experience. RISE, an immersive summer educational program, was developed by Brenau students as a way to fight summer learning loss in Gainesville school children through partnerships between Brenau University, the Gainesville Housing Authority, the Georgia Mountain Food Bank and others community organizations.

Wallace, a member of Phi Kappa Phi at Brenau, said she and the rest of The Sawnee Mountain Train Wreck wanted to bring out some more people and in turn raise more awareness about the book drive and RISE.

“We’ve been playing together for a year and I’ve been playing mandolin for a year and a few months,” Wallace joked. “My grandfather gave my sister a banjo and I decided to buy a mandolin and started playing with her and we formed the group a little bit later.”

The band played a variety of tunes including a few standards, I’m Working on a Building and Swing Low Sweet Chariot, and added a bluegrass twang to a few covers including Nancy Sinatra’s These Boots Are Made For Walkin’ and Kacey Musgrave’s Smoke.

Learn more about RISE at and The Sawnee Mountain Train Wreck at



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