Around here music is more than a meal; it’s a family tradition. We get invited to McMurry Family Farms music session a couple times a year. They range from pig pickin’s to macaroni and cheese fest, and they are always excellent. Steve is always willing to help our family, but reciporaction means a lot too. Steve is multitalented. He plays mandolin, guitar and banjo, and has insider knowledge on how to tie everything from a wild hog to wild boys. I remember one time I had to call him for advice, and he said he had boys under contract to transport as far as Chattanooga, and he would recommend meeting me there. Given he had deep adventure experience, and I had virtually none, I followed his advice and everything worked out. I do have significant trust of Steve and his associates. If I had needed to get my wife and daughter to Chattanooga, I would have followed him there. By the same token, I had interest and in depth knowledge of aortic stenosis, and that was beneficial to their family too. Although we grew up in two different worlds, we shared one music that was so deep that we were brothers and grew a mutually beneficial friendship out of the relationship.
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I spoke to my agent yesterday. The feedback from test readers is excellent and the publisher is satisfied to go press very soon. I hope to find as many new friends as I did with “The Mandolin Case. I hope to post many more specifics, dates, links, etc very soon so stay tuned.”Dr. B
A recent FB”Song of the Day” for me was “All of Me” as rendered by Don Stiernberg. From his ‘Swing 220’ CD. If you like jazz, swing, big band era, or just all around fine mandolin playing, you’ll like this recording. Jethro would be proud. Cuts also include ‘Caravan, ‘Limehouse Blues,’ ‘Pennies From Heaven,” “Honeysuckle Rose,” “After you’re Gone,” “Lady Be Good’ and more. Excellent work!
Here’s his website: WWW.DONSTIERNBERG.COM
“ivealways heard when New Grass toutred through the Chicago area, the band always allowed some extra time in the schedule so Sam Bush could take in q lesson with Jethro Burns and Don Stirenburg. I figure if the material is worthy of Sam’s 1me…
It was a sad weekend in that it marked the passing of my med school friend, professor, and mentor, Dr. Peter Temple. Still, there was hope. His receiving of friends, as one might expect, was a big party that showed how many people he influenced. Not only does he leave behind a wonderful nuclear family, but many folks like me whose lives were enriched by him. Dr. Temple showed me how to be a doc but still enjoy life; he perfected the art.
The celebration of his life was friends and food and drink and music. Kids ran through the yard, splashed in a puddle, played with some new puppies, and climbed the cedar trees around the house. In addition to ham sandwiches and fruit and cheese there was sushi and edamame and chocolate cake and of course bluegrass on the front porch. Folks there included guys like George on the banjo, who played with Peter and Junior and Greek in the Tar River Boys back when I was in med school. We played standards out of Temple’s set list; numbers like “I Wonder How the old Folks are at Home, and “I’m Using my Bible For a Road Map.” My daughter had to pull up the lyrics for it on her cell phone, but we honored his request that we do “You Go To Your Church and I’ll Go To Mine,” one that I had promised him years ago I would play for him whenever the time came.
I was sad to see him pass, but glad he has no more suffering. One thing is certain; there will never be another one like him.
My old pal Darin Aldridge and his wife Brooke are nominated for IBMA Emerging Artist of the Year 2011. Not long ago I had the good fortune to talk to a well-known talent man in Nashville about them and some of my other favorite artists. I asked what he thought. “Young attractive couple, very talented, not afraid to work hard.”
I figured this guy didn’t get where he got by bad judgment. I agree. ”I think they’ll make it.”
“I think so too,” he said.
Look for them at a venue near you. Tell ‘em Dr. B said if you are of means to buy at least two CDs. And make sure to get them signed,
I recall a time when some people (not many) thought to have a thriving local or regional music venue there was no need to court local musicians. I understand some of that thought process. I wouldn’t drive five hundred miles to hear a guy like me play either but Marty Stuart or Alison Brown, now that’s different.
BUT the amateurs do have a role. Due to a long string of charity events. teaching school kids about bluegrass, (Darin always helped me with those gigs ) and also from sitting in with the pros when they toured through, good old Doc still the #1 played artist on the Don Gibson stage. Talk about bluegrass trivia!
It’s like golf. The serious amatuers drive the pro game (they buy the clubs, balls, shirts, etc.). I once played a charity event with Bob Charles, the 1963 British Open champion. He was 62 at the time; I was in my fourties. I couldn’t play like him but I at least had some idea what he was doing and how hard he must have worked at the game to get that good. I asked him ,”Mr. Charles, other than eight million practice balls and thirty years of touring the world playing golf, what’s the difference in our golf games?” He just smiled.
