The Great Northeast Part One

        I know you must scratch your head and wonder how a country boy who seldom strays from Harvey County could dream up a Northeast tour.  I was up that way was for the ’64 World’s Fair.  That was when I fell in love the Mustang car.  The GE exhibit was excellent too.  Marfar and I went back that way years ago on on a trip to Maine, and we are overdue for a return visit.

         How any of this dream tour came about is a bit of a miracle.  I guess all I can say is it is the bluegrass way.  Because of the magic of the Internet, I now have a lot of new friends in that neck of the woods.  Today I’m gonna start to tell you about some of them, and also of my plans to visit the area.  

        About a month after I started my blog, a fellow named Ted Lehmann logged on and left some comments.  I had no way to know at the time what a fortuitous circumstance that would be.  Ted is the premier bluegrass photojournalist in the North East.  His blog is:  Ted, or the English Professor as I dubbed him, goes to a lot of festivals and looked all over for me.  He took a lot of pictures and would caption them with the question ‘is this Tommy Bibey?’ 

        We met at MerleFest, and he and his wife Irene have become fast friends.  Ted is true bluegrass, and is one of the folks we have to see on the Northeast tour.  He recommended a place called ‘The Toadstool Bookshop’ in Keene, New Hampshire.  Ted also suggested ‘Northshire Bookstore’ in Manchester NH:  In addition, he said there were a number of independents in Massachusetts he could recommend when the time gets closer.  The BreadLoaf English program started somewhere up there, and I hope Ted can direct me to it.  I got to know BreadLoaf through an English teacher in Mississippi who got me started as a pen-pal with some high school kids there.  After meeting that teacher and those kids, I believe in what the BreadLoaf program does.

        Ted knows most everyone in bluegrass, but stays in touch with groups up North such as the Gibson Brothers on a regular basis.  I was familiar with their work before Ted, but he brought a heightened awareness of this group to many of us in the South.  They have the “it” factor with some of the finest brother duets around, and a live show that captivates.  Their web site is:   I hope to jam with them while I am up there. 

          I can’t talk about the Northeast without telling you about chili.  I got interested in her blog ’cause she posts a regular grammar lesson, and I was in acute need of that.  She is not only a teacher but also a devoted wife and mother to a whole household of little chilis.  When I first found my agent I told chili, “I guess he sees a little something in me.” 

        Chili said, “you can bet he does or he wouldn’t waste his time with you, Doc.”  It was early in my writer journey and I never forgot her kindness.  Chili always encouraged me to press on.  I figured she was an English teacher and she knew, so I did.  She recommended ‘Water Street Bookstore’ and also ‘The Toadstool’ as  did Ted.

        I contacted both stores.  They said they’d love to have me bring my mandolin and do a book store signing when I come through the NorthEast.  Talk about Northern Hospitality!  I’ve never met the folks at these stores, but they were happy to hear from me based on the recommendations of their customers.  Chili, when we get there me and Ms. Marfar owe you one.  We need to take you, mrchili and all the little chilis out to dinner one night.

        chili is on my blog roll:  If you are like me and could stand some on-line remedial English instruction, I recommend her highly. 

        The book store links are as follows.  For ‘Water Street’ click   You can reach Toadstool at  Touch base with them if you live up there and tell ’em the Tommy Bibey tour will be a curiosity if nothing else.

        I’ll be back with more on the Northeast soon.  We are coming up on the 4th, so I be a bit sluggish in my output for a week, but I’ll get to it.  I love the 4th.  I know our country isn’t perfect, but I figure a blog like mine would be banned by some governments, and I am thankful for my freedom to write and say what I think.

        Y’all have a fine holiday.

Dr. B

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10 Comments on “The Great Northeast Part One”

  1. Ted Lehmann Says:

    Thanks for the great plug. New England provides plenty of fodder for you, but New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania are equally rich. Remember, Del McCoury grew up in York, PA and Danny Paisley is from the southeastern part of the state, where the Mason Dixon line is pretty blurred. Despite some arguing that bluegrass can only be sung and picked by those tied to the mountains running through Appalachia, the same themes are found world-wide and you have a lot of travelin’ ahead of you. – Ted

    • drtombibey Says:


      I look forward to the journey. I don’t know what lies ahead with my book, but I do know the best thing about the project is all the new friends it has made for me.

      You and Irene were my first blog pals. Like with your first patients in the Doc gig, the folks you’ve known the longest are always the most special.

      Dr. B

  2. Mrs. Chili Says:

    I very much look forward to finally seeing your face, Doc; we’ve been friends for so long that it’ll be intensely satisfying to be in your presence.

    Please note that I’ve taken a “leave of absence” from my teacher blog while I help my mother die. I’ll be back, certainly, but I can’t say when. Until then, I’m documenting my journey at The Blue Door.

    • drtombibey Says:


      I say a prayer every week or so for no pain and suffering for you and your mom. I have been at the Doc gig a long time, and death is a tough process every time.

      I also look forward to our families getting to meet in person. My mom is an English teacher, as was my mother-in-law. You will always be my number one on-line English teacher pal, even if you retire from the teaching business.

      Dr. B

  3. Sounds like the greatest tour ever – you get to meet old friends and new ones, play in bookstores and get your book some publicity all at the same time! Sounds exciting :).

    • drtombibey Says:


      The Windy City is on my list and not but a post or two away. I have new friends up there my wife and I have promised to take out to eat. It will be funded by ‘The Starving Medical Student Foundation.’ (Other students can partake also.)

      Dr. B

      • Will you be coming by the Big Apple as well? Sarah Lawrence is right near New York, and that’s where I’m going to be come August! Then I’ll be able to come hear you pick :).
        If not, though, maybe I’ll be able to find you somewhere along your tour anyway ^_^.

  4. Smitty Pres. of Neuse River Fan Club Mississippi Says:

    Doc,great to have friends like Ted and Mrs. Chili, they have been very loyal to the blog since day one.

    I would visit the northeast in the summer, too hot for anywhere else.

    Doc, we hit big time last Sunday, we got to play in the Mall. The sound was tough where the stage was. The area was set up to sell food(imagine a food court in a mall) not pick but we sure had a good time. A man is doing a benefit for the troops and we got a chance to play. Missed you on that double stop universal lick but I know you will be back.

    • drtombibey Says:


      I believe in holding on to good friends. Like Sam Snead said, “dance with who brung ya,” except me and you will play golf rather than dance brother!

      The mall and Walmart are as big as it gets around here. One time I was on the marquee at Walmart and I was world famous in Harvey County for a week.

      Dr. B

  5. drtombibey Says:


    The Big Apple is on the list. I have a secret weapon in N.Y. in that I know some real insiders in bluegrass there. They are young too, about my daughter’s age, but I played in a band with their Dad many years ago.

    We will will make a point not to miss you when we get out there.

    Dr. B

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