Supper Break/Easter Break

        Along the way, Neuse River has been a privately held entity, and we haven’t done any promotion or marketing.  Maybe that’s why we are one of the best bands you’ve never heard of, but we never did want to be anything but what we were. 

        It wasn’t that we didn’t have our opportunities.  Whenever the national groups are in the area, we are often the band of choice as the opening act, and we have met many of the name bands and know a number of promoters.  One year J.D Crowe’s flight was grounded by a snowstorm, and we were in the right place at the right time and got on the big stage.   I felt like George Plimpton pitching for the Tigers.  I’ve often thought we had all the fun without any of the pressure to make a living at it.

        About the time my kids finished college, we gave some serious thought to kicking it up a notch, and put the word out on the street that we might consider an agent and take it to a somewhat bigger audience.  This led to some serious discussions, but at the end of the day we all decided we had too many commitments at home to give the kind of effort an agent would require to market us.  As it is right now, if we don’t want to play over the Easter holiday, we don’t, and don’t have to let an agent down who is busting his tail to help us.

        While all that was going on, though, we did have one guy who pursued us mightily.  One night we had a gig at the Volunteer Fire Hall, and some fellow approached us after the first set.  He wore a long tailed top coat, had a big stove pipe hat and a beard, and called himself The Honest Abe Agency.  He’d heard we were in the market for an agent, and wanted the opportunity to be our man.

        I guess Abe was right down our alley, ’cause the folks he represented were a long string of the best bands we’d never heard of.  I figured at this stage of the game, we’d heard of most everyone who was someone, but we tried to be nice to the guy.

        Man, he followed us like a hungry stray dog you’d made the mistake of feeding.  We couldn’t get shed of him.  Our lead singer, The Warbler, is tall, and could see Abe coming- his stove pipe hat just bobbed along above the crowd.  He’d say, “here comes Prez,” and run in the other direction.  Warb said I shoulda been a diplomat, and he left me to handle it every time.

        The guy had a couple ideas that convinced us he meant well, but was not our man.  For one thing, he wanted to start any band name with “Dr. Tommy Bibey.”  I didn’t have to ask the boys.  I knew how they would view that, and I saw it the same way.  It has always been a democratic band, and besides, I didn’t like to play up the doc thing while on the music gig.  As a matter of fact, when you play music it is a bit hard to access the doctor part of your brain.    

        He had one wrinkle I found interesting though.  He had some scheme where he was going to call us “Dr. Tommy Bibey and Supper Break.” As all bluegrassers know, most bluegrass events print a time for the supper break on the band performance schedule.  He figured we’d be on the bill at every festival in the country simultaneously.

        I found it humorous, but saw two problems right off.  First of all, I figured no one would ever hear us play, cause they’d all be gone to eat.  More important, this might be a fiction forum, but even I could not think of how to place Tommy Bibey in multiple locations simultaneously.  After all, he ain’t some ubiquitous apparition, but only the country Doc next door who makes house calls, huh?

        Easter is coming up, so I’m gonna be off till Monday and post then.  Both young’uns are in, so I’m going take a little time off with the family.  Come first of the week I’ll say a few words about the holiday.  After that, I’ve got several CDs that have come across my desk, and I’ll review them before too long. 

        My readers have become an important part of my life, so I thank all of y’all and wish you a fine holiday.  By modern standards I guess one would say my blog ain’t much, ’cause it is free (and always will be) but it’s important to me ’cause of the friends I’ve made. I suppose I always was better at collecting friends than money, so for me it is a success, even if by worldly standards it is rather humble.  It’s all in your definition I reckon, but as for me I’m glad I ran into you guys.  If I ever get to where I’m a real writer, you deserve much of the credit.

        Have a restful Easter.  Talk to ya Monday. 

Dr. B

Explore posts in the same categories: bluegrass characters

8 Comments on “Supper Break/Easter Break”

  1. Ted Lehmann Says:

    You’re a real enough writer for me. If ol’ Abe ever puts your writing together with Neuse River, you’re a gonner. He’ll figger out the confluence between the tens of millions of readers available to you and the real world of big time bluegrass and you’ll be riding around in a big Prevost bus in no time. This little ol’ festival in south Georgia looks like folks will be here, but Easter is a pretty strong draw to keep them home. Have a peaceful weekend. – Ted

  2. drtombibey Says:


    Abe was a nice enough fellow, but just wasn’t our man. My current agent (writing not music) thinks I’ll make it, even though his royalties and my songwriter royalties are about the same. (not much)

    I like your thoughts. The idea that my writing and bluegrass music will eventually see a wider audience gets me through a few weeks, Sir.

    A peaceful Easter to Irene and the English Professor. Talk to ya soon.

    Dr. B

  3. Parson Bob Says:

    Somewhere along the line, Doc, we’ve all of us gotten the idea that “Bigger is Better”, and we’ve all also, somewhere along the line, had to deal with “Prez” who was going to show us how it would happen. Your account is a great reminder that what we have and who we are is just enough, thanks anyway. I guess it’s “The American Way”, or something, that urges us to get bigger/faster/stronger/whatever, and I know I’ve been bitten by that bug. Maybe when I finally write my story the title will be “More is Never Enough”! Happy Easter…

  4. mrschili Says:

    I’m better at collecting friends than money. I LIKE that sentiment. Really – what’s more important?

    I’m glad we collected each other.

    Have a wonderful weekend with your family, Doc. I’ll see ya on Monday.



  5. pandemonic Says:

    Happy Easter!

    You do know that any musician can make the big time, now that there are do-it-yourself CD programs. Just print a few off and sell them at the office. 🙂 It’s a great way to do some cross promotion. I’ve been trying to get the “professional” in my family to go that route, but he’s rather shy. Maybe next year when the college gravy train runs out, he’ll be more apt to my suggestions. You know, you can’t drag your piano to the subway station and play for hand outs…

  6. drtombibey Says:

    Parson Bob,

    I hadn’t thought about it, but being satisfied with what you are in dang near un-American, huh?
    Dr. B

  7. drtombibey Says:


    Same here. You can never have too many friends in this old world! Having a few as English teachers is extra good.

    Dr. B

  8. drtombibey Says:

    Ms. Pande,

    We did two- one was back in the cassette days, and then we did one just as a CD. One old fellow had our cassette, and was very disapointed to find out we only had CDs for the second one. (He did not own a CD player.)

    I was going to copy him one, but his family beat me to it and bought him a player. For a long time ours was the only disc in his collection!

    Our lead singer is in school right now, but we have talked of another record. If I ever finish my book (still a couple years off) we might dovetail it with a sampler CD of some kind.

    Dr. B

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