Archive for March 2010

Table Tennis

March 31, 2010

        The older one was tall and had long arms.  The younger boy was quicker, but at age eight was no match for a sixteen year old.  The older one won every match until he left for college, got in with an even faster crowd of players there and was more dominant than ever.

        The older one left for medical school and had no time to play.  Years went by.  The younger boy left for college and joined a table tennis club.

        It was after Christmas dinner when the young one asked.  “Hey, man, we ought to play some pong.”

        “Hm.  We still got a table?”

        The mother answered.  “Yes, I saw it in the closet downstairs just the other day.”

        “Great,” the older one relied.  “Let’s go get it out.”

        They went to the basement and warmed up.  The older one noticed his shots were not quite as quick, or as accurate, but he was still young and had retained most of his skill.  They hit through a few rallies, and the game began.

        The young one prevailed, 21 to 18.  He placed his paddle on the table and took off in a run.  Mama suppressed a laugh.  She loved both of them, and showed no favoritism. “We’re never gonna play again,” the young one shouted and laughed as he bounded up the steps to his room. 

        For years they didn’t.  One day the younger one called.  He had a Sunday School party scheduled at his home.  The Preacher had challenged him to get up a doubles match.

        “Can you still play?” he asked the older boy.

        “Sure.”

        “We better practice,” he said.  “Preacher played semi-pro baseball.”

        “What position?”

        “Pitcher.”

        “Uh, oh.”  Pitchers only play in a rotation. They play other games on their days off, which is why they are often dangerous at golf  or table tennis.

         They practiced up.  Preacher was tough, but his Deacon partner was not quite as good.  The boys squeaked by.

         They began to think they were good.  They could beat anyone in town. They got invited to an exhibition in Raleigh.  “How good could they be?” the older one asked.  “They are only ranked in the top hundred in the U.S.” 

         “I dunno,” the young one said.  “They are sponsored by Butterfly.  I bet they can play.”

        “Maybe they’ll beat us but they’ll know they’ve been in a game.  We can whup anybody in Harvey County.”

        “Yep.  We’ll at least make ‘em work at it.”

        It was total humiliation.  They didn’t break a sweat.  Those guys hit serves we couldn’t see; much less hit. 

        It was a long ride home.  The young one spoke up.  “How’s your golf game, brother?”

        “Not bad.  I’m ‘bout too old for pong.”

        Decades went by.  The old one called his younger brother.  “We need to play some ping-pong.”

        “You been practicing?”

        “No man, I swear I haven’t.  Just want to work off some gut.  Let’s donate a table to the Y and hit a few.”

        “Is that the truth?”

        “Yes.”

        “No hustle?“

        “Swear to Mama.”

        “Okay.”                  

        The first session was sluggish but the second was better.  “”It’s this new ball,” the older one complained.  “It’s too big. At 40 mm it don’t have the same zip.”

        “Yep,” The younger one replied.  His slam just missed the edge of the table.  “It takes some of the speed out of the game, but I guess we better play by the new rules.”

        “Yeah man, it’s that durn new ball. That’s it for sure. 

        They promised to just hit for a month, then the games begin.  No big money involved; loser buys supper and winner leaves the tip.  The older boy still has longer arms, and now has better vision thanks to his cataract surgery but the younger one is quicker in spite of a touch of arthritis.

        My money’s on the old guy.

Dr. B

A Tip for the Doctor

March 29, 2010

        I’ve thought  a lot lately about favorite patients who have since passed on.

       I had one old man who was ill with cancer and a variety of chronic illnesses. His eyes were as gray as what little hair he had, and his hands were so gnarled up with arthritis they were turned near side ways. He had Parkinson’s disease and shuffled along with a cane. His dusky color alone was enough to convince me he was dying.

        One day after our visit he began to reach in his pocket. “Hold on Doc, I’ve got something for you.”  His hand trembled and it took him a minute, but he finally dug out a ten-dollar bill. He stretched out his hand to offer it to me.

        “Oh, no my friend, you pay up front. I don’t handle the money end of this thing.”

       “This ain’t your pay, it’s a tip.”

        “A tip? Man, we don’t allow tips.  Honest to goodness, it might even be against the law.”

       “Against whose law?”

        “The government.”

         “Ain’t none of them come down here to help me.”

        “No man, I can’t, really.”  I gently pushed his hand away.

       “Yeah you can.   The government don’t pay you enough anyway. The way I see it, I’m old and hard to take care of . I want you to see me coming and know I’m gonna make your day better. I don’t want you to forget me.” 

