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. B

Explore posts in the same categories: bluegrass characters, bluegrass related blogs, favorite known bands, Writing


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10 Comments on “Lonely Ain’t Allowed- the Bluegrass Way”

  1. […] More For Less put an intriguing blog post on Lonely Ainâ […]

  2. Ted Lehmann Says:

    Well, I gotta tell you I’m happy to find you on FB, even if I can’t manage to meet you anywhere else, yet. You’d think as small a venue at the Ramada Inn in Burlington would force us to get together during the time, but you must have been pickin’ while I was watching music and taking pictures. After all, I have a responsibility to my legions of readers around the world to cover the festival. I sure did meet a bunch of nice folks, though. – Ted

  3. drtombibey Says:


    Carolina Road was pretty crowded. I am going to try to find you at Merle Fest.

    I was in the crowd and a few jam sessions. It was all good.

    You are a true bluegrasser. We will meet soon.

    Dr. B

  4. drtombibey Says:

    This came in off FaceBook.

    Dr. B

  5. Dr. B, you ain’t old OR stuffy OR insane. You’re a good soul, it’s as plain as day, and I won’t let you berate yourself!
    Music is an incredible thing, I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it. I know for my own self that music has gotten me through the toughest parts of my life and it keeps on and will forever keep on being a source of solace and feeling for me.
    Your position is extremely unique though – and by that I mean all of your friends and family of the bluegrass world. Your music brings you together more than any other I’ve heard of – everyone’s included, there isn’t a sense of hierarchy or a bit of snob in any of you it seems. Rock on.

  6. drtombibey Says:

    Ms slightly,

    You are such a fine young’un. I like to poke a little fun at myself every so often. In spite of my imperfections, and they are many, I guess am comfortable in my own skin. (One of the benefits of getting older)

    As far as I am concerned you are a true bluegrass spirit whether you ever play a note of it or not.

    Will keep on rocking on sure enough. One day I’m gonna get my book out. When I do I’ll play my mandolin at a music store near you and invite you to sing one with me.

    Dr. B

  7. Darin A Says:

    Sounds like you had a good road trip Dr.Bibey.I just wanted to say thanks for all the great reviews you have given my wife and I on our ministry and our CD.You will have to come sit in with the band again soon.Keep up the great stories and wonderful music that you share with all of us.
    Darin Aldridge

  8. drtombibey Says:


    Young man you pull as fine a tone out of the mandolin as I have ever heard.

    Folks, if you want a great example of modern bluegrass, take a listen to Darin Aldridge and his wife Brooke. Their CD, ‘I’ll go With You’ is one of my all time favorites.

    Dr. B

  9. newt221 Says:

    All you have to do is read your blog to know that God is in your life. He has blessed me over and over again too. That is how I had the courage to make the step that I did.

    If I could play a note on an instrument other than a piano, I would certainly join in with the Blue Grass. However, I can carry a tune and love to sing and would love to be a backup…. LOL

  10. drtombibey Says:

    ms newt,

    Well when I come to a book store near you, I am going to get you to sing one with us, ’cause you are true bluegrass.

    Even if you were off key a little bit it wouldn’t matter. Heck, I’ve sung that way for years. Talk about a joyful noise!

    Dr. B

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