It’s much the same in music. The great ones didn’t get there by accident.
So, if you love the music, figure out a way to pitch in even if you don’t play like a pro. We need us all to make it work.
Darin and Brooke Aldridge have a CD release party Saturday July 30th 8:00at 8:00 at the Cleveland County Fairgrounds. love this record. So does Tom T. Hall. He wrote two songs for it and also sang on one cut.
I hope y’ll will come out and hear these kids. If you long for country music with message, melody, and true family values they are what you are looking for. www.darinandbrookealdridge.com
I am very proud to now be sponsored by Lakota Leathers fine music instrument straps. My relationship with them is in the category of small dealer/artist relations. I will explain what that means but first I thought I’d tell you how it happened.
Last year I had an official vendor booth at the IBMA World Bluegrass convention to introduce my first novel, “The Mandolin Case.” Many of the best products in the industry are represented there that week. This is where I met the fine folks at TKL Cedar Creek Custom Case Division. They became my first sponsor.
Lakota had a booth near mine and I stopped in to check out their mandolin straps. It was love at first sight. It was the softest most comfortable one I’d ever touched, I bought one for my ’97 Bruce Weber signed F5 and it has been on there ever since.
There was more to it than that though. I realized these were the same Lakota Indians who are so well-known by Marty Stuart. (listen to his Badlands CD) I am sad to report the Lakotas are the poorest community in the nation. I figured if craftmanship of this quality was from them and it was part of their livelihood I wanted to help preserve some ancient Native Americans ways that do not need to be lost.
So after Cedar Creek became an official sponsor of the Tommy Bibey tour I approached Lakota. I told them my philosophy on sponsors. “Look, I’m no big thing and my gig ain’t like NASCAR, but I do like to associate my name with products I have all faith in and actually use. I’d like to work out some tour relationship with you guys, I do have a brain cancer right now, and will be in intensive treatment until August 1, but plan to be back on the road once a once a month basis after that, with some limited outings (1 hour at a stretch) while in treatment. Also I plan a limited part-time doctor comeback in late summer and I will need to devote most of my energy to that. The exact doctor format will be announced around Aug 1 by my company; my doctors will not allow me to return to my old full tilt status ’doctor of record’ status at this time; my vision and balance have to improve before that could occur)
So, after some discussion, here is my relationship with them. It falls under small dealer/artist relations. It means as a dealer I’ll have a small sampling of their straps in mandolin, guitar and banjo. And of course I am happy to sell these although the original one I bought will never be for sale; I am emotionally attached to it. By my choice I will not sell these at a discount for deveral reasons. My reason for no discounts is first of all, this project is part of the livelihood of the Lakota Indians. Their plight is well documented by Marty Stuart and on the Lakota website. Second, Lakota as a small business, and like all small biz, they struggle to stay afloat. I know how it is. There was many years I wondered if I could hold my old Mom and Pop biz in the road. I was a good doc but no one could accuse me of being a businessman although things worked out in the end. So with those thoughts, the price I can offer is the same as the website, except I would be able to save you shipping as that has already been handled.
In artist relations though here is what I plan. If you are a touring bluegrass artist who does not have a strap deal at this time I would like for you to use one out of my stock for a month and try it out. All I ask in return in that you tell people about Lakota straps (let ‘em feel these things) and offer a breif statement at the end of the month as to how you liked it. And folks no fear if you buy a “used one” that was on tour for a month. These things are made from bufflo hide, a subject the Native Americans are long-term experts on.The straps feel like butter but wear like iron. They will be no worse for the wear and maybe we can get the artists to sign a little certificate of authenticity which would be a cool touch.
I’ll also list Lakota on my artist sponsor page. I am proud to be associated with them. Here’s their website: www.lakotaleathers.com
The first week of Rad Onc Rx was great. They treated me better than a long-lost brother and the prodigal son; the care far exceeded excellent.
I must give you some back story to prepare you for today’s post. And one more thing. This piece is classic physician bluegrass fiction. It shows the truth but tells no facts in order to protect privacy.
First off, let me tell you I was never a tough guy. I was OK in basketball and baseball, and had a little touch for golf, but wasn’t much at football. One time I broke a boy’s arm and I wanted to set it. The Coach was not impressed. I just had zero killer instinct and when they tried to beat it into me I’d just laugh, and they finally gave up. (it mad some of ‘em mad they couldn’t break me) But, But I was smart enough to compensate for my weaknesses and by instinct surrounded myself with tough guys. Barry Graylord was a farm raised West Virgina mountain boy. When he moved to Harvey County I became his first pal. We met shooting hoops on Chestnut Street. If he hadn’t broken his femur in his senior year of high school football, I think he’d have become a catcher for the Braves. They were scouting him, but the injury cost him about a half step on his first base jump.