       I gave in, but I put a qualifier on it. I put the bill in a special place in my wallet and never spent it on myself. The first person or cause I ran into after I received the tip who was down and out for the moment became the beneficiary. I would use the money to make their day better. Sometimes it was a little gift for my wife. I took a few people to lunch; sometimes I dropped it in the collection plate or gave it to a good cause.

        Come to think of it I never reported it as income or a charitable contribution either one. I’m certain the government wouldn’t understand, so we just left it under the table.

        Rest in peace my old friend, you accomplished your goal. I never forgot you.

Dr. B

A ‘Yattch’ (a Yacht) A Pretty Girl, and a Million Dollars.” (Hold on to Hope)

March 26, 2010

        I got sidelined today with a stomach bug that’s been going around. Don’t worry; it’s already on the mend. I did manage to get in a half day at work, catch up on the paper work, and see a few folks sicker than me. Then it was on to the house.

        I don’t like being sick any more than the next guy, but I guess if a man never was sick he wouldn’t know what is means to be well. For a doc it is a good time to reflect on the plight of your patients.  Some of them are sick with terminal illness, and they feel bad every day.  Most of them handle it with a quiet dignity you can’t help but admire.

        I recall one old fellow who spent many of his last days in the hospital.  (This was before Hospice).  When I made rounds, I’d usually close with the question, “Is there anything else you need?”

        This man was frail, and all alone; his wife long since deceased.  He’d struggle to pull himself up in the bed and sit up a bit. “Yeah Doc, if you would, I’d like a ‘yattch,’ (a yacht) a pretty girl, and a million dollars.”        

        I’d reply, “I’m afraid I ain’t got that.”

         He’d look up, smile, and say, “Okay. You come back tomorrow anyway,” then curl up under the sheets.

        I’d straighten up his covers and say, “Well, I tell you brother, as soon as come across all that, I’m gonna let you know.”

        Really all I had to offer the man was morphine and kind words, but you just can’t take dreams away from anyone. Every day till he died I think he held out hope tomorrow would be a better day. I admire that simple grace.

        I’ve got the pretty girl, but the yattch and the million bucks are a ways off. Maybe tomorrow, who knows?

Dr. B

Thy Burdens are Greater than Mine

March 24, 2010

        The life of a country doctor is different.  There’s not a whit of glamour in what I do.  When you don’t wear a tie because it can get stuck in the wrong place as you try to screen a 350 pound human being for colon cancer and worry the distraction might cause you to miss a case; well you might be a country doctor. After near three decades in that routine when some fool on television in a suit pontificates about his expertise in primary care health care delivery it amuses me. 

        But overall, I just don’t see I have any real burdens, at least compared to my people.  When you see someone who has measured the distance from their ear lobes to the ground and is concerned they are three millimeters whop-sided it makes you realize people have all kinds of troubles. Many of them can’t be fixed by pills.  My broad shoulders are a bit stooped these days from years of burdens, but I carry on. In my prayers that’s what I am told to do.

        I saw a lady like that the other day. I had to take a break for a minute and play my office guitar. The song was “Thy Burden are Greater than Mine.” Her burdens were greater than mine for sure.  All I could do was listen and hope it helped a little.

Dr. B

No Announcements Yet and a Good Cause

March 22, 2010

        No announcements yet, but the team is at work on the graphic art for the book cover.  It won’t be long.

        I guess you might wonder why an old doctor would be so driven to tell this story. I suppose the main reason is that I gave my word to Indie. A promise is a promise.

        A risk management man told me my radar for trouble detection and how to avoid it was as good as anyone he’d even known. I learned a lot of it from Indie, and felt obligated to pass it on.

         Don’t worry.  It ain’t the end. I’m not a horse headed for the barn, but one pawing at the starting gate. I am gonna continue my quest to help people as a doc, but part of me is gonna do it by writing.  The “Mandolin Case” is only the start. They can’t make me go away.

        I’m gonna help people with my music too. Tonight I’m playing to raise awareness for the Abuse Prevention Council.  I am sad to tell you that even in wonderful Harvey County we have these problems.  If don’t know if I can stop some of that with a song, but I’m sure gonna try.

        Tell you what. Wherever you live, look up the folks who support these ladies and give a couple bucks to the cause. They often live in desperate circumstances and need our help to escape to a better life; one of grace and dignity every human being deserves. 

