Lonely Ain’t Allowed- the Bluegrass Way
I just got in off ’the road.’ How my friends do it on a regular basis is beyond me. We didn’t have far to go at all, and we are tired. Still, we had a fine time of it.
John Hartford used to say bluegrass was America’s last small town. Everyone knows everyone, and you don’t have to lock your doors. I always did like John, and I think he was right.
We went to Lorraine Jordan’s Carolina Road festival this weekend, and John thoughts came to mind. Lorraine is a successful business woman, but she also maintains a regular band. They play most weekends. In spite of that schedule she shakes and howdys with folks like she’s got all day. It’s the bluegrass way.
We don’t allow lonely in bluegrass. If you know three chords and have a guitar and a capo you can join in. You’ll learn the unspoken etiquette. The inner circle will be red hot young’uns like Josh Goforth, or silky singers like Jerry Butler. Guys like Doc here have been around so long they get to hang in there too. (But I’d better not give up my day job. These guys are good.)
Even the beginners are encouraged to participate. If it is a real hot session that might play on the periphery till they get their feet wet, but they are more than welcome.
All that is required is to love the music. One fellow might be a mechanic, the next a teacher, then maybe a business person like Lorraine or an English Professor. The bluegrass crowd is so equal opportunity they even will let a stuffy old Doc in the mix.
Many times in my career people have asked how I have maintained my serenity. After all, in my line of work friends get cancer and folks die. I can take it to heart and I fret over all of them.
My answer has been the same for many years. First, the Good Lord hasn’t just been my copilot; He’s my Captain. It was not possible to stay out of trouble as a Doc all these years without a lot of prayers to come up with the right answers. I don’t believe it was just luck. Heck even Tom Bailey from med school days wasn’t that smart, and I know I’m not. (Wish I was, though)
Second I was blessed with a fine family. My wife and kids are the best, and have put up with a bizarre schedule over the years.
But today I want to make sure you know that my music has played a large role in keeping me sane. (I hear ya, who said you were, Doc?) The only way I know to thank all my friends in bluegrass is to keep on promoting them until they are least as big as NASCAR, and that is what I am gonna do.
I opened a FaceBook account this weekend, and I was astounded how many old music friends I was able to contact in 24 hours. Some I hadn’t picked a note with in a decade. We took up right where we’d left off just like you would an old college roommate.
So, if you have even a remote interest in traditional music, or just want to learn about a good group of people, I hope you’ll take a look at modern bluegrass. Tell ‘em old Doc Bibey sent ya. Most of them know me at least a little. C0me shake and howdy. In bluegrass lonely ain’t allowed.
Dr. Bbluegrass characters, bluegrass related blogs, favorite known bands, Writing
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