Don’t Worry Till Dr. B Says Worry
Today’s post is dedicated to my blog pal Ms. Karen in Australia. Her son Possum is scheduled for open heart surgery. My post is all but unrelated that serious event, but I thought she might enjoy the levity for a moment.
“On the Road With Guitared and Feathered”
Well, they are ready. They have practiced their set for two months. I like to think I’ve helped. A couple years ago when the mandolin player in my wife’s band got married and moved away, my wife asked if I would fill in. I guess it is like when I married my wife. Once I’m committed I never leave, and I’m still with her band too.
“Sure, I’ll help out.” How could I say no to someone that cute? They were early in their music journey, but they were having fun, and besides they always had the best snacks. Teach bluegrass music to a bunch of beautiful women? Hm. It’s tough job, but someone’s gotta do it.
They are all set to open a show for David Holt. They are so scared it’s cute. I gave ’em a pep talk. “Look guys, it’s only music. If we miss a note no one dies. Think of it like neurosurgery. If you mess up just don’t say oops.” There was an uneasy collective laugh. “Besides, y’all are so good looking, they’re gonna overlook it if you hit a bad note or two.” They all smiled. They really are that good looking, especially the bass player, but a bit of honest flattery never hurt me in marriage and I figured it wouldn’t with the band either.
I’ve taught ’em all about set arrangements and ear monitors. We have all the breaks co-ordinated. The Banjo Diva is our emcee and I am her straight man. If they get nervous and can’t think up something to say I have long since memorized the “The Bluegrass Book of 1001 Tall Tales” after years on stage. The harmonies are tight and they work that two mic set-up I got them started on with a choreography the Ziegfield Follies Dancers would be proud of.
There was one thing I couldn’t coach ’em on though. No one is gonna accuse me of being a good lead singer. But they followed my advice even on that subject. They went down to the church house, listened to all of them, and recruited the best one in the choir. “Almost all good bluegrass singers came up singing in church,” I told ’em. “Get that one if you can. As far as lead singing, that’s the only way I can help you.” (Over time Ms. Emma helped me some on that. Now I can get by on a couple numbers, but I don’t need to give up my day job.)
All their gear is packed up and ready to go. They all have extra strings and each one carries a spare nine volt battery for the in-ear monitors. We’re gonna use the same stage set up they are accustomed to, but they will have a pro sound man. In the ear it’ll sound just like the living room. I figured that would relax them.
At the last practice before the gig they presented me with a fuchsia shirt and a hair clippy to use with my ear monitor. They said for a guy I was just one of the girls. I took it as a compliment.
They might be early on in their music journey, but I am no pro either, and it is all fun. Besides it has it’s benefits. The last time we played the Nursing Home one elderly lady recognized me from T.V. and asked much I got paid for playing with them.
I borrowed a line from Lee Trevino. “Well ma’am, the money ain’t that great, but the bass player lets me sleep with her.” Marfar turned red and I thought she was gonna kill me, but by the time I loaded up all the sound equipment by myself, she’d gotten over it.
Well so much for foolishness. We have a saying at the office: “Don’t worry till Dr B. says worry.” And the truth is I worry a lot but prepare more. One you’ve done all you can that is all you can do. And in the case of little Possum’s open heart surgery, that is why it, like the show with David Holt, will come off without a hitch.
I will let y’all know how the gig goes, but far more important y’all say a few prayers for Ms. Karen’s young’un. If everyone prays hard his odds are so much better. I am a man of science (and art) and there are good studies that demonstrate improved medical outcomes from spirituality. Ms. Karen, don’t worry till Dr. B says worry, but at the same time be prepared. I know you will be.