        Tell ‘em some crazy mandolin picking country doctor sent you. If all us good folks stick together we might keep the bad guys at bay yet.

Dr. B

Aim Towards the Trouble And Fade Away

March 20, 2010

       They say golf has lessons for life.  If nothing else, it is a game where an old guy can hang with a young one if he has enough sense to keep his head on straight.

        We have one hole at River Run that looks straight forward. It isn’t.  You almost can’t hit it far enough right to get out-of-bounds. If you are in by even a foot, the slope will send the ball back towards the fairway.

        There’s only one problem.  If you hit a draw (right to left shot) and over-cook it even a little it will keep going left.  Eight times out of ten the ball will wind up in a deep gully on the left side of the fairway.

        Instead hit a power fade. (left to right)  It is a shot I learned from Martin Taylor. You take dead aim at the hazard and hit towards it. Just as the gully thinks it has lured you in, your ball will take a gentle turn to the right, hit in the fairway, and stop after a couple bounces.  It won’t run away with you ’cause it will be buffered by the same slope that would have led your hook to trouble. (As Lee Trevino once said, you can talk to a fade but a hook won’t listen.)

       I tell you this not to write about golf, but for two reasons. One is to say that golf is indeed much like life. You have to use your brain to negotiate your way around trouble. The other is so when the non-golfer reads “The Mandolin Case” they will understand some passages that might go right by the reader who has never read my blog.  If you’ve been loyal enough to read all my stuff before the book comes out, you deserve a leg up on the others. 

        Yep, golf does reflect life. When trouble comes your way, you have to look it right in the eye and stare it down. Then, like a matador with a cape take a step to the right just at the last moment. The bad guys will crash almost every time.

        At the same time, only let them get a glimpse. Don’t hit close enough for ‘em to read the “Titelist” as it goes by. I hit a Martin Taylor fade the other day and wound up center cut. I walked by the gully; tipped my hat, smiled and bid it a good day.

       I’ll have to dodge that gully again and I wasn’t gonna piss it off too bad. No use cussing it if you can dodge it. 

        Oh, I almost forgot to tell you how to hit the shot.  Take your grip and down look at it on the club.  If more than 2 1/2 knuckles show on your left hand, turn it to the left every so slightly.  (Remember golf is like life; backwards. Turn your left hand to the left to hit the ball right, right?) Then set up with your feet pointed left of the sprinkler line.

        Golf’s much like dancing. Think rhythm, as is Lawrence Welk. (A one and a two and a…)  Then all you gotta do is swing along the line of your toes and imagine tossing a bucket of water out to the right and not back over your shoulder. 

        Trust me, the ball will curve from left to right.  Just don’t double cross it. That’s a no-no. That’ll put you deep in the gully and they’ll get you for that every time.

Dr. B

A House Call With Dr. M and Marley

March 17, 2010

        Years ago I had a favorite old patient who was confined to home. She had several medical problems that were irreversible, at least from a scientific perspective, and she didn’t want to leave home for any of her treatment.  (I can’t tell you the details, but she was correct in this assessment.)

        About  a year before she died she became comatose. I went out to the house, and considered every angle imaginable.  I couldn’t think of thing else to do.  It was lonely. Everyone looked to me for an answer.  I had none.

        Finally I said, “Let’s call Dr. M.  Maybe he can think of something.” Dr. M was one of my heros.  He was smart, but he also was kind, and he cared. He was this patient’s doctor for years, and had called me in when he retired.

        “Doc.  This is Tommy.” I explained the clinical circumstances. “Man, I can’t think of anything else to do.  I need someone with more gray hair than me, brother.”

        He came right out.  Doc looked over the situation for a while, and then sat down in a chair in the den.  Everyone gathered around, me included.  “Folks, he said. “I’ve heard out Dr. B and I’ve checked her out. I agree with him. There is nothing more we can do. We’re just gonna have to pray for a miracle.”

        And that is what we did.

        Two days later, the family called.  “Dr. B we have our miracle.” I hopped in the car and dashed out there.  Sure enough a patient who had been stone cold irreversibly comatose was her old self.

        “Good Lord have mercy Marley, we were worried sick.  How the heck did ya do it?

       She smiled.  “Son, you worry too much.  We’re all gonna meet our maker.  This was just a dress rehearsal so all you children could be ready when the real day comes. I don’t want you to take it hard when I’m gone; you’ve done all you can do.”