When I set up medical shop one of my first patients was a bearded fifteen year old fast-picking banjo kid named Moose Dooley. He rode his bike to the office, announced he’d graduated from the Children’s Clinic, and wanted to be a patient at the new office as he now needed a Board Certified Family Doc for his Medical Home. Bright kid, huh? He was already on the rasslin’ team and a became a star Lineman for the Harvey High Mad Hornet State Champion football team. We became instant picking buddies and he and Graylord soon became my dynamic duo personal body guards. The only game I could handle them in (or at least could before this illness) was golf. They are tough to this day.
So, this story will not surprise you. On day two of treatment, two burly men showed up at Rad Oncology. “We are here to see Dr. B.”
“Excuse me sirs, do you have proper identification?”
“Tell him its the Masked Brothers. He’ll understand.” Moose then handed her a paper. “Here is our signed HIPAA form if you gotta be formal about it. He won’t sweat the formalities.”
”So we’ve learned.”
SHe looked it over. “OK. Your role?”
“Personal bodyguards. You can send Security to Hardees. Here are the rules in Harvey County. They hold just as true here in the home of Earl Scruggs. “You don’t tug on Superman cape; you don’t spit in the wind, you on’t pull the mask off the old Lone Ranger and you don’t mess around with Jim. But above all, no one, and I mean no one, messes with Dr. B, and sure as hell ain’t no one gonna take that Bolo mask off him. Anyone tries to touch him, we take over. He never had enough meanness in him; that’s our job. And now he is weakened state. We will protect him at all costs.”
“Can you handle it?”
“Ma’am, we whupped Haystack Calhoun and The Kentuckians. We even kicked good guy Johnny Weaver’s a^^ one time when it was indicated. We were undefeated. No one took the mask off us. See that little man in the cage with the cane and the chair? Name’s Governor Homer O’Dell. He started with us as a Colonel and moved up the ranks.”
One nurse appeared she perhaps might be older than 37. She moved over to take a look. “Hey, I used to watch World Wide Wrestling reruns after the Fred Kirby Little Rascals show. You guys are a but more pudgy than what I recall, but by chance are you the Bolo Brothers?”
“Ma’am, if anyone demands an answer to that question, we are not allowed to answer but are honor bound to put the Eagle Claw hold on that individual.”
“Would it kill me?”
“We’d stop short of that but it’d make you wish you were dead. We seek no trouble though. Follow our rules and there will be no violence. The mask never came off us and no one shall remove the mask off Dr. B until approved by Dr. Angel H. Maddux.”
” Yes sirs, I appreciate your assistance. You are welcome in our institution any time.”
The masked men handed her a card. “We are at your beck and call.”
Moose turned to Graylord. Hey pal, better let Homer out of his cage. The way he’s flailing away with that cane he looks like an octopus trying to break his way out of a phone booth.”
“Dr. B, you ok?”
(From behind the mask) “All cool guys, and feel even better with you on my team. I never was a tough guy.”
Yeah you were Doc. You’ve got a tough brain and the good sense to surround yourself with all the right people at every turn. You were always there for us and we’re with ya all the way.”
I have the best family and friends in the history of the world, and they are a major part of my hope for a cure.
One week into intensive treatment my doctors are able to document subtle but objective evidence that old “Long Gone” has been nudged in the right direction. I might not come out exactly the same, but I am convinced I’m gonna live, and I know it ain’t gonna touch my soul, my heart, or my music.
My boy is in a survival gig right now too, (classified) except his is much harder than mine. I have a pretty girl (my wife) who brings me food and supplies on a moment’s notice, he’s out in the wild and gotta go forage for it all alone.I don’t even know where he is. Pray for him. He does it because as he says. “Dad you’ve always taken care of me. Now you can’t defend yourself, and I’m gonna do it for you.”
Pray too for the homeless and beaten and unloved and the defenseless. Pray for those little MACC kids. Send them some money if you have few extra bucks.
Hug your people close and tell ‘em you love ‘em.
My bluegrass people sustain me. They often call and ask what they can do. My answer is always the same. Send a few prayers, keep the Faith and keep the true music alive. You’re a big part of healing an old Doc, and no telling how many others in the crowd. You make my day better every day you pick a note.
If you are new to the bluegrass family, go up the festival record table and buy a CD directly from the artist. Take ‘em home with you and put the music in your heart. Take it from old Doc.It’ll help heal ya.
God Bless you every one.