        One day it was no dress rehearsal.  There were no more miracles. She passed on. There were tears, but there also was tranquility.  She taught us to be ready. 

        It was fitting these two were patient and doctor together, ’cause they were two of the very best of these parts.

        Dr. M just died.  I cried.  He finally ran out of miracles. I wish I coulda known of some miracle for him. 

        He and Marley taught me so much. From them I learned we should do our best, but have tranquility, ’cause it truth it is all in God’s hands. 

        Still though I gotta admit the human in me wishes I was powerful enough to know of one more miracle for Dr. M, and Marley too.  I guess God decided it was time for them to rest and all I can do is accept it.

         Maybe my miracle for the day is that Dr. M and Marley taught me to understand all that. I’ll miss ‘em both, but I’ll never forget their lessons.

Dr. B

An Interview with My Editor Dorrie

March 15, 2010

        I thought it might be fun for my readers to get some insight into the working relationship of an author (me) and an editor.  The idea came from the writer’s conference I went to in Chattanooga. 

        I’ll never forget Robert Morgan, the author of “Boone” on stage with his editor, Shannon Ravenel. Morgan struck me as a quiet, intellectual man. (I’m more akin to the Rodney Dangerfield of literature) Ms. Ravenel knew how to coax the best out of him. While he was the author, even a scholar like Morgan needed a collaborative effort and a strong writer/editor relationship to get the project to press.

        I figured if he needed help, I knew I was gonna need a lot. I prayed I’d find some tough, honest, but fair editor to polish my project to publishable form.  I found her; and her name was Dorrie.  Here’s our brief interview. 

Bibey: Talk to me about voice. When you finished my edit, it still seemed like “me.”
 
Dorrie: Pretty much the point of what an editor does, really­ to make the book work without taking anything away from the author, to make it work with who you are.
 
To me, “voice” is the author’s ability to show a good story that’s been told thousands of times, but in a different way, his own way. You’ve written a legal thriller with the slow and comfortable rhythms of a small Southern town and county. That voice is also the one you use with your patients and with your family and with your bluegrass bands. Your voice is as much a part of you as your eyes being blue. (Author’s note: one is green)
 
There are authors who can change up their voices, but it’s not common, any more than it’s common that a gospel singer can comfortably sing heavy metal, or a quarterback can throw with his left hand as accurately as with the right.
 
Bibey: I am a “Southern” writer. What do you like or dislike about editing Southern fiction?
 
Dorrie: You’re not a “Southern” writer, really. You happen to be a writer who was born and raised in the South and you sound like it. Your voice has Southern overtones, phrases, slant. I like it, but I also like science fiction from British or Aussie or Scottish writers who put their own sound to their works. I don’t think I like or dislike any sound; I just work with what presents itself.
 
Bibey: I was impressed that while you were unfamiliar with my subject (doctoring, malpractice suits, bluegrass music) you were still able to get inside my head and understand it. How do you do that?
 
Dorrie: It isn’t so much getting into your head, though I like it that you think that’s what it is, it’s that I can see what’s missing in the story, and ask you to fill it in, in your voice. I’m only bringing out of you what you forgot to put in . . . and every author knows 100x more about his story than I ever will. I just get you to use that knowledge where it does the most good.
 
The question here might be: How do I know what’s missing in a story? Truthful answer? I haven’t a clue.

I still don’t know much about bluegrass music, by the way. [I do know more about the Ancient Tones, though.] Your story isn’t about bluegrass, or even how medical malpractice court cases work; it’s about friendship and loyalty.
 
Bibey: My story is essentially a legal suspense story. What other types of work do you edit?
 
Dorrie: I work on all genres. Even do trade non-fiction. There is only one genre I stay away from: Pure romance. And I won’t touch sub-genres that include sadistic brutality, especially involving children, nor do I take on works that are pro-Islam. 

Bibey: Give me a sense of what different types of editing a writer needs. For me you were a “voice editor,” not a line editor. Also, my grammar wasn’t too bad, but punctuation…..  Lawd have mercy.

Dorrie: Oh, that really depends on the book, and every book is different. I offer two services: manuscript evaluation, and full copy-editing. I don’t do any hands-on editing with the eval; I just point out what I think the book needs to make it better. I do that, and everything else that I think a book needs, in a full copyedit job. Some books require a lot of help; I just sail through others.
 
Just so you know, your grammar and punctuation weren’t major difficulties, so don’t be worrying any more about your mama being disappointed in you. Yes, I had to fix a lot of it, but that’s normal. This may not mean much to you in scale parlance, but I’d rate your book as just two notches below “sail through.”  (Author’s note: We’re sailing now!)
 
Bibey: I went through a number of edits with friends, family, and a creative writing teacher before I brought the ms to you. What level of development do you want a ms to be at before you get it?
 
Dorrie: At whatever level the author is ready to pay me to work on it, frankly. I don’t take all jobs that come to me, only those I see potential in. I think it’s a ripoff to take money from people who simply can’t write. I’m not totally altruistic, though, for sure ­I can only take on about 15 books a year; if I’m working and working and working with one troublesome one that will never be right, I can’t take on the sail-throughs that might come my way.
 
Bibey: How long is your turnaround?
 
Dorrie: Again, that depends on the book. I do have specific time frames in my contract, but sometimes the author and I determine we’ve got to tweak the timing a bit (it’s always with the author’s agreement), and sometimes I come in way under the time frame. I can guarantee, though, that I don’t do instant edits. Just like the writing process, editing is a creative endeavor and it shouldn’t be hurried.
 
Bibey: This one starts with a story. A hot-shot rock n’ roll guitar man came through town to do a clinic. He asked for a volunteer among the locals to sit in. The guy we sent up can hold his own with anyone, a fact that was soon apparent.
        The hot-shot guy said, “Hey, man, you’re pretty good. What style of music do you usually play?”
        Our buddy replied, “Whatever pays.”
        It was as true an answer from a musician in two words as I’ve ever heard. Give my readers some notion of the costs involved in an edit.

Dorrie: I’ve no limits on the size of a job, but most authors limit themselves because of the cost. I charge by the word, and I determine that per-word cost based on the book itself. How much work do I see in it? How long do I think it will take me to do the first read and first edit? Will I mostly be doing punctuation, or am I going to be doing a whole lot of fact-checking? Am I going to be doing a lot of chapter rearranging, or does the book have the feel of an author who understands flow?

Author’s note: I believe Dorrie would say she liked the flow of ‘The Mandolin Case.” It wasn’t bad when I sent it to her, but she added just the right touches to turn it to honey. I’m a rough old country boy, and I believed from the start I needed a female editor to give it at least a touch of sophistication. )

Dorrie: Editing can get pretty pricey. The author is the only one who can determine if the cost is worth it.

        Well folks, Dorrie’s a good’un.  I am convinced without my agent and editor Dorrie my book would have never made it to print.  I believe we should always write the truth. The truth is I’m just a country doctor, and I needed a lot of help.

        But when the Ancient Tones whistle through the night air and the moon is full, I might just jump in a phone booth and come out as an artist. If you have the right people around you dreams can come true.

       Thanks Dorrie. Y’all look her up if you’re trying to get by the last barrier to publication. Dorrie’s a pro.

http://www.obrienediting.com/default.aspx

Dr. B

Don’t Cut Down No Trees

March 13, 2010

        This story was told to me by Moose Dooley. I was out-of-town for this gig, but Moose was there.

        The boys got hired to play one of your standard back-yard BBQ gigs at a local farm owned by a pathologist. The man was brilliant. I am always drawn to people like that. Sometimes I’d see him in the hospital cafeteria, seated in a corner all alone with his coffee and a journal. People were almost scared of him, and didn’t know how to talk to him. My guess is he was so far off the curve as a kid it was a lonely childhood.

        I’d go up and ask him about my patient’s right ovary from a hysterectomy three years ago. He’d brighten right up. The man would take off his glasses, wave his hands around in the air and get all animated. He would go through the old slides in fabulous detail from memory alone. His problem in life was few people wanted to listen, and almost no one understood his genius and passion. I did, and I love people like that.  They are so driven about what they do most folks don’t get them.

        Some people didn’t like him.  He and I got along fine. The reason we were and still are friends is that I understood him.  He could not understand any human being who didn’t pursue excellence in what they do. I agree.

        So, back to the gig at the farm.  The man had a long black beard and bushy eyebrows that bounced up and down as he spoke.  He looked a bit reclusive. The lights in the house were low. He said except for microscopes the light hurt his eyes and he preferred dark surroundings. His little family was most pleasant, but they also all dressed in black.

        He greeted Moose and the boys warmly. “Boys,” he said in a low voice. “I want you to have good time. Drink all the beer you want, eat my food, enjoy the barbecue, and play as long as you like.”  He handed Moose a check for the event.  “Here is your pay. Do anything you like while you are here but….” He took off his glasses and his lowered his voice to a whisper. “But whatever you do don’t cut down no trees.”

        Moose is an ex-All State football player and as tough a man as I know. There is not a deferential bone in his body. He looked that little book-ish man right in the eye and said, “Yes, sir.”

        The other boys had to ask.  “We ain’t gonna cut down no trees. What was that all about?”

        Moose said, “Boys, all I can tell you is that every man has some cage you don’t want to rattle. That man is brilliant. Doc said almost no one understands him. If a man like that says not to cut his trees, I’d take it for what it is and not go there.”

       They shrugged their shoulders and got out their instruments. “Whatever you say, Moose. Lets play.”

        We all have our trees, I guess. Mine is my patients.  If my long-term patient has a wierd dull flank pain that keeps him up at night and a premonition he has something bad, and you are an insurance cat who wants to deny him a CT to save a few bucks, all I can tell you is you’d best move aside. I’m a nice man, but don’t cut down my trees. I will prevail over you or die trying and you can count on it.

Dr. B

In The WNCW Studio With Balsam Range

March 11, 2010

        Mountain Home records has it going on.  This little label is setting it in fire North Carolina. The have two of my favorites bluegrass bands on their roster, Darin and Brooke Aldridge and Balsam Range.

        It is clear to me the label is progressive and looking for the young bans who refuse to put out cookie cutter art.  I spend an afternoon in the WNCW studio with Balsam Range. Like other fine modern bluegrass bands, they respect the tradition, but are innovative and keep pushing forward. When you listen to their music, you’ll hear plenty of bluegrass, but also country, blues and jazz.

        When I was a kid our world was segregated, but I used to love to watch the African-American spirituals on Sunday morning television. The picture quality was poor; an old grainy black and white black and white, but it didn’t diminish the soul of the music one bit. These guys even have some of that kind of sound too.  They didn’t wear those cool old robes though.

        My wife and I joined them for a sound check. Dennis Jones, the bluegrass voice of the airways in the Carolinas (and the world via Internet stream) gave them their final instructions.  Once on the air it didn’t take long for the boys to break out of the mold. 

        “Let’s see. It’s been a while since you guys have been here. When was your last visit to the studio?”

        Marc Pruett: “1947.” 

        Everyone laughed and it was on.  If you go see Balsam Range plan on a good time.  They are gonna have fun whether you like it or not. 

        Dennis Jones is a masterful engineer. He sat at this huge console that has about 4,000 knobs and buttons, only 1,000 of which I knew what to do with.  He could see the little boy in me dying to play and called me over.

        “Put on these headphones, Doc.”

        “Thanks. Man what a rich sound.”

        “The kids call it ‘pfat’ nowadays, Doc.”

        “Hey, what does this knob do?”

        He smiled.  “It controls the volume in your mix.”

        I eyed the board.  Fascinating to an old doc. “How ’bout this one?”

        “I wouldn’t mess with the other ones, Doc. They can shock you if you don’t know which ones to twist.”  He broke into a wide grin.

        “Yes sir.”

        Man could he dial you in. Most bands I have played in work off the economy mix. We all hear the same thing in our ear monitor, and have to compromise a bit to make everyone happy.  The WNCW Studio B set-up allowed each player to ask for more or less of each component until the mix suited them.  I know for a fact this is a band that gets along, ’cause every one of ‘em asked for more banjo!

        They mentioned on air Balsam Range will be at the Darin and Brooke Aldridge festival on April 10.  There will be some very traditional bluegrass bands like J.D. Crowe, but also a fine blues band, the Harris Brothers. Darin and Brooke are the host band. They are bluegrass, but also lean towards modern acoustic country and gospel.  This festival is a good introduction for folks not familiar with our music as it offers variety, the highest quality, and a very reasonable price. It is a festival that needs to be on every southern bucket list.

        Balsam Range is not afraid to be different.  If you have a Romanian folk dance number you like send it to ‘em.  They might just give it a whirl. Check ‘em out at www.balsamrange.com.  Visit WNCW 88.7 too at www.wncw.org. Dennis Jones has one of the best Saturday bluegrass and Sunday morning gospel shows in the world. You can pick ‘em up on Internet steam if you visit their site. One of these fine days good old Tommy Bibey might come across the air and play you a tune.

        I don’t think I’ll twist too may knobs on that board, though.  It is pretty electrified for bluegrass, and I don’t want to get shocked. 

Dr. B


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